Perhaps I am being to cynical and critical of religion, but from what literature has come to teach is just how influential it can be, but also how it is contradictory and mocked. There is no need to delve into what satire is by this point as we all have come to form our own definitions of it. So, in looking at the second image, it comes to no shock that religion must be mocked. In his poem, Alexander Pope does not try to be coy about who he is trying to make a statement about. He is straightforward and while the image is meant to mock Pope himself, it comes off more as fuel to the fire, a greater need for people to read his work in order to understand that the image is merely promoting his work. In the image there are two distinct animals presented, the rat and the donkey and the statement is quite clear that pope is disgusting and an ass[hole]. Why put this forward unless its creator was deeply offended for Pope using satire to point out the truth and flaws of both religion, society but also what is a legitimate work of literature.
The gath’ring number, as it moves along,
Involves a vast involuntary throng,
Who gently drawn, and struggling less and less,
Roll in her Vortex, and her pow’r confess.
Not those alone who passive own her laws,
But who, weak rebels, more advance her cause.
Whate’er of dunce in College or in Town
Sneers at another, in toupee or gown;
Whate’er of mungril no one class admits,
A wit with dunces, and a dunce with wits.
In the above passage, it is very obvious that no one is immune to stupidity. The last line specifically calls out anyone of both extremes of the intelligence spectrum to indicate how at the end of the day we are all at the base, human. No matter the change of scenery or schooling, everyone is the same in the sense that we are all human and not a rat or a donkey. In that phrase alone, Pope is denouncing all his critics because the way that it comes across is that at the end of the day people are going to be reading his works more often than they will be seeing an image that someone who had gotten offended and had to retaliate some way (which unlike today would be calling someone out on Twitter, they choose to spend time drawing that). Pope knew his work would thus be remembered for the nature of it being blunt and calling out people to realize their privilege and not be so self centered that their works may not be the next big thing. In doing so, he is trying to give them a reality check that not everyone can write the greatest poem, epic, play, Bible, etc. and to in a sense be open to criticism. So, people can rant all they want but in order to be an author and not someone who just writes stuff, they have to have a backbone and understand that criticism is not a personal attack but a tool to help make a work better. And if they choose to believe that it is the greatest thing on earth, then they are merely a dunce with wits.
Today’s post was brought to you by Xotchitl Garibay and the letter “S” for satire and the number “2” for the 2 cent speech that is not always needed.