Satire is the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule by the writer to expose and criticize foolishness or corruption or other social evils within a society or an individual. According to Sakis work in The Schartz-Metterklume Method, humor has been used severally in the play as from the start of the play making it sound more interesting for the reader as well as influence the readers opinion regarding different themes covered in the short story and particular characters. Humor has been applied throughout the short story to help critically analyze and effectively communicate the shortcomings of the wealthy social class which has been another major theme of focus in The Schartz-Metterklume Method.
Throughout this study, different applications of humor from the book will be analyzed and this will help us understand the authors intentions regarding the critique he lays on the wealth class seen in the short story.
The first encounter we have with humor is when they arrive at Quabarl mansion, Mrs.
Quabarl explains to Lady Carlota that she has to use French a number of days in a week during meal times. This has been provided in the given text below.
French, of course, I shall expect you to talk at meal-times several days in the week.
I shall talk French four days of the week and Russian in the remaining three.
Russian? My dear Miss Hope, no one in the house speaks or understands Russian.
That will not embarrass me in the least, said Lady Carlotta coldly. (Saki, 1)
From an over view of the above quote, the response by Lady Carlotta has as sarcastic response since its meant to mock Mrs. Quabarl. The response tends to provoke her since this is a direct form of mockery. Lady Carlotta finds no need for her to use French at the meal times neither does she find the need for a different language for the family during meal time. Considering the plot of the short story, in the 1900s the application of such class was associated with the wealth where many seemed to find such practices irrelevant. This clearly explains Lady Carlottas response. A reader who clearly understands the response finds themselves laughing at Mrs. Quabarl.
As we proceed on with the story, we find multiple use of different we find the author apply different literary skills such as the application of similes to try and expound more her explanations. For instance, as seen in the quote below;
We got very satisfactory references about you from Canon Teep, she observed; a very estimable man, I should think.
Drinks like a fish and beats his wife, otherwise a very lovable character, said the governess imperturbably. (Saki, 3).
She defines Canon Teep by the use of a simile too show how much he drinks and compares him with a fish. For the reader this is hilarious since we are aware that all this is not true since Lady Carlotta is not the actual teacher. The author applies dramatic irony which makes the humor for the short story more interesting and intriguing. This also continues to build on the critic of the wealthy since in most cases and as seen from the short story so far, the Quabarl seem to be very proud and also act so much informed but in this case the tables are turned and the dramatic irony creates more humor for the reader. Not knowing who Canon Teep is, she clearly formulates a very convincing but yet funny story and as she tells it one can only imagine what is running through the minds of The Quabarl. In resect to the social class differences, we can clearly see that Lady Carlotta is enjoying her self in the process of making fun. With this happening, as the reader we tend to understand clearly the portrayal of the naive nature of the wealthy. It is evident that the application of humor not only help us understand this theme but it also plays such a significant role character development through out the short story. We get to learn both Mr. and Mr. Quabarl character and, in the process, learn more regarding Lady Carlotta.
It is evident that humor as used in the short story not only does it help in character development among other uses, nut it also helps challenge the character of the wealthy when faced in different cases. For instance, when Lady Carlotta starts teaching the children in her methods, these methods tend to confuse Mrs. Quabarl.
Early Roman history; the Sabine Women, dont you know? Its the SchartzMetterklume method to make children understand history by acting it themselves; fixes it in their memory, you know. Of course, if, thanks to your interference, your boys go through life thinking that the Sabine women ultimately escaped, I really cannot be held responsible.
You may be very clever and modern, Miss Hope, said Mrs. Quabarl firmly, but I should like you to leave here by the next train. Your luggage will be sent after you as soon as it arrives. (Saki, 6)
As seen from the example above, we still find Lady Carlotta apply exaggeration when she tells Mrs. Quabarl has interfered with the childrens history. This is an over statement that ends up making most of the readers laugh out oud. It is u to Mrs. Quabarl to now how that this can hardly happen and realize the exaggeration behind the expression. She ends up over reacting and asks Lady Carlotta to leave immediately. This humor application in this manner helps us realize she slightly over reacts and as seen in this case, this can be categorized as the weakness on the side of Mrs. Quabarl.
Conclusively, it is evident that the use of humor in the short story by Saki has helped in the critiquing of multiple themes but with a key focus on the social wealthy class within the story. The Quabarls representing the wealth class and Lady Carlotta playing such an important character in helping illuminate the different humor development in the short story.