Writer’s Username: Serban
I want you to use these 4 pages to add as much REFERENCES/QUOTES, throughout the whole essay (provided below), to/from the scholarly sources used in this essay as possible. Try to add different quotes from the texts/journals used as a cited work (six sources listed in the end of the essay), so that it will be clear that you used them. When use quotes from the texts, please use MLA format, indicate the text and page number. Quotes need to be followed or supported by an appropriate analysis (avoid at any cost uncritical summary!). You can either modify the existing passages by adding quotes/references and their analysis or add additional passages. I want you to distribute them THROUGHOUT the WHOLE essay, i.e. so that there will be enough quotes/references in the beginning, body and the conclusion of the essay. I want you to provide proper context (introduce characters and circumstances, providing the details necessary to understand and follow your points). Supporting all claims with specific details and examples (claims are empty without evidence). Define your terms; know your terms. I also want you to indicate the general argument/thesis in the beginning of the essay. The beginning of the essay needs to be restructured in the following way: 1)Hook: an interesting first statement that draws attention. 2)Introduction: including a central thesis and a preview/map of the speech.
To summaries everything, I want you to use these 4 pages to add different quotes/references from the texts/sources to this essay and modify the beginning (as it was explained above). The essay itself is good, but it lacks quotes/references and the beginning needs to be restructured.
Below is the actual essay:
Humor and Violence in U.S. Literature and Society
Humor and violence have always been best-selling products, and, most people from around the world are aware that the American society has benefited greatly from exploiting the two. It is surprising how people can enjoy the presence of violence in their everyday lives, reading books that involve violence and watching movies that show a degrading part of their society. It is virtually impossible for one today to attempt to escape violence, since it is present in most of the media and all over the country. In contrast to violence, humor is clearly something that is less likely to affect society in a bad way, as it is pleasant and it induces a beneficial state of mind into people. The American literature is also known to have taken advantage of humor and violence over the years, as writers became acquainted with the fact that it is advantageous to write about matters which readers get pleasure from.
From the beginning of time, humankind has been addicted to certain matters that they considered to be stimulating. Humor and violence had been just two of the factors that brought enjoyment to people. Humor influences the brain in ordering the body to make chemical reactions that make people happy. What is curious is that in spite of the fact that humor is apparently inoffensive, it tends to link to violence when it is exaggerated. Jokes can also be offensive, in spite of their cheerful character, and, moreover, humor can have side-effects, appearing to be insulting to some people even with the fact that it is satisfying to others. Jokes are harmful in situations when they are directed against certain people or groups, and, in those cases, their intended purpose presumably is to increase the superiority of the people telling them.
Humor needs to be analyzed on a social level, in order for its effects to be exclusively beneficial. One needs to consider all of the factors involved in a situation in which he or she would involve humor. Also, they would have to make sure that such an action would not seem offensive towards others.
Although it is intended to refer to society and its misdemeanor, satire cannot be considered to be offensive, since there is a small probability that it will produce any resentment in people. A good example of the American society giving birth to something that is funny and enjoyable, despite its satirical character, is Charlie Chaplin.1 In times when movies were something new to the American public, the English actor succeeded in making it addicted to him and to his movies. His merit is also largely owed to the scriptwriters and to the movie directors that invested hard work in making the respective movies. Even with his obvious success among the American public, there still are a number of critics believing that the characters played by Charlie Chaplin had been too vulgar for the period.
Satirical movies did not only go at condemning society in general, as movies have gone against great leaders, with no regard to the effects that they will have. The Great Dictator (1940) is but an example of Chaplin’s movies criticizing an entire regime. While the U.S. government had been reluctant when concerning their entering the war, The Great Dictator (1940) had a strong influence on destabilizing the balance between Nazi Germany and the U.S., which were then at peace.
Humor seems to be more appealing when it is used in movies than when it is used in books and articles. This is believed to be occurring because of the fact that the ordinary man finds satire and parodies to be more amusing than the normally harder to understand humor found in books and articles. Society’s problems are the issues by and large being presented by humorists, and, in spite of the fact that a lot of people are not interested in analyzing the respective problems, they can’t help letting out a smile when they come across such writings.
