I’m going to be honest when I first read The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, I did not really get the satire. It took me reading through it a second time to actually understand it. The beginning description of the friend who wants the narrator to investigate Rev. Smiley is a big part of the satire that I completely forgot about making the story not make sense until I reread it. I thought that it wasn’t really like laugh out loud humor but more humor that made you think about the whole situation and prove a point. That point, of course, was making fun of upper-class people in thinking they are so much better than those lower than them. The whole time the narrator describes Simon Wheeler as a lazy stupid man but in reality, it is the Narrator who is fooled into talking to Wheeler by his friend. The whole long story just makes fun of Southern Romanticism and how they portray people in such a heroic light.

In anticipation of Huck Finn, I would say that I am expecting a lot of mischiefs. A while back I remember watching a video where Huck Finn faked his own death and it was pretty entertaining. I can’t really remember why I was watching it or where it was from but I hope that the book will be just as entertaining. After reading the short story by Mark Twain in class I have pretty high hopes for the book. As we discussed (and the story was further proof of this) Twain is an absolute genius when it comes to portraying different characters and their dialect. He rights a lot about adventures but the subtle jokes he makes really makes you think.

I actually watched iMom a couple of months ago because I love little short film “twilight moony” type of stuff. I was (and still am) totally freaked by the twist ending. The iMom seemed like an angel compared to the real mom who didn’t seem to put a lot of thought into her kids. As she was giving advice to one kid I started to forget that she was a robot but then when I had realized what she had done it made me think about how easily technology can backfire on us without us even realizing it. The satire is honestly just that humans can only make technology as good as they are. There will never a perfect mother because we are imperfect. 

Satire and Twain

I definitely watch a lot of satire humor in my life. Though I think I don’t always put a name to it it is a common theme in the comedy I watch. A lot of it is political such as on SNL but also in The Office of Parks and Rec. I would say while it can be pretty funny sometimes when it gets too real it just gets uncomfortable or upsetting though most comedians no not to take it that far. I also enjoy surreal humor (Monty Python and the coconut horses) or some of the really strange things that Dwight does on the office like hosting a garden party which of course was all a prank by Jim. Another great example of surreal humor is Weird Al parodies which I haven’t really watch in a while but White and Nerdy is a pretty great one. Topical humor can be pretty funny too. A lot of times after I just finished watching a new movie I will go and watch the How It Should Have Ended video on it. If I am being honest some of the more witty jokes take me a second to get them.

I know that Mark Twain liked to make fun of his era of people. As we learned in APUSH he came up with the term the Gilded age which meant that the era he lived in looked great on the outside but underneath things were not going well at all. He wrote a book called The Gilded Age with Charles Dudley Warner which is what that term stemmed from.  After doing some reading online I have realized that Mark Twain had a very interesting life.  He dropped out of fifth grade, became a steamboat pilot, joined the Confederate army for several weeks, and was friends with Nikola Tesla. Because of his very interesting life and the many famous and influential people in it, I think he was able to have a lot of things to talk about in his books. His life experience helped him to have a wide perspective of the United States at that time.

The Good Earth

My biggest critique with this book is that is set one general portray of Chinese people for a long time. It also may have been the cause of some racist ideas of Chinese people. That being said it was very monumental for it’s time in that not many Americans had any idea what China was like and what its people’s lives were like. It also helped raise awareness and somewhat less discrimination against Chinese people in America.

The book itself was an amazing story of life, wealth, family, and sacrifice. It also revealed some of the terrible practices of many Chinese people during that time. The author does a good job portraying Wang Lung’s life through his perspective and describing what he had to do in times of hardship and the difficult decisions he had to make in order to survive poverty. The social differences of wealthy vs poor people in China were also well shown with the way that the Hwang family looked down upon Wang Lung and other peasants. Poor had to treat them like gods and respect whatever they wished. For instance, when Wang Lung marries O-Lan he is expected to come back when she has her first child and show the child to the Lady of the Hwang family. The Lady of the house seems like she could care less that she is losing a slave because they have so so many.

The amount of reliance on the land for life is shown very well in the way that Wang Lung describes the circle of life. The man takes much from the land throughout his life but when he dies his body goes back into the soil. Also, Wang Lung’s perspective in his marriage to O-Lan is very well described and shows a very different way of viewing marriage than what it is like today. Since women where no more than property in China, it was almost like he just went out and bought himself a new horse when he purchased O-Lan for a wife. Despite this, he still wishes to please her and even talks about how self -conscious he feels about his actions towards her at some parts of their early marriage. This shows the human feelings of wanting companionship and acceptance were still there.

The book is a great example of what wealth/greed can do to a family. Wang Lung and his wife cultivate the land and then go through hard times but eventually, they steal money from a well to do family and buy more land and start successfully farming again. They eventually become so rich that Wang Lung doesn’t really have reason to grow anything and starts becoming idle. He finds faults in O-Lan and criticizes her despite all of the work she put into having children, working hard on and off the family land, and raising the children. This is just another example of how little women were thought of during this time in China. She becomes ill eventually dies and Wang Lung regrets the way he treated her. He still is much more greedy now that he is rich but he still believes in hard work and tries to encourage his sons to continue the tradition. They refuse because they have also become lazy with greed and sell the family land and split the money. The amount of trial and tribulation that Wang Lung and O-Lan went through is very in-depth and emotional. Despite the major cultural and historical differences of the setting of the book and now, the reader can still sympathize and relate to the story which makes it a timeless classic. It is a very realistic story too in that it doesn’t necessarily have a happy ending and it doesn’t leave out any of the hardships of the Wang Lung family.