Dec 24, 2009

The Form of Parody

A parody, in contemporary usage, is a work created to mock, comment on, or poke fun at an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation.

According to Aristotle, Hegemon of Thasos was the inventor of a kind of parody; by slightly altering the wording in well-known poems he transformed the sublime into the ridiculous. In ancient Greek literature, a parodia was a narrative poem imitating the style and prosody of epics "but treating light, satirical or mock-heroic subjects"

Roman writers explained parody as an imitation of one poet by another for humorous effect. In French Neoclassical literature, parody was also a type of poem where one work imitates the style of another for humorous effect.

To compose the parody poem you start by choosing a poem as a source of inspiration. The original work may be a classic or a contemporary piece. It is best to use poetry that is well known and that you love. Ideally, you should have parts of the original committed to memory.

Study the style and tone of the original. As you learn how to write a parody poem, you also learn a greater appreciation to the poetic devices found in the original. Make note of the rhyme and meter but also look out for other patterns in the language that makes the work unique.

Read examples of other parody poetry. Note how the parody imitates but uses the language to completely transform the text.

And now, my example:

A Visit From the Computer Tech

’Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, just the optical mouse;
The cords were all strung to the PC with care
In hopes the technician soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of interwebs danced in their heads;
The wife couldn’t take any more of this crap
So she went to bed while I took a nap.
When there on the screen there arose such a clatter
I sprang from the chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the keyboard I flew like a flash,
Grabbed up the mouse and gave it a bash.
The monitor gleamed with a brilliant blue glow
Seeming to mock me as I lowly moaned, “No!”
And what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a security warning that made my eyes tear.
With an attack on my drivers, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment my computer was sick.
More rapid than eagles the popups they came,
And I whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now Trojan, now Wormy, now BankerFox vixen!
A technician’s coming, my computer he’s fixin’.
By installing protection ,a blocker, a wall!
And then he’ll delete you, delete one and all!”
And then, in a twinkling, I heard it oncemore,
A van pulling up, then a knock on the door.
I opened the door with a feeling profound,
And into the house came the tech with a bound.
He was dressed all in blue from his head to his toe
And his jacket was covered with a sprinkling of snow.
A box full of tools was grasped in his hand
And he looked like an angel, come down to land.
His eyes, they were bloodshot, his face was unshaven
From his pocket he pulled a business card graven.
He was balding and old, and I think he had fleas,
And I said to him, “Sir, this way, if you please.”
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And in a few moments pulled the plug with a jerk.
“The mother board’s fried,” he said, shaking his head.
“And the rest of your hard drive looks like it’s dead.”
Then he packed up the tower and picked up his tools
“Gotta watch these old ‘puters, they’re stubborn as mules.”
He walked to his van, my computer in hand
And I had to admit, this did not go as planned.
And I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, no more surfing to-night.”

Had I but known what the future held before I started my parody, I might have chosen The 12 Days of Christmas. Something along the lines of:

On the first day of Christmas my bad luck gave to me
a virus for my lap top PC.

Yes, that's right. My Precious is having problems again. I was halfway through writing the parody last night and started getting security pop-ups. And honestly, I have no idea where they came from this time. Anyway, I ran my spyware software and got rid of it all, but when I rebooted I had no internet connection. *sigh*

Is it just me, or does my luck with computers seem exceptionally bad?


Jamie D. said...

Ack! Poor Carol...that sucks. I can't believe it would do that to you this close to Christmas. Any chance Santa will bring you a new laptop?

In any case, the parody was great. Merry Christmas, and I hope you have far better computer luck in the new year! :-)

C R Ward said...

Thanks Jamie. If this keeps up I might just switch to a Mac! :-)