While humor is considered to be pleasurable due to the feelings that it triggers, it is a mystery why violence is also enjoyed by people. It might be because of the fact that it scares them so much in the real life. When concerning violence and the U.S., any amateur moviegoer will most probably relate to American Psycho. The movie’s story involves an accomplished young American murdering people randomly, with no regard to the effect that his actions have on society. Consequent to watching such movies, the audience returns home, where they presumably live safely ever after. However, what is disturbing is that a number of people are influenced by films that involve killing. It often happens that people attempt to replicate what they see in movies, identifying themselves with the killers. In addition to movies, books have also been recognized as having turned people into psychotic killers. In addition, the fact that movies have a much wider public makes it easier for people to be manipulated by them.2
People have become passionate about watching TV, and, as a result, they have begun to look upon certain elements from their daily lives differently. Most people consider TV to be a good source of information, and, as a result, they find themselves following several wrong examples that they see on TV. Violence is one of the most popular issues on TV, as some channels picture it most of the time. People have become less interested in TV in the recent years because they have learnt to filter the information that they had been receiving from the device. In the present day, it is believed that most people choose only what is good from the media. However, certain elements can act as camouflage for violence, and, whereas people believe that they are actually watching something that brings them relief, they are also receiving malicious information relating to violence.
The masses generally believe that violence receives too much coverage in the media, but, when it appears in an amusing context, it is believed to be less unpleasant. It seems that violence actually has a better effect on people when it is meant to represent something that is humorous
. The fighting in cartoons, for example, is considered to have little to do with actual violence, as the public is less likely to be influenced by what they see there. The slapstick acts in the Charlie Chaplin movies are also believed to be perfectly normal, since they do not exhibit wrongdoings and there is a small possibility that people would become more aggressive consequent to viewing such scenes.3
While violence has been a subject that American writers had generally preferred to avoid writing about, it slowly became captivating to them. The result of comedy being introduced to violence had created a whole new chapter in American literature. In spite of its obvious malicious character, violence became superior and more enjoyable. A pie being thrown in the face, for example, involves both violence and humor. However, the final product is something that the public would most certainly consider to have little to do with violence. When embracing humor and violence, a text modifies genres, making humor seem more amazing and violence seem more sudden. While the readers might find a certain violent episode from a book appear to be too disturbing, a similar episode might be regarded as being less upsetting when it is tied to a humorous
situation in a different book.
While most individuals are aware of the fact that guns (movies, books, articles, etc.) do not kill people because people kill people, it is almost impossible to believe that all killers act from their own will, without having been influenced by a certain thing. The American society has had a lot to suffer as a result of people being addicted to violence, with it being present in the everyday American life. Violence is becoming more and more common among Americans, and, while the issue can also be related to globalization, and, to the presence of technology, it is rather difficult for people to fail from observing that literature and the media have a lot to do with it.
Jokes generally depend on the moment and place when they are told, as the circumstances are critical when considering the influence that humor has on the surrounding persons. When the person making a joke is presented with an appropriate public for the joke, the performance would most certainly improve the atmosphere. In order for the surrounding public to be appreciative towards the person making the joke, the joke needs to be open minded, without it being in any way offensive.
Ethnicity has a lot to do with humor, as people have always taken advantage of the differences that they saw in others to play jokes on the respective individuals. It is extremely complicated for an American to claim that his or her bloodlines link them to the U.S., since most families have moved here in the recent centuries. Because of its ethnic diversity, the territory stands as an almost perfect ground for jokes involving ethnicity. Ethnic jokes are generally accepted by the general public, with people considering them to release violent feelings, thus making possible the peaceful coexistence of tens of millions of people.
While people formerly believed that it had been perfectly natural to lose your national identity once you became an American, ethnic groups gradually became determined to express their individuality through every method that they could find. People are no longer willing to have themselves melting in a pot of Americanization, as they are reluctant to change their customs in favor of American ones. Along with this performance, ethnic jokes are likely to become history, as people consider them to be an offense.
Sherman’s Alexie’s book, Flight, involves a lot of violence, and, despite of the book’s dramatic nature, it manages to raise a smile on people’s faces from time to time, as the story also includes humorous
moments. Some people might consider the book to be difficult to swallow by teenagers, considering the fact that it includes a great deal of violence that is likely to have its readers being affected by it. The language and the sexual situations also contribute in having the book appear to be containing too much for one that did not become an adult. Even with that, children over 13 will most certainly enjoy the book, considering that Zit, the main character, definitely has a remarkable nature. The author almost perfectly manages to describe the general feelings experienced by a teenager.
In spite of the fact that Zits undergoes situations including extreme violence, the readers are less expected to consider the book to influence them in commiting acts of aggression. Similar to how it is in cartoons and in Charlie Chaplin movies, this violence falls into obscurity because of the story and because of the entertaining situations that it describes.
