Experts On Political Satire

Experts On Political Satire

Ideas for a Satire


Later in the unit you’ll write a satire on a topic of your choice.

  • Take some time to brainstorm about a satirical topic you might want to write about.

Open Notebook

Maybe you’d like to tackle one of the target groups you didn’t look at earlier: women, romantic love, parenting, or education.

The important thing with brainstorming for a more formal piece is not to worry about how much sense you’re making: try to get as many ideas out there as you can.

Political Satire Jigsaw: Round 1

Work Time

Meet with others who also annotated for the same area of satire in Swift’s novel. The idea is that you’ll learn enough from each other to become “experts” on your topic. That way you’ll have a good amount of information to share in your next group, where you alone will represent the first group and teach its findings.

Be sure to take notes, because you’ll be working solo to teach classmates in your next group. You alone have this responsibility; your group will look to you for information.

All that your class will learn today will come from students’ brains, not that of the teacher: you are in charge of your own learning. You might be surprised at how well this works!

Answer these questions as a group.

  • What does Swift have to say about your area of satire? Look back through the text and highlight any passages that you as a group think help answer the question.
  • For each example, explain what’s happening.
  • Then, interpret it: what do you think Swift’s philosophy on your area of satire was, given this text?
  • How does this philosophy fit into his view of people and government, in general, from what you’ve read?

Political Satire Jigsaw: Round 2

Work Time

Now, you’ll meet in a new group. Each of the original groups will be represented by at least one student in the new group.

You’re responsible for teaching one another all the material you learned in your last group. Feel free to use your notes! And take notes while others are presenting. If you need more information from another group member, be sure to ask!

You won’t have as much time as you did in the last group, so take about 2 minutes or so each to give the most interesting or important information from your last group.

Take turns to explain your group’s findings.

When all are done, try to synthesize what you’ve heard as a group.

  • What is Swift saying, more generally, about humankind and government?
  • What makes this a satire?

The Most Important Point


Write a response to the following prompt.

  • Other than information from your own area of expertise, what do you think is the most interesting or important point Swift is making? And which is most familiar in politics today?

Open Notebook



Do some research on your own.

  • Find some satirical video clips or articles from contemporary authors or publications, and choose one that you especially find interesting. (Make sure it is school-appropriate.) Share it for the class, with a brief explanation of your choice.
  • Be sure to look at others’ findings—at least five! It may take some time, but it should be entertaining!