Satire In The Loved One

1526 Words7 Pages
Waugh’s satirical novel, The Loved One, follows the lives of Dennis Barlow, an Englishman, and Aimée Thanatogenos and Mr. Joyboy – Americans – each a mortician in his or her own regard. Through his satirical style, characterization and setting, and abrupt transitions, Waugh comments on the self-serving tendencies of humans and the drastic consequences those can have. Through the interactions of Englishmen and Americans, Waugh depicts the cultural differences between those from his home country of England and America. Finally, set against the backdrop of two cemeteries, Waugh entangles death in each character’s lives, with many encountering it or succumbing to it throughout the course of the novel. Many satirical writers take a cynical outlook…show more content…
Waugh adds acerbic words such as “appalling,” “blighter,” and “deserter” (Waugh 12) in his speech. Additionally, with the use of “native” in a derogatory connotation, and the image of the man as a carefree-slob, Waugh comments on the views many upper-class British held of the American and the social divide that existed in Hollywood. The mood created, in addition to the reader’s opinion of Abercrombie, are affected the time-period and the background of the reader. At the time the novel was published (1948), the views of the British enclave on conformity and reputation may have coincided with Abercrombie’s speech to Barlow. However, an American reader in today’s time period would find Abercrombie arrogant and dictatorial. Abercrombie, following this man’s betrayal” to the English people, immediately disowns and disavows the man, reducing his life to an expendable bother. He claims that, “Luckily the war came….[he] got himself killed….[and he] atoned” (Waugh 12). To Abercrombie, death was the only escape to his sins. The association of disreputable behavior with deadly sin illustrates another divide between English and American societies. Contrary to professional conformity, the American Dream values individuality and freedom. While converse sentiments must be held by the Americans about the Englishmen, the Englishmen view American behavior as barbaric and disrespectful, going as far as establishing a group…show more content…
Although this is normal for those recently struck with unemployment, Mr. Baumbein’s tone, one of arrogance and disrespect, demonstrates Megalopolitan Picture’s self-serving attitude; as soon as Sir Francis entered a writer’s slump, the studio terminated him, a veteran employee. For most people, the case of one’s employment is an urgent issue. When Sir Francis inquires on the state of his employment, Mr. Baumbein considers the issue trivial and asks, “How say you I give you a ring next week…” (Waugh 30). When Sir Francis asks about his replacement, Mr. Baumbein corrects Sir Francis’ pronunciation rather than addressing his question. Through the characterization of Mr. Baumbein and his dialogue with Sir Francis, Waugh comments on how, in many cases, loyalty and decorum fall second to one’s own interests. Waugh also remarks on the cutthroat nature of American industry and business, particularly, Hollywood. Finally, Waugh begins to introduce the death motif. In his narration following the conversation between the two men, Waugh uses words and phrases such as, “last hour,” “darkly,” and “come to an end” (Waugh 30), to foreshadow death in the future. In two pages, Sir Francis commits suicide. This is the first, although not last, occurrence where selfishness has drastic consequences. As a satirical author, Waugh has certain freedoms not offered in other genres of literature. He is able to caricature the characters.

More about Satire In The Loved One

Open Document