When I first started this unit, I was scared and sure how I would analyze humor. Analyzing humor is much harder than analyzing other texts because it’s more dependent on the author and not always interpreted correctly. Therefore, my SMART goal for this unit was to be able to identify and analyze humor techniques used in different writings such as plays, poems. After analyzing Confusions and the Poetry Anthology – two different type of texts – I think I’ve accomplished my goal.
There are many different types of humor such as satirical humor, dark humor, etc. There are also lots of different literary techniques that can be used in humor. The main three techniques I learned about is, playing with words, using exaggeration, and using satire. The poem “Sick” by Shel Silverstein uses a lot of exaggeration such as “[her] temperature is one-o-eight.” (line 26) Exaggeration is a great tool in humor because it plays around with what the readers think as absurd. Humor is necessary to lighten the mood, but also to convey deeper messages in a natural way. It contrasts with the serious tone when expressing darker themes. This delivers the message in a different way. For example, in the play Mother Figure, Ayckbourn conveys the theme of sexism and toxic masculinity in society.
I would like to learn more about how poetry is written and how humor is added onto poetry. Poetry seems very easy, but once you write it, poetry is much harder than it seems. Since most poems are short, the writers have to make sure that every word and punctation is placed and chosen for a reason. There is hidden meaning behind poems that most times only the authors are able to decode.
The hardest thing about humor is that it is subjective. Every has their different taste of what they think is funny and what counts as humor, so it is harder to learn and teach because we have different opinions. For example, the poems in the poem anthology were supposed to be humorous. However, I only found a few to be funny, and only felt comfortable analyzing the humor in those poems, which affected my ability to analyze all types of humor.
One of the successes I’ve had in this unit is that I’m now able to annotate poetry and plays to help my understanding of them. Attached below is a picture of my annotations for my chosen poem.
I think I am exemplary in responsibility and attitude for student as a learner. I have grown during this eLearning period and I have learned to manage my time productively at home. I have a positive attitude towards eLearning, because I appreciate this opportunity. However, I believe I can still improve by asking more questions that can benefit the class.
Overall, I enjoyed the humor unit because I learned how to analyze something subjective and got to read many humorous things in the process. I think I’m ready to move onto 10th grade English, and look forward to analyzing more challenging things next year!
Silverstein, Shel. “Sick.” English 9 Poetry Anthology, edited by Allison Marz, International School of Beijing, 2019-2020, p. 4 – p. 5.
Ayckbourn, Alan. Mother Figure.Confusions, edited by Russell Whiteley, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013, 7-19.