Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Kasaipwalova and Voltaire

Voltaire’s Candide describes a young optimistic man in an absurd world. His outlook on life is always positive, and things do eventually play out in his favor. Voltaire writes this story with a ton of separate climax’s and unique literary devices, like bringing characters back to life after he has already killed them off. The source of Voltaire’s humor comes from the satire of the play. The hero’s conflict is so exaggerated that it is unrealistic and there are several chapters written with irony. Candide was injured by a few falling stones during the earthquake and asked Pangloss for some oil and wine for his pain. Pangloss ignores his pain until the end of the chapter and receives a glass himself (Candide 11-12). Voltaire uses satire to demonstrate how he feels about many common issues, such as religion, or politics.
            There are a few reasons why this could be funny to people. The absurd plot could catch them off guard and perhaps spark a laugh, like a joke would. The incongruity theory is consistent with the absurd plot, and the compacted short chapters tell a little funny story. Another reason we could laugh at this is the relief theory. Voltaire creates an upbeat character, so we can share in his enjoyment of life without feeling his pain. If you are struggling through a week of tests and always seem to be on the move your roommates will notice. If you break down and cry they will probably try to console you, but if you make joke or are able to be optimistic, they will most likely laugh.

            John Kasaipwalova’s Betel Nut is Bad Magic for Airplane demonstrates a common injustice in his home country. He writes the short story in broken English to resemble a native English lingo. In this story, airport security guards are harassing three university students for no reason. He is writing the story in the language that the security guard would expect him to write it in, but he really speaks perfect English. The humor also comes from Descartes’ idea that laughter comes from scorn. The reader gets so frustrated at the security guard that when Kasaipwalova makes fun of him, it is funny to us.

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