Comedy and Satire (Literature Elective; US)

Linda Johnson

Grades 11–12

In addition to making people laugh, comedies and satires often raise provocative questions about society and its treatment of individuals. In this course, students learn and use theories of humor to explore classic and contemporary comedic works and their own senses of humor. Students interrogate whether humorists challenge or reinforce societal values relating to gender, race, sexuality, and social class. As they investigate the often-controversial nature of comedy and satire, students consider whether there are lines that these works should not cross. Units often team older and newer works, such as Shakespeare’s original romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing with contemporary film rom-coms, Plautus’s plays with modern films involving stock characters, and Lorraine Hansberry’s drama A Raisin in the Sun with the satire Clybourne Park that picks up where Hansberry’s play ends. Students write both analytically and imaginatively, honing their powers of persuasion in formal essays and developing their creative flairs in comedic pieces. Students engage actively with one another through in-class discussions, online discussion forums, peer feedback, formal presentations, and debates.

  • Humanities/Language Arts

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