Satire Examples: 21 Options To Inspire Your Next Writing Session

Satire Examples: 21 Options To Inspire Your Next Writing Session

Have you ever laughed at a scene in a book, movie, or play and wondered why it hit you so well? Satire is a unique form of communicating, often via the written word, but it isn’t just about getting laughs.

While you’ve likely seen comedians use it in their jokes or satire used on talk shows, writers can use this form of writing to prove a point—often at another person’s expense.

Used well, this is a powerful form of communication. Comedy can break down barriers that otherwise could not be breached. If you want to communicate a truth that may not be easy for your audience to receive, satire may be a great way to approach the situation.

In this article, I discuss the definition, when to use it, and I provide many examples for your convenience. Ready to get started?

What Is Satire?

Satire is a genre unto itself, spanning the visual and performing arts as well as literature. The purpose of satire is often to teach a difficult truth or give constructive criticism, and use humor to do so. If you’ve ever found yourself laughing through a movie but walking away contemplative, you’ve likely experienced the effects of satire.

Today, the use of sarcasm could be considered a lower form of satire. Oftentimes, there is a bit of truth in every sarcastic comment. Just as we must be careful with our use of sarcasm, satire is a powerful genre that must be wielded with caution.

So, how do you know when it’s time to use this powerful form of writing? What are some questions to consider before employing satire into your next writing project?

When To Write With It?

Grammarly says to “use satire when you feel strongly about a particular situation, especially one you believe is being mishandled.” 

They go on to say that “since satire makes use of literary devices like humor, hyperbole, and irony, it is read in a less serious way than a formal complaint or manifesto.” Let’s look at the following two instances.

Use It To Write An Opinion Piece 

Let’s imagine for a moment that you are a well-known blogger. You have a good following, people respect what you have to say, and you want to share your opinion on a certain aspect of the publishing industry.

However, you want to present your opinion in a way that is received well. With so many views on publishing, this could be difficult. This is where satire could come in handy. 

Write a short story presenting your opinion, publish it to your blog, and give subscribers a good laugh while also sharing your opinion.

Use It To Share Your Perspective  

A second way to use satire is to share your perspective on a particular topic. While satire is often used to prove a point at the expense of the opposite party, it is possible to write your satire piece in a way that shares your perspective in a funny, yet pointed, manner.

Never underestimate the power of getting a laugh while also instilling a truth. Used with thoughtfulness, this genre can allow you to share your perspective in a way that can be well received. 


Here is a list of twenty-one examples of this sub-genre:

#1 – The Onion

A newspaper based on satire, The Onion provides both satirical stories and headlines, all with a focus on humor.

#2 – Hard Times, Charles Dickens

Known as one of the best of his satirical works, Dickens’ book looks at English society, economy, and social inequality. 

#3 – Catch-22, Joseph Heller

If you’ve ever used the phrase “It’s just a catch-22,” you have Joseph Heller to thank. This book takes a look at war, what it takes to serve, and how absurd it is when you look at it through the this genre. 

#4 – The Catcher In The Rye, J. D. Salinger

This 1951 work was originally published over the course of a year, and serialized, but later published as a complete novel that addresses the shallowness of society. 

#5 – The Lorax, Dr. Seuss

Leave it to a children’s book to discuss topics such as the state of the planet! 

#6 – War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

Also originally published serially, this book takes a satirical look at historical figures. Tolstoy employs satire to help him reveal the faults of others, especially well-known names.

#7 – A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

Leave it to Dickens to take a satirical form to criticizing the justice system. 

#8 – “Charles,” Shirley Jackson

If you’re a parent, this one may hit home. It’s easy to overlook our family’s issues and criticize others. Jackson reveals this truth with a satirical art.

#9 – “The Toxic Donut,” Terry Bisson

Bisson pulls back the curtain on consumerism, something most of us likely struggle with. Thankfully, the use of humor can help us take in the lesson.

#10 – “Happy Endings,” Margaret Atwood

We see you, Atwood. Fallen in love with fairy tales yet? Well, Atwood presents different aspects of life’s reality through satire. 

#11 – “Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow,” Lori Romero

The title itself makes you laugh. Just keep reading!

#12 – Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes

Seventeenth century Old Spain…add a satirical spin, and you have Don Quixote.

#13 – The House of God, Samuel Shem

A great book for medical students just starting out. Dive into the worst of situations with amazing, underlying satire. 

#14 – Animal Farm, George Orwell

An “Aesopian masterpiece,” according to Publishers Weekly, and a satirical publishing journey to back it up, this short book is well-known for a reason.

#15 – Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll 

It may have been written for kids but look deeper for a satirical take on the political and judicial landscape of Victorian England.

#16 – “Excerpts from Roughing It,” Mark Twain

The narrator of this piece takes you through his career choices and why he made them—with some necessary satire! 

#17 – “The Nose,” Nikolai Gogol

Gogol’s short story uses satire to reveal others’ vices, which is never an easy task.

#18 – A Modest Proposal, Jonathan Swift 

Swift covers the heavy topics of famine and oppression, both experienced by the Irish.

#19 – “Dragon, Dragon,” John Gardner

This short story, aimed at middle school students, uses satire to teach the importance of wisdom.

#20 – “Southpaw,” Judith Viorst

An ever more ridiculous communication chain between two friends teaches lessons about equality. 

#21 – “Us and Them,” David Sedaris 

Have you ever noticed that judgemental people show their worst side? Sedaris teaches this lesson through his essay about neighbors. 

Satire: The Old, New Communication Tactic 

Satire has been in existence since around 430 BC. Playwright Aristophanes used his storytelling talent to mock the popular convents, and leaders, of Athens. Satire is now a sub-genre of Aristophanes’ work. 

This sub-genre is a popular way to teach lessons and communicate opinions without starting arguments. If you want to work satire into your next writing project, take a few hours over the next week to really look through the above examples.

Learn what you love about satire, what you don’t love, and how to employ what you’ve learned to better communicate to your readers. Enjoy trying your hand at this genre! 

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