Lampoon is a form of satire that is particularly biting and specific to a person or thing. Lampoon is often more than just satirizing a person or an institution; it is more of a specific attack. While satire might address general social behaviors, fashions, or groups; lampoon attacks a specific person, institution, or social construct.
The popular television show Saturday Night Live often satirizes political topics, but they lampoon specific political figures. They have performed particularly specific and biting skits about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and George W. Bush just to name a few. These skits highlight the absurdity of some of the doublespeak or hypocrisy of these politicians.
A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift is an example of satire that can be classified as lampoon. He specifically targets the wealthy British who wring their hands over the problem of overpopulation and starvation in Ireland. He suggests that they can solve the problem by purchasing Irish babies as a new delicacy for their tables. This is a particularly biting satire specific to those in high society.
In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain lampoons polite Southern society by having societal rules and norms shown in contrast to the thoughts and actions of the "uncivilized" Huck. In this excerpt, the absurdity and hypocrisy of two elderly women is revealed:
Pretty soon I wanted to smoke, and asked the widow to let me. But she wouldn't . . . Here she was a-bothering about Moses, which was no kin to her, and no use to anybody, being gone, you see, yet finding a power of fault with me for doing a thing that had some good in it. And she took snuff, too; of course that was all right, because she done it herself.
Literary Terms Examples