Thursday, August 23, 2012

Satire blog pt II

The Onion is a website (so it's italicized!) dedicated to writing satirical news articles (whose titles are in quotation marks!). Satire, irony, sarcasm... it's relevant in our culture. It appeals to our humors. Read this article that I think you will find is quite relevant to you. Analyze its satirical elements as you read it.

Then I want you to accomplish the following:

II. Write a 2-3 sentence introduction.
III. Identify the elements of satire within the article (irony, sarcasm, paradox, etc.). Then choose one of these elements to focus on. Hone in on 2-3 pieces of evidence (words, phrases or sentences) within the text that utilizes your chosen element. Quote the evidence and explain how the author uses satire to make her point. This will be one paragraph.
IV. Write a 1-2 sentence conclusion that does not merely repeat your introduction. 

This, in effect, should be a miniature timed writing/analytic essay. It will have a brief introduction with a thesis, one analytic body paragraph, and a brief conclusion (there is no minimum word count...focus on your content here). Easy peesy!



  1. An analysis of the article, "Girl Moved to Tears By 'Of Mice and Men'Cliff Notes" uses a satirical outlook on assigned school reading. Through this article, the face value appears to be stating how "deep" Cliff Notes can be, but it is in fact, through blatant satirical statements and irony, is stating how shallow the reading material from Cliff Notes truly is. The use of irony and paradox in this article evokes a shock-value from the audience in order to convict students to avoid the use of cheat sheets such as Cliff Notes.

    One of the first and most blatant uses of irony in this particular article is when the author stated, "The humanity displayed in the Character Flowchart really stirred something in me. And Lennie's childlike innocence was beautifully captured through the simple, ranch-hand slang words like 'mentally handicapped' and 'retarded.'" The irony is thrown into the reader's face when he stated how socially unacceptable words such as "mentally handicapped" and "retarded" are "beautiful" to Grace Weaver. Never would one combine these phrases together and describe them as beautiful, but this ironic statement and paradox is included to strengthen the article's purpose: to show the foolishness of those who use Cliff Notes solely as literary sources. Anyone who has read "Of Mice and Men" would NOT have stated that these words evoke beauty in any sense, but such is the case of one who has only read an outline of a large novel. This statement strengthens the author's point that in order to understand the full picture and details of a classic novel, one must read it, or else they will get skewed ideas such as the previously stated one. Irony is furthered used to create a satirical tone in the article, which can be seen when the author states, "'There's something to be said for putting in that extra time with a good story,' Weaver said. 'You just get more out of it...'" This statement is laughable, due to the fact that the reader is aware that Weaver has only read a Cliff Notes summary of this classic novel, and has contradicted herself by implying that by reading Cliff Notes, she had been "putting in that extra time with a good story." This statement, while it does invoke laughter at Weaver's foolishness, is also used to further the author's point: The only way to truly enjoy a classic novel is to delve in and read the novel.

    The author of this article understands one of the most important literary truths: One can only understand a book on a deep level when one truly reads and analyzes it in its entirity. While this truth has been quickly trampled over and forgotten by the current generation, through their use of cheats and Cliff Notes, this satirical article strikes a chord with the readers of this generation. The blatant irony and satire throws the truth of understanding classic novels into the face of this generation, in hopes of inspiring change in the way people analyze classic novels.

  2. "Girl Moved to Tears By 'Of Mice and Men' Cliff Notes", is a very amusing article with a bunch of different types of humor. With a mix of deflating humor, inflation, and a hint of the mildly burlesque, The Onion fulfills their job with bringing another witty article to the table. With so many satirical elements, and with only one allowed to be analyzed, [Thanks. (Sarcasm)] I decided to choose the one element of humor that best showcases what The Onion as well as Grace Weaver is portraying to the reader, irony.

