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Satire

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Submitted By th77077
Words 1966
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Tanika Hall
000-07-7077
Eng. 120-03

Heaven: What did you expect?

Heaven is something that every believer looks forward to; It is talked about in every Christian church, and interpreted different by the various denominations. In the extract from Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven by Mark Twain, Captain Stormfield gives his account of his time in heaven. Patricia Glinton-Meicholas also gives an account of heaven in the extract from How to Be a True-True Bahamian. Both extracts discuss their expectations of heaven, using satire to expose people’s vices. The extracts although seemingly similar are very different, both have a different view on what heaven should be given through the eyes of two very different people. Glinton-Meicholas gives a view of heaven through a modern day Bahamian who sees heaven being as much like the United States as possible; whereas, Twain gives a view from the perspective of a captain from San Francisco around the early 1900s. Throughout this essay we will focus primarily on the differences between these two extracts and how they use rhetorical techniques to deliver their underlying critiques. In both the extract of Glinton-Meicholas and Twain, they give accounts of heaven through the use of satire by exposing vices. Satire is a literary device used to utilizes humor to expose moral corruption and human vices. In Twain’s extract, satire is used to make fun of the way people view heaven. Most people see heaven as an “easy street”. A place where everything will be freely given and nothing has to be worked for. Twain makes fun of this by exposing using the choir that everyone looks forwards to hear. It’s humorous because everyone in this extract, when they first get to heaven, decide that they want to be a par of the choir. No one asks when is practice or the song list so that everyone can be harmonious, they just ask for a musical instrument and jump into the chaos of sound. After everyone’s first day in heaven, most people are only able to stay in the choir for a short period of time, they never return. This is also humorous because everyone is so excited to be a part of the choir that it takes a while for them to realize that its only noise; nothing harmonious or melodious. Twain criticizes people’s idea that heaven is an “easy street” by making fun of the choir; whereas Glinton-Meicholas uses satire to criticize the way that the Bahamian people idolize the United States so much that it can seem like heaven for most Bahamian people. Glinton-Meicholas uses satire to make fun of the American thing that we idolize, by calling them apostles, miracles, gospels, archangels, etc. She uses satire to make fun of what she thinks the Bahamian view as the perfect heaven; shopping malls, theme parks, car dealerships and so on. She also makes a humorous play at football, referring to the running back by saying “He’s probably trying to escape the onslaught by running back to common sense.” She uses these satires to criticize the way that Bahamian treat America as if it is our little slice of heaven; completely ignoring, most of the time, that we have a culture of our own and making he Bahamas into little America, so to speak. She is also making fun at our bad habits, such as drinking, partying hard, gambling; stating that heaven won’t be complete for us unless we are able to entertain ourselves with a few Bahamian traditions, food, drink, and party. So, although both authors use satire, they use it in different ways, to criticize different vices. Satire sets the tone for the extracts of both Glinton-Meicholas and Twain. Both the extracts are an appeal for a correction of certain social ills. However, despite the common use of satire, Glinton-Meicholas uses a cynical tone, but Twain uses an ironic tone. Irony is when something is intentionally contrary to what is expected. This can be seen in Captain Stormfield’s visit to Heaven because we expected Captain Stormfield to love the version of heaven that he first saw, but after trying it out for a little while, he came to realize that heaven was not as good as he was made to believe. When he was told what heaven was really like (hardworking and busy) he was much happier to be in heaven. The cynical tone can be seen in How to Be a True-True-Bahamian because throughout the extract it is apparent that she does not have any hope of Bahamians changing their view of heaven being as much as the United States as possible. It is also obvious that Glinton-Meicholas doesn’t see any hope of us changing our habits of drinking and partying and gambling. So, despite the fact that they have the similar tone of satire, they also have different tones to better share their point of view with the audience. The extracts of Swain and Glinton-Meicholas both use various literary techniques to deliver their underlying critiques. In both extracts, they use imagery to get us to feel a certain way or bring an idea to mind. Twain uses imagery when Captain Stormfield is describing the choir and the raucous they made to help us understand what a disaster it must’ve been and to make it humorous in a detailed way. He also uses imagery to show us the way that most people view heaven and the way that it really is in Captain Stormfield’s visit; I believe that this imagery is to make us aware that our lazy heaven is most likely not a fantasy of the way that heaven truly is, a place of hard work. Glinton-Meicholas uses imagery to make us aware of the way that we completely idolize the United States, and the way that we treat it as if to go or to