Comedy: Comedy is defined as, any literary work that aims to amuse by dealing with humorous, familiar situations involving ordinary people speaking every language. Comedy is presented in a number of ways and can be found in almost all literary genres. The low level of comedy is usually confined to crude, coarse jokes filled with buffoonery. Whereas higher level of comedy is usually more intellectual and is presented in a more polished manner. Comedy is often riddled with many instances of satire and irony which may or may not refer to the settings in which it is presented. It is also usually tailored to entertain a certain audience. Some of histories well-know novels were comedies, one of which is Cervantes’s Don Quixote. A comedic piece usually starts out with typically average or less than average characters in difficult but amusing situations and eventually finishes with a happy ending. Contrast this with tragedies that usually begin with privileged or noble people in close to perfect situations that primarily end in disaster. Comedy is a versatile device that may be used to lighten even the darkest of situations.
Example: Douglas Coupland’s novel JPod is littered with many instances of comedy. One of the most profound examples appears when the character Kaitlin successfully deceives her co-workers into believing she was part of a disastrous Subway diet challenge. Kaitlin creates a fake web page titled, “To Kaitlin Boyd, it was just a few pieces of cake, but to Subway, it was a violation of a sacred trust,”(Coupland 137) knowing full-well that her co-workers would Google her and discover the page. To enhance the gag, it showcased a fake article of her extreme fall from Subway fame, along with before and after pictures in which she differed by about 230 pounds. After a while (54 pages to be exact) she later disclosed to her unsuspecting co-workers that, “the whole Subway thing was a hoax”(Coupland 191) Kaitlin achieves a comedic situation by deceiving her co-workers and embarrassed them in front of each other. I chose this particular example because of its degree of complexity and. Most tricks or practical jokes don’t go to the extreme lengths that Coupland’s character has gone to in order to present humour into the situation. This combined with the degree that of humiliation is what makes the comedy so prevalent in this example.
Coupland, Douglas. JPod. Canada: Random House Canada, 2006. Print.
“Comedy.” NTC’s Dictionary of Literary Terms. Chicago: National Textbook Company, 1991. Print.
“Comedy.” A Dictionary of Literary and Thematic Terms. New York: Checkmark Books, 1999. Print.