Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

P is for PARODY

A PARODY is composition imitating another, usually serious, piece. It is designed to ridicule a work or its style or author. When the PARODY is directed against an author or style, it is likely to fall simply into barbed witticisms. When the subject matter of the original composition is parodied, however, it may prove to be a valuable indirect criticism. Or it may even imply a flattering tribute to the original writer.

The PARODY is in literature what the caricature and the cartoon are in art. Known as a potent instrument of satire and ridicule even as far back as Aristophanes, PARODY has made a definite place for itself in literature and has become a popular style of literary composition. PARODY  makes fun of some familiar style, typically by keeping the style more or less constant while markedly lowering or debasing the subject. Thus Dickenson's--

                                                         The Soul selects her own Society--
                                                         Then-- shuts the Door--

has been parodied:
                                                         The Soul selects her own Sorority--
                                                         Then--shuts the Dorm--

The craft of PARODY prizes minimal tampering.

(This post has been inspired by and in some instances, directly quoted from A Handbook to Literature, 8th Edition, by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman) 


  1. In music apparently Wierd Al is the king of parody. Michael Jackson said he could do whatever he like with any of his songs except Black & White and other musicians book him to "dis" (you probably cringing at this word Karen lol) their music.

  2. This post and the Dickenson example make me want to play with parody! It could even make a cool contest - give a line from literature and invite the parodies. Thinking about my Ogden Nash post yesterday, I'd say my parody fell into the "lighthearted tribute" category.

  3. Wendy, Al Yankovich is the perfect example of parody in the music industry. I had no idea other musicians actually hired him! Which shows how parody can be a form of flattery.

    Melissa, Ogden Nash and Melissa Ann Goodwin-- masters of parody! And yes, great idea for a contest!

  4. What about Pride and Prejudice, and Zombies?

  5. Karen, you're so darn clever. What a great topic for "P" day.

  6. Great explanation of Parody - I agree, though, that it requires a lightness of touch. I like the parallel with caricature and cartoons, in the art world.

  7. As soon as I read parody I thought, Men in Tights...the movie. Robin Hood will never be the same. LOL
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

  8. I'm rather fond of the odd parody - you've probably noticed on my blog! :)

  9. Interesting. Though I stay away from parody in the fear of now knowing the original content well enough. I let other people tackle this art!

  10. I could never write parody, but I enjoy it if it's done in a fun, non-hurtful way. (I love Men in Tights and other movies like that, for example. ;))

    P.S. I'm passing on a blog award to you. You can find it on my blog if you're interested.

  11. Yep, I think parody is a great form of flattery. Think of it - if you hadn't done anything worth imitating, no one would try to parody you! Great post.

  12. "Minimal tinkering" I think describes parody perfectly !


  13. We were a bit unsure of the parody, but this lesson helps put our fears to rest !

  14. Parody is an entertaining form of flattery. I do enjoy it. Your posts have really been interesting and reminding me of much I otherwise would have thought I had forgotten.

  15. I haven't been a good blogger lately, I'm trying to catch up on my comment backlog :)

    I love these articles. And it's a good point that parody, done properly, is subtle. It's not exactly parody, but I was reminded of William Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience; how relatively minor changes transform the whole point and purpose of the poems.

    Good shout-out for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, too, Matthew!

  16. I love a good parody. I didn't even think of this one for "P" Great post!

  17. I awarded you the Stylish Blogger award. Come stop by....