Satire as Effective Argument

Harry Golden sitting at his desk.

Satire is generally known as the use of humor, irony or exaggeration to expose the corruption or foolishness of an individual or corporation.  In most cases, the writer’s ethical appeal (reader’s judgement of the writer’s character) is directly affected by the writer’s use of satire.  In the essay “Left-Handers (Those Sickos) Got No Reason to Live!”, writer Roger Guffey’s use of hurtful and condescending language greatly affects his ethical appeal.  When he says words like “despicable,” “unnatural,” “filthy,” and “degenerate,” he is proving to the audience that he is anything but concerned, fair-minded and knowledgeable.  His words are offensive to the LGBT community and left-handers and are extremely unnecessary.  His language completely discredits his ethical appeal, causing the audience to disregard his entire essay.  On the other hand, Harry Golden’s essay, “The Vertical Negro Plan”, is very well-written and contains positive ethical appeal.  Golden starts off the essay by referring to a few amendments that were passed by the legislature.  This immediately lets the audience know that Golden is well-informed on the topic.  Golden also refrains from using the same harsh language that litters Guffey’s essay.  Instead, Golden remains polite and respectful towards his opponents while also offering up some interesting alternatives to help solve the problem of segregation, specifically in public schools and other public places.  The combination of his concerned tone, relatively neutral language and outrageously clever suggestions for a solution allow the readers to trust Golden’s character as a writer, making his use of satire extremely effective.


One thought on “Satire as Effective Argument

  1. Good, but you should also quote from Golden to show his “concerned tone” and “outrageously clever suggestions” to solve the segregation problem. Also be clearer about what Guffey is satirizing.
    Note: Use quotes, not italics, for titles of short essays.


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