Black humor is a literary device utilized in novels and performs to discuss taboo subjects whilst including an detail of comedy. Cambridge dictionary defines it as a non-severe way of treating or managing serious topics. It is frequently used to give any serious, gruesome or painful incidents lightly. The writers use it as a tool to explore extreme issues, inciting critical thoughts and soreness within the target market.
In literature, this time period is frequently related to tragedies and is from time to time equated with tragic farce. In this sense, it makes the critical incident or event bit lighter in intensity. Although it is frequently inserted to set off laughter, it plays a widespread role in advancing the motion of the play or novel. Etymologically, black humor is a word of two phrases black and humor. The meanings are clean that it is a humorous way of treating something that is severe. It is also referred to as black comedy, dark comedy or gallows humor.
Examples of Black Humor from Literature
“Billy is spastic in time, has no manage over where he is going next, and the trips aren’t necessarily fun. He is in a constant state of level fright, he says, because he by no means knows what part of his existence he goes to need to act in next.”
(Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five, Chapter 2)
These strains are taken from the second Two of Slaughterhouse-Five with the aid of Kurt Vonnegut. The author explains that the protagonist of the novel, Billy Pilgrim never had manipulate over his lifestyles. He illustrates the conflict-torn mentality of Billy that has disturbed the ordinary tempo of his life. Billy thinks that he has already visited all the activities of his lifestyles. His planetary moves and theories about existence and dying have left a profound impact on his actual lifestyles. This description proves black humor as it contributes to the novel’s anti-conflict message.
“They’re looking to kill me,” Yossarian informed him calmly.
No one’s seeking to kill you,” Clevinger cried.
Then why are they capturing at me?” Yossarian asked.
They’re shooting at everyone,” Clevinger answered. “They’re seeking to kill everyone.”
And what difference does that make?”
(Catch-22 by using Joseph Heller, Chapter- 22)
These strains occur in chapter twenty- of Catch-22 by means of Joseph Heller. The protagonist, Yossarian, is expressing his fears to his friend. Yossarian thinks that everyone intends to kill him, whilst Clevenger takes it in a very light manner, implying loss of life is something ordinary on the battle-front. To him, demise is an accepted reality at some stage in wars, so it should no longer be taken seriously. Therefore, he shows that they are now not particularly seeking to kill Yossarian however everyone. This is a kind of humor for the readers when the tragedies end up too heavy for them.
“Since she occurred to be clutching the lengthy broom, she tried to tickle him from the door manner. This had no effect, and so she grew irritated and started poking Gregor. It became simplest upon shoving him from his place however meeting no resistance that she became alert. When the actual state of affairs now dawned at the charwomen, her eyes bulged with amazement and she or he whistled to herself. But in preference to dawdling there, she yanked the bed room door open and hollered into the darkness; “Go and appearance it’s croaked; it’s lying there virtually crooked.”
(The Metamorphosis through Franz Kafka)
These lines arise closer to the quit of the text, Metamorphosis through Franz Kafka. These traces display the mindset of the woman hired via the own family to smooth Gregor’s room. After the gruesome incident, the loss of life of Gregor. Here the word “crooked” refers to Gregor’s dying, which provides the element of black humor in the situation. The depressing plight of Gregor is narrated absurdly. Ironically, his demise affords solace to his family and also illustrates that his metamorphosis became a need to to adjust the situations of his own family. This incident affords black humor as it provides the target market to look the way the loss of life of a member of the family has been described as if he is honestly an insect.
We’re awaiting Godot.”
(Waiting for Godot by means of Samuel Becket, Act- I Scene-II, Lines 91-94)
This is another example of black humor from the play, Waiting for Godot with the aid of Samuel Becket. There are characters within the scene. They are speaking about the Godot, whom they are anticipating. These lines show that this wait in no way permits them to move for impartial choices. Vladimir is so promising that he does not need to move until he meets Godot. This black humor shows the target market a danger to see their sufferings with a wry smile on their faces.
Functions of Black Humour
Black humor is a type of hiatus or pause for the target audience after a heavy dose of tragic or critical incidents and similar to comedian relief. It additionally gives them a risk to experience laughter and discomfort at the identical time. As black humor means to stop the tragic seriousness of the previous scenes or incidents, it frequently makes the same concern or topic or incident a bit lighter than it's miles. For example, it can be the discussion about the loss of life as in Catch-22, or silliness of the very critical scenario wherein the fate of human beings is in someone’s hand but it's miles made a commonplace absurd state of affairs which include in Waiting for Godot.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw