Humor and Satire
Humor and satire are entirely different forms of expression as compared to normal format and although having different purpose, they are mostly mentioned together. Being unique in nature, they are taken as God gifted qualities. Both humor and satire contribute in some way to improve the quality of life. These qualities are human specific as so far there has not been much evidence to the contrary. Humor and satire have their own nature, purpose and importance. People possessing these qualities have always been few, but their reach and impact have been far reaching.
As can be seen humor encompasses a very broad and important area of human life, and it cannot be brushed aside as of little value or simply something being amusing or comic. When Mark Twain said; “Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritation and resentments slip away, and a sunny spirit takes their place,” and when Edward De Bono considers humor as “The most significant activity of human mind,” it shows the importance of humor and its impact on life. The latest research has proved the significant role of humor and laughter in improving health and healing.
Satire is defined as “A literary work in which human vice or folly is attacked through irony, derision, or wit. Irony, sarcasm, or caustic wit used to attack or expose folly, vice, or stupidity.”
As the definition specifies, satire basically comprises of irony, sarcasm and wit. However, the purpose and usage of all three are different.
In irony words are used to convey something completely opposite to the real meaning of the words. Its purpose is to create humor as well as depict discrepancy between what is said and what is actually done. It is humorous for all except the one for whom it is meant. For him it is a biting pinch. Mostly the purpose of irony is to rectify some deficiency observed in someone through a delicate humorous process.
Sarcasm consists of sharply ironical taunt or cutting remark in positive or patronizing words, not necessarily humorous. Its purpose is to put someone to discomfort or uneasiness to make him/her realize some deficiency in conduct or character. But, the discomfort must remain within certain limits and not amount to ridiculing in which case it will cease to be sarcasm. The person concerned may feel it lightly instead of being grievously hurt.
Use of wit shows the mental alertness, intelligence and common sense of the person making it and may create humor for some and may be a bit of unease for some other in the nature of banter. The purpose is neither derision nor rectification, but exhibition of a personal quality and making the environment lively and cheerful.
Comparison Of Humor And Satire
While the purpose of humor is to create moments of joy and happiness and relief from stress, tension and depression of any kind, satire is concerned with pointing out human deficiencies in a light hearted manner, but having a sting. The purpose is to rectify the deficiency being pointed out.
In humor the communication is totally humorous and not directed towards any specific person, while in satire communication may be a bit harsh in the garb of humor and its target is very much visible.
Humor may result in laughter, smile or smirk. Satire may result in uneasiness, discomfort and displeasure for someone who is the target while for others it may be equal to humor.
About The Author
A practicing lawyer for seven years followed by a career in Human resource Management spanning more than twenty seven years in multinational companies. The inherited love of writing led to writing poetry since last thirty five years, and prose last more than twenty six years. A certified Ezinearticles.com expert author. An Internationalist by attitude, a Peace Activist by aptitude, and a strong believer in a peaceful, prosperous and joyous world based on the principles of Equality, Equity and Empathy. Join Tasneem on Facebook and Twitter.
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