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3 pages/≈825 words
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MLA
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Literature & Language
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Essay
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English (U.S.)
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A History and Philosophy of Jokes (Essay Sample)

Instructions:
Read Jim Holt's essay titled"A History and Philosophy of Jokes"The philosophic part from his book, page 62 to 104.After studying the essay carefully,search books,internet,magazines etc.,and find a joke to analyze.In Intro paragraph define the three type major theories of jokes(Superiority,Incongruity,and Relief theories)you can find them in(Holt 81-84)The last sentence of intro you can introduce your joke and classify is as an example of one of the three types(Please make sure don't chose "Dirty"joke.In text --citation write exactly from where did you take the joke(If you take it from internet and it doesn't have author you don't need in text citation ,just mention the title).In the following paragraph include the quoted full text of the joke you chose and explain it.Which theory of jokes discussed in Holt's essay best describes the joke you chose?Why? Make at least to specific references to Holt's essay. Just a short example how to start: "There are three major theories of jokes Superiority,incongruity,and relief...after you explain them according to Holt's essay you do in text citation (Holt 81-84).Then include the quoted full text of the joke and also be specific from where did you take it in text citation.After explain the joke .for example..."This is a narrative joke which...often seen in incongruity type of joke:(past full joke)...and then explain it. MLA FORMAT IS REQUIRED; http://books(dot)google(dot)com/books?id=TGUpILsCHOIC&dq=Holt,+Jim.+Stop+Me+If+You've+Heard+This:+A+History+and+Philosophy+of+Jokes&hl=en&ei=a9LITs_gEomk8gOzvaSFAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAA source..
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A History and Philosophy of Jokes
There are many theories of humor which try to explain what humor is, the social function it serves, and what would be considered humorous or funny. It would be very hard to explain humor to a hypothetical person who doesn’t have a sense of humor already. Actually, to such a person, humor would appear to be quite weird if not outright irrational behavior. Among the existing types of theories that try to account for the existence of humor there are: psychological theories, the majority of which consider humor to be a very healthy behavior; there are spiritual theories which may, for example consider humor to be a "gift from God”; there are also other theories that consider humor to be an unexplainable mystery, so much like a mystical experience. However, there are three major theories of jokes: Superiority, incongruity and relief (Holt 81-84).
The superiority theory of humor traces back to Aristotle and Plato, and Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan. Clint tries to explain that a person laughs about misfortunes of others, because these misfortunes and shortcomings assert the person's superiority on the background of shortcomings of others. Aristotle argues that people laugh at ugly or inferior individuals, because they feel a joy at being superior to them. Very often people laugh at others because they have some defect or failing or because they find themselves at a disadvantage in a certain way or suffer a small misfortune. The miser, the drunkard and the glutton are commonly stock figures of comedy; so is the man who gets hit with a custard pie or the henpecked husband. People laugh, too, at mistakes: at schoolboy howlers, bad grammar and faulty pronunciation. These are all fairly crude instances, but it may be that even the most subtle humor is primarily a development of this, and that the pleasure we take in humor comes from our feeling of superiority over those we laugh at.
The incongruity theory states that humor is fully perceived at the moment of realization of incongruity between a concept involved in a certain situation and the real objects thought to be in some relation to the same concept. Since the major point of the theory is not the incongruity per se, but its realization and resolution i.e., putting the objects in question into the real situations,...
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