12/7 – Humor in Memoir

Today we’re going to look at HUMOR. According to WIRED magazine’s 2011 article about humor,

The writer E. B. White famously remarked that “analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies.”

True, true. Too bad taht part of learning to read like a writer involves looking at the HOW and the WHY. Lucky for us the topic of humor elicits a lot of conversation! Slate had a similar article back in 2011, identifying five of the theories of humor:

  1. Superiority theory
  2. Incongruity theory
  3. Benign Violation theory
  4. Mechanical theory
  5. Release/relief theory

More recently, Fast Company released this article, outlining and giving examples of the five most common theories about humor. For silent reading today, I’m asking you to read this article, as well as the section on “mechanical theory” from the Slate article.

For today, I’m going to read you a funny excerpt from The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. Then I’m going to ask you to work in small groups to identify examples of these different humor theories at work in the text. You’ll actually TYPE your answers to save time, using a Google Form (link on Google Classroom). I’ll print these out for you to paste into your lab book.


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