Introduction to Satire

I’m so totally excited for exams! I mean really! Exams are what I, as a student, live for. They tear down my GPA and just give me such a confidence boost!

That, my friends, was sarcasm, or as a literary genre, satire.

I love sarcasm and being ridiculous in that sense, so it only makes sense that I would do a satirical piece for my third and final experiment in re-imagining my origin piece critiquing the Stanford Prison Experiment.

I’m surprisingly really excited for this experiment. I say surprisingly because until about 5 minutes ago, I had no idea what genre I was even going to do, whereas the others I knew almost from the beginning of the semester. So I did what any good college student does; I googled. I was sifting through all the different literary genres out there when I saw it — the satire!

A satire is a piece that uses hyperbole and irony to make fun of a topic of controversy or critique. I interpret this to mean sarcasm and overly-exaggerating certain key aspects of the Stanford Prison Experiment. Satire pieces generally twist the truth and exaggerate, so that they almost write the opposite of what they mean, but in a humorous obvious way that readers can enjoy.

I think for this experiment I plan on writing an essay focusing on the thought process or experimental design. Basically I want to examine what was going through Zimbardo’s and his research assistants minds when initially setting up the experiment and then as they were actually conducting it. I think this could be a really funny and creative way to criticize the flaws of the design.

I am excited for this piece because it is so radically different from the previous experiments, in that this is more fun and less serious. I also feel that this is one of the only classes that I’ve taken where I could do something along these lines and that is another reason I am excited to do this experiment.

I’m a little nervous on finding the balance between stupidly obvious sarcasm and setting a tone that could almost be serious but isn’t. I want this to have meaning and not just be a joke, so I think finding that balance will be one of my key struggles in writing this sample.

2 thoughts to “Introduction to Satire”

  1. I think this is a really unique idea and a great way to think about the Stanford Prison Experiment in a way that hasn’t previously been done. This would be a perfect opportunity to point out some of the seemingly crazy things about the Experiment without being super analytical and academic. It seems like you could have a lot of fun with this experiment and could combine some of the aspects of the short story with some of the news article. For example, a satire would allow you the creative freedom that a short story would, while also allowing you to criticize the experiment like you might do in a news article. How do you think you might structure this satire? Would it be told from multiple perspectives, or just Zimbardo’s? I am excited to see where you go with this!

  2. Hi Kayla! The idea of doing a satire about the experimental design of the Stanford Prison Experiment is a great idea! Like we talked about in class, I wonder if you could incorporate elements of your short story into this? Also, how are you planning on tackling the satire genre in terms of organization? I think it might be great to make it seem very scientific at the beginning like it’s not a satire, like Caitlyn’s final project that we read in class, then surprise the reader with crazy moments throughout that surprise them. I’m excited to see how this turns out!

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