    What this article depicts best is the element of dramatic irony. It’s not just irony. The Onion is displaying dramatic irony throughout this whole article. Dramatic irony was probably the intended purpose from the beginning of the writer’s writing process. Analyzing this article as dramatic irony is taking a step further away from just the plain Jane irony analysis. Sure irony means, “The opposite of what is expected”. However, that is a very broad spectrum. Dramatic irony narrows down the style as well as secures the overall significance trying to be conveyed. Dramatic irony shows off the obvious multi-intentional purpose to this story. The beautiful cornerstone that this article rests on is the fact that Grace Weaver is conveying a meaning unperceived by her but understood by everyone else. Weaver explains, "’the humanity displayed in the Character Flowchart really stirred something in me. And Lennie's childlike innocence was beautifully captured through the simple, ranch-hand slang words like 'mentally handicapped' and 'retarded.' Added Weaver: ‘I never wanted the synopsis to end.’... ’I was amazed at how attached to him I had become just from the critical commentary,’" said Weaver, still clutching the yellow-and-black-striped study guide. ’When I got to the last sentence—'George shoots Lennie in the head,'—it seemed so abrupt. But I found out later that the 'ephemeral nature of life' is a major theme of the novel.’" Weaver is talking about a book she never actually read. Instead she read the Cliff Notes (summarized version) of Of Mice and Men. Weaver is totally being serious about how the Cliff Notes summary of the book has moved her. She doesn’t see how ridiculous she sounds to everyone else – hence dramatic irony. At the end of the article Weaver says, "I loved this book so much, I'm going to read all of Steinbeck's Cliffs Notes," said Weaver. The ending quote Weaver seals the deal, "’But first I'm going to go to the library to check out the original version Of Mice And Men starring John Malkovich and Gary Sinise.’"

    American writer Jessamyn West says it best, “A taste for irony has kept more hearts from breaking than a sense of humor, for it takes irony to appreciate the joke which is on oneself.” There is such a big contrast between the meaning intended by the speaker and the meaning shown through the article’s author (name not given). It is because of this crazy contrast that properly marries humor and the readers together in perfect harmony.

  3. The Onion's article "Girl Moved to Tears By 'Of Mice and Men' Cliffs Notes" is a comical, yet dramatic, outlook on the Cliffs Notes series. Irony, sarcasm and some wit are used in this article to further illustrate the humor in it, however the most pronounced of these three would have to be irony.

    One of the very first examples of irony is seen in the second paragraph of the article. The writer stated,"The humanity displayed in the Character Flowchart really stirred something in me." The humorous part of this is that because she is reading a summary, she could not have created a deep enough connection to any of the characters by just looking at a flowchart. This article by The Onion uses this quote by Weaver to make fun of not only The Cliff Notes series, but also the readers of the Cliff Notes. Another example of irony is found in the quote "And Lennie's childlike innocence was beautifully captured through the simple, ranch-hand slang words like 'mentally handicapped' and 'retarded.'". This is so politically incorrect which is what makes it ironic. As you are reading along the passage, you instantaneously come across the words "mentally handicapped" and "retarded". Many would not consider these words to be words that would capture the "childlike innocence" of any young kid. Towards the end of the article, Weaver makes the statement,"There's something to be said for putting in that extra time with a good story". This is a blatant reference to the irony of using Cliffs Notes. Used more as a quick, last minute study guide for an assignment, Cliffs Notes are not meant to be used to "put extra time into a good story."

    By using such an exaggerated tone, the author of this satirical article makes us laugh at something that we find very common in our high schools and colleges. In a very open and plain way, we can see the humor of the author and his purpose of writing this article.

  4. In the article, “Girl moved my ‘Of Mice and Men’ Cliff Notes”, there is a bit of a satirical tone. Through using satirical devices such as irony and sarcasm, the author gets the point across that cliff notes do not do justice to a classic literary novel. It is obvious that the paradox’ used are showing the reader the stupidity of such claims.