be there is heaven to us. The way most Bahamians go to the United States and completely lose their Bahamian heritage; the speech is different, the way they act is different, and they never return, choosing to be an American citizen. She also uses imagery in the last stanza to show us what our Bahamian habits are like, mostly drinking, partying, eating, and gambling away money that is needed for bills. Although they both use imagery, they use it in different ways to evoke different feelings or idea in us. Rhetorical techniques can be seen in both the extract of Glinton-Meicholas and Twain. Imagery is used in both to help us to get a better idea of what the writer is trying to show to us. Imagery is used throughout Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven to give us a visual description of the experience of Captain Stormfield. We are able to visualize his experience of heaven; we can picture the millions of people coming to the cloud bank and millions of people leave, we can also picture what they looked like (harp, hymn-book, wings and a halo). There is also an auditory imagery in Twain’s extract, “…there was a considerable many tunes going on at once, and that was a drawback o the harmony…” and “…there was a lot of Injun tribes, and they kept up such another war whooping that they kind of took the tuck out of the music.”; this allows the audience to get a sense of the chaotic sounds that they were making. Glinton-Meicholas, uses imagery especially in the last paragraph where she describes the usual habits of most Bahamians; “rum laced revelry”, “daily Junkanoo”, “endless buffet”, and “web cafes”. She allows us to easily visualize the bad habits we have of constantly drinking, always dancing, overeating, and gambling away money that we need for bills. She also uses imagery to tell help us see that she believes Bahamians would require fast food for nourishment in order to make it through singing in the choir. Despite both the uses of imagery, they each use various other rhetorical techniques. The entire extract of Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven is an anecdote. An anecdote is when a part of the story is seen through the eyes of a character; this extract is being viewed through eyes of the character Captain Stormfield. Twain allowed us to see it through the eyes of a hardworking man who would much rather a heaven full of hard work and busy bodies, rather than a heaven of eternal rest and idleness. Twain also uses a simile to compare heaven to earth, “It’s the same here as it is on earth”. Twain meant that in heaven you have to work in order to earn anything; everything is worked for and earned, nothing is given. The only difference is that you get to decide what it is that you want to do, instead of getting stuck in a job that you don’t want to be in, “The shoemaker on earth that had the soul of a poet in him won’t have to make shoes here.” Glinton-Meicholas used transitional words to help bring her extract together. Glinton-Meicholas used words such as “although”, “Nevertheless”, “In short”, and “Assuredly”. She used these words to connect two sentences, but also make her point clear and concise. Glinton-Meicholas and Twain both tell us of a different heaven from the one we are told about in church. The heaven that we hear about is usually one of bliss, of angels singing beautifully in the choir, of peace, of no suffering, streets of gold, etc. Twain’s version has a choir that is just made up of noise and completely lacking in harmony and melody. His version is also different because is heaven includes both pain and suffering, “there’s plenty of pain here” and “There’s plenty of suffering here,”. Glinton-Meicholas, on the other hand, gives us a version of heaven that has a “US homeland Security booth at the gates of heaven”, one where there shopping malls, car dealerships, flea markets, all things sports, flat screen television, and Disney World. It also includes a choir filled with people that require fast food (burgers, chicken, fries) as nourishment in order to sing well. In addition to this, her version of heaven is not complete without various web cafes and “hourly opportunities to shake up and ‘wine down’”, without regattas for partying so hard, and without our complete Bahamian buffet. This heaven described is the perfect Bahamian heaven, which is very different from the hardworking one that Twain described. Glinton-Meicholas gives a view of heaven through a modern day Bahamian who sees heaven being as much like the United States as possible; whereas, Twain gives a view from the perspective of a captain from San Francisco around the early 1900s. Despite both topics being about heaven, they each used various techniques to get their different points across. They both gave satirical accounts of heaven that is different from the heaven discussed in church, however each account is given in a different way, and was meant for a different audience. They both used imagery, yet they both included other literary techniques, such as transitional words and anecdotes, to give either bring their extract together or to let us see from a different perspective. Their tones were different from each other; Twain’s tone being ironical, and Glinton-Meicholas’ tone being cynical. Each extract was used to expose some social ill; yet, the social ills exposed were different in each extract. A comparison of both extracts proved that they have more differences than similarities.

Works Cited
Glinton-Meicholas, Patricia. How to be a True-True Bahamian. Bahamas: Guanima Press, 1994. Print
Twain, Mark. Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven. United States of America: Harper and Brothers, 1909. Print

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