Satire, protest, and change


We’ve looked at some of the earliest examples of political satire and protest in the English-speaking world by reading parts of A Modest Proposal and Gulliver’s Travels. By giving an ironic proposal on how to solve poverty and salvation in Ireland and by using horses as an example of a race that could be more good and just then ourselves Swift mocks the men in power and showed to the world what they truly were: cynical.

The two stories by Swift tells us that:

  • You can use fiction as an efficient means of spreading a political message
  • Irony and satire are efficient ways of attacking power
  • Both texts show that the political leaders of the time were cynical and cruel

Task 1

  • In Nazi Germany satirical drawings of all political leaders were accepted, except for Hitler. He was beyond being joked at. Why is that, do you think?
  • The 18th century, known as the Enlightenment, we saw the first examples of public political satire. Why do you think that is? What must have happened in society to enable this?


Task 2

Today political messages are not spread through short stories or books. How does modern day people protest against power. Find some example of how humorous political messages are spread today. Post links as you find them. Vote for best political joke.



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