Comparing the Use of Satire in the Given Stories

Comparingthe Use of Satire in the Given Stories

Godbless you Mr. Rosewater and Major Barbara’s story are two satiricalworks of literature. They have contributed to rising up great plotsand story setting in the world of literature, depicting variedcharacters and vivid descriptions of scenarios in the plays.Therefore, this paper compares Major Barbara and God bless you Mr.Rosewater.

Satireis a work of literature that uses humor, which can be in the form ofirony, ridicule and exaggeration to criticize and expose otherpeople`s vices especially in politics and other important issues inthe society.

InGod Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, the millionaire Eliot Rosewater is therich founder and leader of Rosewater Foundation, but we see himsuffering due to his love for all people. He moves to Rosewater,Indiana with all his wealth because he feels that is a bettersociety. Mr. Rosewater claims the paternity of all the children whosemothers place a claim to avoid surrendering the leadership of thefamily business(Allen).On the other hand, in the story Major Barbara, the relationshipbetween Stephen and his mother is satirical in the way she commandsand always complains to him about everything. The stage directionsand the conversation between them such as ordering him to bring her acushion, asking him to stop reading or conflicting him for beingchildish brings humor. In one occasion she enters the house andaggressively announces that Stephen is a grown man and he should takecharge of the family affairs. Satire is also seen in the actor SnobbyPrice he agrees to sins he never committed in order to appearchanged by the teachings of the Salvation Army.

There is satire in the plot of Major Barbara. First, it’s satiricalthat Andrew Undershaft decides not to leave his properties with hisson but rather to a stranger. We see a house that is not in order aseverything is going contrary to expectations. When Undershaft arrivesin Britam Arts house, he fails to recognize his own son and ratheraddresses Cian as Stephen. Satire is also found in act three whenBill Walker walks into a restaurant to claim his girlfriend only tobe told that she already joined the Salvation Army and got a newboyfriend. He breaks down in tears. However, later he finds her andeven offers to pay in order to settle their debt. The plot of thestory God Bless Mr. Rosewater is satirical because the whole story isbuilt on the sum of money which is the cause of all the conflicts inthe story. The money is used to start a non-profit organization thatis the source of conflicts between different groups of the Rosewaterfamily as they want to gain control. The humor is even more propelledby the coming of an attorney who claims that he wants to help theRosewater family from Rhodes Island to acquire the control of theorganization, but contrary to this, his motive is prove the insanityof Eliot Rosewater so that he can be granted the presidency of thefirm(Cianone).

Bothplays are staged in a rich and well off setting. The main charactersare wealthy people who are either business owners such as Undershaftin the story Major Barbara and Mr. Eliot Rosewater of the story GodBless Mr. Rosewater. Mr. Undershaft inherited from his parents whileMr. Rosewater is the president of Rosewater Foundation. The writer ondescribing Lady Britam Art’s house tells us that it’s awell-furnished house. However, it is satirical that despite theprestigious settings of these stories, the characters don’t livehappy lives and they face challenges that make their lives miserable.Mr. Undershaft was divorced by his wife because of his principlesabout running his cannon foundry. He also has problems with takinghis son as the heir of his business thus he prefers his nephewinstead. On the other hand, Mr. Rosewater in the story God Bless Mr.Rosewater is the president of the Rosewater Foundation, but he isalso faced with rivalry from every corner as people try to overthrowhim from the helm of his organization. He even falls sick and istaken to hospital as an insane person.

Bothauthors use the style of science-fiction in their work to ensure thatthey remain as narratives but with creativity. They thus are dealingon historical happenings, but they incorporate their own creativityin their works. They thus create real events and places such thatthey became like fiction. An example is the city of Indiana in thestory God Bless Mr. Rosewater, also the Slaughterhouse-five which isan indirect reflection of the Dresden bombings. The works are,therefore narrating real events in a literal way to arouse thethoughts of their readers to look at the issues affecting the societysuch as human cruelty(Tarner).


Allen,William Rodney. UnderstandingKurt Vonnegut.Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, 1991.

Cianone,Richard. Vonnegut:A Preface to his Novels.Port Washington, New York: Kenikat Press, 1977.

Tarner,Tony. Cityof Words: American Fiction 1950-1970.New York: Harper, 1971.