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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

SATRICAL ELEMENTS IN “AMERICAN GUESTS COME TO OUR HOUSE” A Critical Analysis

There are many literary forms used by different authors all over the world. Satire is one of those genres. Answer.com defines Satire as “A literary form in which human vice or folly is attack through irony, derision or wit.” From yourdictionary.com, it defines satire as “the use of ridicule, sarcasm, irony, etc. to expose, attack, or deride vices, follies, etc”. And on wikipedia.com “Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In Satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement. Although Satire is usually meant to be funny, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit as a weapon.” All of these define Satire as one thing- a literary form that uses wit as a weapon; a weapon to attack something that the author or the writer of a particular story strongly disagrees and hope to produce change and improvement. In addition the heart of any good satire is a voice calling for change (Michael Raymond 2008), as what its purpose really is. For the Satirist (one who uses satire), it is their way to state or to show human vices, it knocks to the hearts of the readers and strive to bring understanding and deep realization for that particular thing. There are different elements of satire, but I became confused because I have seen two different elements enumerated from two different sources (google.com & prezi.com). The first source states that the elements of satire are wit, ridicule, and derision. But I admired more the elements given by the next source. In prezi.com, there are four elements of satire namely Hyperbole-extreme exaggeration to make a point, Human nature- in which the author taps to have a point, Humor- the use of humor to reach the readers or audiences, and finally, Irony- expressing the opposite of what the author really mean. To make it easier, a story is considered satire if it pictures out human vices, and even though it seems to show laughter and joy it aims for the change… a change for the better.

The story American Guest Come to Our House generally talks about Muzaffer who invited some Americans to visit their house for sometime. As the story goes on he keeps on bragging that they will be having foreign guests, and even in simple conversations he tries to alter the topic into the arrival of the guests in their house. And yes, he successfully done it and because of that another versions of that story

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came out talking on what is really the purpose of spreading the news. When the guests are about to arrive, they realized that their house is not presentable to the visitors, and even he and his wife who does not fight for twenty-two years almost end up in a divorce. Friday, the date when the guests should arrive and the family members strive to improve their house. Yet a message came telling them that the guests aren’t coming, instead they will arrive next Saturday. Then, another “decorating” week passed and again, the same thing happened. A message came telling that the guests have some problems, so they will arrive on the next Saturday. Because of that incident Muzaffer suspected that his enemy tells something to their guest that they do not arrive. Even so, he still continued on developing their home for the guests’ convenience. Finally the arrival of the Americans came, luckily by this time he had borrowed some furniture and appliances from their neighbors yet with some exemption. They entertained their guest as planned until things became horrible; the refrigerator he borrowed came late, the guest now know that all of the furniture and appliances where only borrowed from their neighbor, their house became crowded (because of his family plus the guests), the girls in his family wore dresses as if it’s a wedding, his daughter and mother-in-law performed their tradition ( where he became ashamed of & the guests do not know about it at all), he broke some appliance while trying to start them, and his boy peed on the carpet that he borrowed and cried in front of the visitors---what a disaster. In the end he managed to survive the visit; and now he is paying the debts caused by that event, poor Muzaffer.

The above mentioned story by Aziz Nesin talks about some nature of man. Particularly talks on the Human Nature element of the satire. First of all, we “over” entertain guests as if we go beyond our usual thing; in the story Muzaffer borrowed his neighbors things for the sake of his guests. Second is we are very proud of something we have accomplished or things we will be accomplishing; we boast it over to another person, like Muzaffer who are very proud to tell everyone about his guest. Third, is the human nature to pull down people who had accomplished something; or the nature of man to be jealous (in a negative way), in the story some people created stories about the purpose of Muzaffer spreading of the news. Fourth, the nature of man to enter or join in the problems of other people-like the neighbors of Muzaffer who argued with their family on what they should do. Fifth, helping others with an exemption or

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with a “but”-like also some of Muzaffer’s neighbors. Sixth, taking others help as a bad thing or insult (when Hasan the tile-maker send a message of help to Muzaffer). Seventh, blaming others for the things happening to us(when Muzaffer said that there enemy is probably the cause of their guests’ visit postponement). Eighth, telling a lie to escape an accusation (as when Muzaffer ironically said that the guest where the one who said that they wanted to visit his house but the true story is that he was the one to suggested that the American should visit him in sometime).

In the end, although satirical works are usually funny and humorous, its purpose does not merely mean to give laughter. Thus, its true intention, aim, objective and purpose is to use wit as a weapon to attack whatever the author or a writer see as a thing that needs to be changed and to be improved. Although laughter is a response, it could not change anything. But if the readers understand its purpose- they will come to a good realization.

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