Lampoon Examples In Literature

Definition of Lampoon

Lampoon is a satirical writing form which aimed at mocking the ridiculing individuals, organizations and societal norms. It uses the literary techniques like humor, irony, exaggeration and ridicule to criticize its subject. In another words, the process which the writer or the artist takes in order to implement the similar effects by pretending something or someone in a funny manner is lampooning.

Common Examples of Lampoon

  1. Political Figures: The writers mock on the politicians to criticize their policies and actions.
  2. Celebrities: It satirizes the celebrities for their lifestyle as well as behavior.
  3. Literary Works: To make parody of the famous literary works in order to highlight the perceived flaws.
  4. Social Norms: Mocking at the societal norms that the writer finds outdated.
  5. Corporate Culture: Ridiculing the corporate world for practices like bureaucracy and greed.
  6. Government Policies: To deride government actions that are seen as ineffective and against the law.
  7. Historical Events: Lampoon provides humorous commentary on the historical events.
  8. Media: It criticizes the way media presents news and entertains the public.
  9. Fashion Trends: Making fun of the fashion trends that appear impractical.
  10. Education System: To Lampoon the education system for its failures due to the inefficiency.
  11. Technology Obsession: To make fun on the society obsession with technology and social media.
  12. Environmental Neglect: To lampoon the poor environmental policies and practices both by the public and departments.
  13. Cultural Practices: Making fun of the certain cultural practices to highlight their absurdity.
  14. Religious Practices: Sometimes, lampoons target religious practices seen as hypocritical and outdated.

Examples of Lampoon in Literature

Example#1

“Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift

“He said, ‘that about twelve months ago, there was a schism among the ministers, which was occasioned by a disagreement between the high treasurer and the secretary of state about the right of precedence. They disputed this matter some days, but as I was favored with the secretary’s patronage, I supported his pretensions and became his creature. He assured me that nothing was more easy than to find such officers in every troop, whether horse or foot, if they were allowed to propose the candidates: who would then make it their business to bring over the rest of the troop.”

Here, the author is employing the tempestuous political conflicts of Lilliput’s small politicians to satirize the follies of the political actresses in his own society. 

The question whether the precedence—who stands where during ceremonies with the emperor present—is a serious political or even personal state of mind is seen by these characters as a very important one. 

Swift brings this theme alive with ease using her skills as an author to depict some ado about petty matters, partly demonstrating the idiocy of similar debates in real life. However, in the text, this lampooning has entertained and also provided witty social commentary on the prevailing political topics.

See also: Logos in Literature

Example#2

“Animal Farm” by George Orwell

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Orwell makes fun of the head of political leaders, who manage their country in a corrupt manner, for their hypocrisy, with an example of the Soviet Union in the times of Stalin’s power dominating. 

In the story, this proclamation was made by the pigs that the farmers follow , with the evident ulterior motives of elevating themselves over the other animals in the farm. This shows how they have changed the original principles of equality that promoted that all animals are equal.

The phrase “all animals are more equal than one” parodies the hypothesis that many of those Self-styled egalitarian societies, have at least one type of their member who manipulates ideologies to gain a place above the rest, thus bringing back the new class hierarchies that had been initially overturned by those ideologies. 

This controversy implies that the animals remain prisoners themselves of a high prized idea of equality which is an absurdity. Moreover, it is a critique of totalitarian governments who supposedly work for equality, but in practice, they bring tyranny.

Example#3

“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain

“Well, everybody was in a state of mind now, and they sings out, ‘The whole bilin’! That’s what I’m afeard of! The whole bilin’!’ A bilin’ is what some folks call a raft or a lot of logs tied together, and others call any big lot of people. They meant the whole lot of robbers was on board, that’s what the crowd on the ferryboat feared.”

The author uses the conversations between his characters to lampoon the different aspects of the society, such as prejudice and absurdity of social norms. In the passage, Twain lampoons the hysteria and unreasonable panic that communities deal with when they are confronted by rumors, or those things that are not clear. 

The locals’ immediate response to a trifling minor substantive error about what a ‘bilin’ really demonstrates how their tendency to make such wild conclusions is just how naturally they operate.

The author mocks how quickly people get panic with hardly any real information. It shows how fear often makes people act irrationally. The characters tend to be positive and relaxing portrayals with a much-accentuated cartoon oddity of snobby human behavior.

Example#3

“Catch-22” by Joseph Heller

“There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind.”

Joseph Heller employs the concept of “Catch-22” to mock the absurdities and contradictions in the bureaucratic rules and regulations, especially in the military organizations.

The phrase “Catch-22” becomes a satirical motif throughout the novel. It represents the impossible situations where one cannot escape because of the contradictory rules.

Here, the rule described is paradoxical, such as, if a person is rational, they are concerned for their safety in dangerous situations, however, expressing this concern means they cannot be considered insane and thus are not eligible for relief from duty.

The author lampoons the illogical and unreasonable demands placed on the soldiers. He criticizes that how such regulations trap individuals in no-win scenarios.

He highlights the tragic nature of bureaucratic operations in the military. The use of lampoon shows the irrationality of war and the cold inhumanity of the systems that sustain it.

Example#4

“The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde

“I really don’t see anything romantic in proposing. It is very romantic to be in love. But there is nothing romantic about a definite proposal. Why, one may be accepted. One usually is, I believe. Then the excitement is all over. The very essence of romance is uncertainty.”

The author employs his sharp wit to make fun the Victorian attitudes towards marriage and romance. In the passage, the character Algernon questions the romantic nature of marriage proposals in a humorous and ironic way.

The writer uses this dialogue to lampoon the idea that marriage is the ultimate romantic achievement. He suggests that the proposal ends the excitement of romance due to its finality and the certainty it introduces.

The use of lampoon not only provides comedic relief but also criticizes the social norms. It encourages the audience to question the sincerity and functionality of societal expectations about romance and marriage.

Example#5

“A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift

“I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled…”

Swift suggests the infamous notion all the economic issues of Ireland can be fixed with the helping his poor hungry kids to get eaten by rich people. 

This audacious proposal is a part of the humor at the expense of the wealthy who regard the poor with unbelievable cruelty and cannot fix the Irish economy.

This satire brings to light the nature of this dark humor by pushing the gravitas of such absurdity. The obscene absurdity of this expression underlines the fact that people can be dehumanized, and they can likewise be unfazed by their own inhumanity and moral blindness.

The phrase expresses a horrible idea as a acceptable economics solution which points out the cruelty and disregard of the ruling class to the poor condition under their feet which in inclusion on arousing the burning blood of his majority readers, also bring forth some intellectual considerations. 

It is one of the highlights of the efforts of literature to ridicule the accepted societies norms at the same time as it provokes such change through sharp and biting good humor.

Further Reading: Literary Devices That Start With L

Function of Lampoon

In literary works, lampoon is the method directed towards making fun, satire and very sharp criticism to unveil even and to mock people’s mistakes, individual shortcomings. 

Through the use of exaggerated portrayals of its targets, lampooning is designed for entertaining and then arousing thinking and reflection among the readers. 

This literary device is effective in highlighting hypocrisy, arrogance and corruption. It encourages the audience to question the accepted norms and behaviors.

Lampoon works not only for making criticism but also as a means of engaging and influencing public opinion through humorous and cutting insights.

Examples of Lampoon in Literature
Examples of Lampoon in Literature

Lampooning remains a powerful literary tool that writers employ to criticize, entertain, and provoke thought. By using humor and satire, authors are able to discuss serious issues in a manner that is both accessible and engaging.

These examples show how effectively literature can mirror societal issues, encouraging readers to reflect on and, perhaps, rethink their views.

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