Humor and Violence in Literature and Film Analytical Essay by Nicky

An analysis of the humor and violence in American literature, film and society at large.
# 151595 | 3,409 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2012 | US

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The paper argues that the reason humor and violence work so well together despite being almost polar opposites is because they both cause stimulation and pleasure to the reader or viewer. The paper discusses satire and uses Charlie Chaplin as an example of a popular satirical movie, and then looks at how television uses humor to camouflage violence, making the violence more enjoyable to the audience. The paper looks at the works of several authors, including Charles Dickens, Alexie Sherman and Mark Twain, and considers the negative view some critics take of associating violence with humor.

From the Paper:

"Humor needs to be analyzed on a social level, in order for its effects to be exclusively beneficial. One needs to consider all of the factors involved in a situation in which he or she would involve humor. Also, they would have to make sure that such an action would not seem offensive towards others. Erica Scharrer and colleagues recognize the stimulation factor that occurs with the humor/violence combination and they are concerned about these effects: "Media effects studies have indicated that exposure to humor in an aggressive portrayal can increase an arousal response, which in turn can facilitate aggression in the viewer ...Violent media depictions with humor also tend to be perceived as less aggressive and brutal than similarly violent depictions without humor, thereby supporting a desensitization effect...There is reason for concern, therefore, when aggressive acts are presented in a humorous context in the media" (622).
"Although it is intended to refer to society and its misdemeanor, satire cannot be considered to be offensive, since there is a small probability that it will produce any resentment in people. A good example of the American society giving birth to something that is funny and enjoyable, despite its satirical character, is Charlie Chaplin."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Fisher, Marshall Jon. "Literary Lives: The Unlikely Father of Miami Crime Fiction", Atlantic Monthly 285 (2000) pp. 117-121
  • Ganter, Granville, " 'He Made Us Laugh Some': Frederick Douglass's Humor": African American Review 37 (2003) pp. 535-552.
  • King, Cynthia M. "Effects of Humorous Heroes and Villains in Violent Action Films.". Journal of Communication 50 (2000) Winter, pp. 5-24
  • Potter, W. James and Warren, Ron. "Humor as Camouflage of Televised Violence" Journal of Communication 48, (1998) pp. 40-58
  • Scharrer, Erica, Andrea Bergstrom, Angela Paradise, Qianqing Ren "Laughing to Keep from Crying: Humor and Aggression in Television Commercial Content" Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 50 (2006) pp. 615-634.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Humor and Violence in Literature and Film (2012, June 27) Retrieved March 03, 2024, from

MLA Format

"Humor and Violence in Literature and Film" 27 June 2012. Web. 03 March. 2024. <>