When Laughter is the Solution, Not the Problem

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One of the many ways to cope is through the power of laughter. An old saying goes “Laughter is the best medicine,” useful in situations of grief and difficulties. Lately, however, laughter combines with politics and international news. While this is effective, is it right to do so? Not only do Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert pick-and-choose the stories they wish to cover in their TV shows, they choose them based on the comedic potential, blinding their viewers to the real problems the stories present. Known for her comedic approaches in literature, Margaret Atwood also uses humor in her short story “Rape Fantasies” to effectively warn her female readers about the dangers of desensitizing and underestimating the possibility of rape. The admonition worked, although it was a risky maneuver and Atwood could have used another method just as effectively to caution her female audience.

Published in 1975, right in the middle of the free love, hippie movement, Margaret Atwood’s “Rape Fantasies” evoked some extreme reactions from her readers. Some believed it to be too humorous to seriously study as a social critique, while others thought it just what society needed to wake up and consider this awful occurrence called “rape” (Tyler np). Focusing on gender studies, especially a woman’s role in the world, this story displays just how little women understand power. As a group, we consider ourselves powerful and strong; however, we do not understand exactly how powerless we are since we actually know so little about rape. For example, study the group of women in “Rape Fantasies” who eat and play bridge during their lunch break. One day Chrissy stops reading her magazine and asks if any of the group members have had a rape fantasy. ...

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...r the value of each life, the danger of not reacting to a horrific news story, the possibility that anything can happen, and the fact that nobody can be overly protective.

Works Cited

Disaster Center. “United States Crime Rates 1960-2009.” Disaster Center. Disaster Center, 2010. Web. 9 Dec 2010. http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm.

Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network. “Statistics.” Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network. Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network, 2009. Web. 9 Dec 2010. http://www.rainn.org/statistics.

Tyler, Lisa. “Rape Fantasies: ‘I Just Don’t Understand It’: Teaching Margaret Atwood’s ‘Rape Fantasies’.” Short Stories for Students. Ed. Marie Rose Napierkowski. Vol. 3. Detroit: Gale, 1998. eNotes.com. January 2006. 9 Dec 2010. http://www.enotes.com/rape-fantasies/just-dont-understand-teaching-margaret-atwoods.

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