    One of the main elements used to make this article so satirical is irony. The whole thing is filled to the brim with ironic phrases and statements. For example, when Weaver states,“ I never wanted the synopsis to end.”. That is just dripping with irony. Even after this, she states,” There’s something to be said with putting in that extra time with a good story.”. When one actually wants to put the extra time in, reading the book would help. She was obviously too lazy to read the whole thing, just like most young people in our society today, so she just paid up and bought the cliff notes. Why read something that can stimulate the mind when one can just buy a way to cheat?

    The point is, the author was intending for the reader to laugh a bit at the hilarity of falling in love with a book based on the cliff notes and still not putting in the effort to read it. No one can truly grasp the tone and understand the details of a literary work without deeply exploring it. Just grazing over the surface through summaries does not cut it. The satirical points in the article stress this.

  5. This article from The Onion talks about Weaver, who is “moved to tears” just from reading a plot summary of Of Mice and Men. This article is made up of many comedic, dramatic and ironic statements. Although there are three main ingredients to this article, the one that stands out the most is the irony.
    The first place that this irony really makes itself known to the reader is in the second paragraph, where Weaver says, “The humanity displayed in the flow chart really stirred something in me.” Just let me ask you one question. How is it that one can be so emotional “stirred”, to the point to where they are in tears, just from reading a plot summary to one of Steinbeck’s novels? This is ironic because usually a reader only gets “stirred” from a story by reading the actual book. Another point where there is an ironic statement is when the author of the article writes, “Weaver, who formed an "instant connection" with Lennie's character-description paragraph…” Again, this girl has only read the plot summary from Cliff Notes. It is impossible to form such an emotional attachment to a character without reading the book itself. One of the last examples of irony can be found in the forth to last paragraph. The author states, “Within an hour of completing the cliffs notes, Weaver was already telling friends and classmates that Steinbeck was her favorite author.” Now let me ask you, how can she decide that Steinbeck is her favorite author when she read Cliff Notes, not Steinbeck?
    This article proves to be an example that in order to find an emotional connection to a story or character, one must carefully read the story. If a person just reads the summary of the plot, they will not be able to connect with the characters.

  6. A satire of today`s pathetic literary sensitivity in classrooms across the nation reveals to us why one could be so overcome with emotion over a lousy sparknote reference book. As I was relaxing by the window at starbuck`s with a friend who fasts from sugar yearly (<- ikr...), she handed me a frozen green tea something-or-other. "Youve got to try this." "It`s sooo sweet." As I tried it, being the chocohalic that I am, I made a grimicing face. "Thats not sweet at all!" my friend fasting from sugar was extra sensitive to the little sugar in that drink. In the same way, when someone who fasts from good literature takes in the smallest bit of classic, they are overcome with emotion.

    Too often, we hear things like, "this classic book has impacted me sooo deeply." In this article, the author uses a heavy dose of SARCASM. Obviously, "Great literature summaries" are not known to "Change" many people. The author shows us here that we are such a sparknote generation, they have become OUR classics. Also, one will not become "attached to him through a critical commentary." With this bit of sarcasm, the author is SCREAMING. Imagine how attached one would become in a REAL CLASSIC! Lastly, the author is most sarcastic when he says, "There`s something to be said for putting in that extra time with a good story. This is sarcastic, but at the same time ironic. Sparknotes is not putting in extra time with a good story. Real literature is.

    As a culture, we need to KNOW real literature so that great satirists like this don`t come along and destroy us.

  7. It is normal for someone to cry over a novel. But to cry over cliff-notes?... That is not as common. This article is very satirecal, and it proves its point in the way it writes about a woman's feelings over the cliff-notes of Mice and Men.

    The title of the article states how it is a satire article. A woman cried over cliff-notes is not normal. In fact, what makes it satire is how a woman cried over a summery of a book. A summery is the meat and potatoes of a book; it has no emotions hardly in it. What I mean by that is that the summery just tells about the story- it isn't the actuall story.

    The way someone can cry over cliff-notes and how this article is supposed to be serious is the evidence on how it is a satire.