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Irony & Humor Behind, "a Modest Proposal" and "behind the Formaldehyde Curtain"

Essay by   •  August 10, 2012  •  Essay  •  687 Words (3 Pages)  •  3,936 Views

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Often, people tend to use smart remarks to make a point. Many times these unusual ways to direct a topic is used to prove a point in an impacting way that is sure to capture the audience's attention. The authors, Jessica Mitford of the piece, "Behind the Formaldehyde Curtain" and Jonathan Swift author of, "A Modest Proposal" both rely on out of the box arguments to expose realities. The use of irony and humor are to be thanked in each of the pieces. The burden to make a cliché or unknown reality an impact rather than words to be ignored is placed upon these two literary devices.

Going in depth to the outcomes of irony and humor in both pieces, it is evident that the argument the authors intent to disclose are being contorted with what they aim to criticize. In "A Modest Proposal," Swift attacks the issue of poverty faced with a cynical tone. Swift responds to the matter in a nonmonotonous way in order to strike the audience with and unexpected twist. The introduction of the piece has much to do with the irony in his writing, -he opens the topic with in a disappointed yet hopeful matter, perhaps with a true solution in mind. Speaking with little remorse later on tells the reader that seeing how these people live in the present, his extreme proposal would be nothing more than a simple solution. He later humorizes his writing when speaking of canibalism as the proper solution to the life the people face with a care free matter. The humor he projects with the continuous paradox used served to reach the audience who ignore the extremities people undergo.

Mitford as well resorts to irony and humor to attack her argument. Mitford used a witty tone to ridicule the process of embalming and restoration. She criticizes the absurdity as well as the unnessesary process the dead undergo to be more presentable to those who will for a couple of hours be with the body. The blunt reality is exposed through the irony of making a corpse presentable when the dead being will no longer have the need to be presentable to anybody. It more deeply it provides the audience with a revelation of the vanity and egotistic American way which in order to be comfortable around death have to smear it with perfumes and restore it to please their sight. Mitford's introduction with an allusion to Shakespear's, Hamlet introduces the entire process of embalming and restoration as a drama, performed for those spectators provides humor to the the grotesque process which is to be unvieled. Evidently, both authors depend heavily on irony and humor to make their words make an effect on the reader, they are what strengthen the pieces .

Behind the strategical literary devices each of the authors hold a base which, if revealed in a straight forward argument would be equally successful. Swift's facts concerning the poverty and selfishness which impedes people to help others would equally strike pathos appeal. Mitford's

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