After the War of Independence, people largely believed that there had been nothing original in the U.S., considering the fact that most of the culture present here had been brought from Europe. In the nineteenth century, however, Americans gradually started to overthrow the monopoly owned by the British in literature. The so-called British wit, mostly used by American writers until the time, started to weaken its influence in America. The writers in Northern America began to develop a new style of involving humor into writing, and, thus, a national identity had arisen in American literature.4
Writers such as Charles Dickens returned to England dissatisfied with what they had witnessed, as they considered their American peers to have developed an unbalanced sense of humor. They believed that the Americans had used issues such as brutality and anger in writing humorous
texts.5 This had most probably been a result of the Englishmen failing to understand the humor, since it had mostly differed from their British wit. Moreover, the English writers had been appalled at the fact that the Americans produced humorous
writings for the masses, instead of chasing a particular audience.
Humor is very important when considering a certain nation’s character and, the American writers had been determined to create their own identity. Apparently, in order for it to be good, humor needs to involve anarchism and facts that go against society’s beliefs.6 Taking into reflection the fact that violence is something harshly condemned by society in general, it is only normal for humorists to attempt to present it in a different light. The public enjoys violence when it is presented under an amusing light, and this shows through the appreciation that they show to writers that link the two genres.
People generally believe that humor had been officially introduced into the American literature with the help of Washington Irving. Nineteenth century writers turned their attention toward humor writing and, as a result, a great number of American writers became famous during the time. Critics believe that the American literature owes a large amount of its success to the people writing humor in the nineteenth century. Even with that, a number of critics appeared to be discontent with the performance, considering it to have brought little benefits to the U.S. as a whole. The reason for their dissatisfaction had been the fact that the Southern writers directed the humor towards the lower class of society, intending to only have the upper class profit from the exploit. In opposition to their coworkers, certain writers started to write differently, and one particular writer, Mark Twain, presented the Southern society exactly as it had been, bettering the image of the African American by presenting Jim’s character.7 It is intriguing how sadistic humor can work so well in a seemingly modern society, and, furthermore, it is curious how people can accept and even become fond of humor of which they are aware that it indirectly affects others.
When bearing in mind violence, it is always easier to make it acceptable when the aggressors are being presented in more optimistic words than their targets. One cannot help admiring Zit, for example, even with the fact that the character is an outlaw and had performed a series of illegalities across his life. It appears that literature had a greater deal of violence involved in its humor-related writings at times when the American society went through difficult moments. One can deduce that it had been the violence in literature that had partly influenced the hard times experienced by the Americans. However, it can also be possible that people have actually been influenced by the respective writings to go over the periods easier than they would have done if literature had not touched the topic.
Whether it is something in its character, or whether there is some other presently unknown reason for the act, the American society embraces humor and violence whenever the genres are linked together. Horror movies have experienced an impressive success until the nineties. However, the public had begun to show less interest in the genre consequent to the period. Intriguingly, however, there developed a need for movies that involved both horror and humor. Movies such as Beetlejuice, The Adams Family, and Scary Movie had brought something that the audience had desperately yearned for.
Violence and humor are two genres that presumably have nothing to do, and, people are less likely to be scared and amused in the same time. It is certainly a mystery how these two genres can be linked together, and, furthermore, it is strange that they are enjoyed by people.
While the general public accepts and even welcomes literature when it includes both violence and humor, some critics believe that the writings are harming society. Apparently, a part of the violence present in society is owed to the violence present in literature under a gentler form. This gentler form of violence is considered to be attractive toward a greater number of people that irresponsibly absorb the things that they read and later attempt to recreate them in real life. In spite of the fact that it is almost impossible for a normal person to believe such a claim, it is actually real. Children and generally people that are inexperienced associate violence with humor subsequent to reading from the genre. As a result, they tend to believe that it is perfectly normal for them to act similar to the characters from the writings that they read.
All in all, violence and humor is something that the American public will always appreciate, regardless to the fact that the association has lead to a number of unfortunate events over the years. It is less likely that the genre will disappear in the following years, taking into consideration the fact that the U.S. literature has built part of its identity on it.
1. Berger, Arthur Asa. (1999). “An Anatomy of Humor”. Transaction Publishers.
2. Dupre, Anne P. “Violence, Depravity, and the Movies: The Lure of DEVIANCY”. USA Today (Society for the Advancement of Education), Vol. 127, January 1999.
3. Piacentino, Edward J. Inge Thomas M. (2001). “The humor of the Old South”. University Press of Kentucky.
4. Potter, James W. Warren, Ron. “Humor as Camouflage of Televised Violence”. Journal of Communication, Vol. 48, 1998.
5. Sherman, Alexie. (2007). “Flight”. Black Cat.
6. Walker, Nancy A. (1998). “What's so funny?: humor in American culture”. Rowman & Littlefield.
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