Paper 1 - Liz Zharovsky Comedy and Sympathy Instructor...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Liz Zharovsky Comedy and Sympathy Instructor Steven Plunkett 12 October 2011 Scarliotti: Misunderstood Wired through humans since the beginning of time, humor has given people a chance to cope with the world around them. Thomas Hobbes views comedy as “a sudden glory arising from sudden conception of some eminency in ourselves”, which provides a narrow-minded perspective on why people laugh. In Hobbes’ opinion, people only find humor in that which makes one feel superior to the subject of laughter. In Padgett Powell’s “Scarliotti and the Sinkhole”, the main character struggles to function normally in daily life as he experiences an assortment of outlandish situations. The author’s style of writing evokes an element of sympathy in the reader as Scarliotti’s character reveals his multidimensional issues. The sympathy detracts from the humor of Scarliotti’s misfortunes and generates pity. One who approaches the story as a mere source of entertainment with a surface level interpretation of Scarliotti could easily agree with Hobbes in that the reader laughs at the inferiority and hardships of Scarliotti. However, Scarliotti’s character presents himself through multiple facets, eliciting various emotions in the reader. Hobbes needs to consider these other feelings readers sense when getting acquainted with Scarliotti before claiming that people will only laugh at others’ mischances. Hobbes’ cynical assertion overestimates the comedic value of inferiority by assuming that all people would laugh at another person’s inferior status, as humor is relative, and the gradual downfall of a twisted human being like Scarliotti does not succeed in producing laughter.
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Scarliotti may seem like a laughable character, as he obviously cannot behave normally, but realistically, he is a handicapped individual struggling to come to terms with his disabilities. He tries to keep an optimistic view on life even as he feels himself slowly sinking into a sinkhole, expressing his inner struggle. Furthermore, he drinks excessive amounts of beer and “there were about a hundred pills on a tray next to him he was supposed to take but he hadn’t been…he had started throwing them out the back window” which exemplifies both Scarliotti’s denial and his coping mechanism to deal with the repercussions of the accident that left him paralyzed and brain damaged (179). The story demonstrates various other contrasts between Scarliotti’s fantasies and his unfortunate reality due to the accident. He suffers from the judgment of others as he talks about his hair and “he hoped nothing had fallen out of the bad side” (188). His head represents the two sides of him, the pre-accident Scarliotti and the post-accident
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Page1 / 6

Paper 1 - Liz Zharovsky Comedy and Sympathy Instructor...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online