The American Heritage Dictionary defines satire as “a literary work in which human vice or folly is attacked through irony, derision, or wit.” Can you think of current television programs, movies, books, or magazines that use satire to attack or ridicule human vice or folly?
In some cases news of the anti-suffrage movement was printed in the pro-suffrage press. One such article ridiculed Mrs. W. W. Crannell of Albany, New York, who was sent by the New York association opposed to woman suffrage to South Dakota to speak against an amendment to a bill in the state legislature to grant woman suffrage.
If a woman can always do her best work at home, why does the Anti-Suffrage Association send Mrs. Crannell to conduct a political campaign hundreds of miles away from Albany? What will become of Mrs. Crannell’s husband and children while she is thus engaged? The very newest kind of “new woman” is a lady who goes from one end of the country to another, making public speeches to prove that a woman’s place is at home.
- How does the report use satire to discredit the anti-suffrage movement? Does the report use “irony, derision, or wit”?
- How effective is the use of satire in the article? Would a more conventional style have been as effective? Why or why not?
Poems can also be satirical. Read “The Anti-Suffragist” by William Lloyd Garrison, the noted abolitionist and proponent of woman suffrage, written for the New England Woman Suffrage Alliance.
- In what ways did Garrison make use of satire in his poem? Who or what was he satirizing? What irony did he highlight?
- Is this satiric poem effective? Explain your answer.
- Why was the poem reprinted and circulated by the woman suffrage movement years after it was originally written?