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Literary Special Effects
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Literary Special Effects




Life Journey


Ransom of
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Clichés & Idioms
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Parody Examples

Parody Activities

Parody Worksheet with Flashcard
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Literary Special Effects


Gift of
the Magi

The Bells 


Guy Wetmore


Literary Special Effects
(aka Literary Techniques)






Parody = Frequently, parodies may be a humorous, witty piece of literature or musical work exaggerating something in literature, civics, music, etc. usually imitating a well-known piece of work  (e.g., The Embarrassing Episode of Little Miss Muffet, Weird Al Yankovic, etc).

Parodies may also be sensitive like America the Beautiful  or A Soldier's Christmas.  

Parodies may also present some sort of a message like The Homeschoolers' Ode or 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.  Some parodies may humorously present their messages (See:  Politically Correct Seasons Greeting?)

Current events may also be parodied as seen in 'Twas the Night of the Capture (dealing with the capture of Saddam Hussein).

See:  Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift which satirizes Britain (some satire may be close to a parody).  


Parody = noun
Parodies = plural noun
Parodic = adjective
Parodistic = adjective
Parody = verb
Parodied = verb
Parodying = verb


Click here for Parody PDF File Worksheet


Parody Examples

See if you are able to determine what exactly is being parodied.

The Embarrassing Episode of Little
Miss Muffet

'Twas The Night
of Thanksgiving

The Twelve Days of Homeschool 

A Soldier's Christmas

America the Beautiful

Ballad of the Canal

The Auld Wife

The Hair-Tonic Bottle

Father William

'Twas The Night
of the Capture

Sea Monsters
and a Ship

Parody Activities



The Embarrassing Episode
of Little Miss Muffet
by Guy Wetmore Carryl

want more of Mr. Carryl?  Click here

Little Miss Muffet discovered a tuffet,
(Which never occurred to the rest of us)
And, as 'twas a June day, and just about noonday,
She wanted to eat like the rest of us:
Her diet was whey, and I hasten to say
It is wholesome and people grow fat on it.
The spot being lonely, the lady not only
Discovered the tuffet, but sat on it.

A rivulet gabbled beside her and babbled,
As rivulets always are thought to do,
And dragon flies sported around and cavorted,
As poets say dragon flies out to do;
When, glancing aside for a moment, she spied
A horrible sight that brought fear to her,
A hideous spider was sitting beside her,
And most unavoidably near to her!

Albeit unsightly, this creature politely
Said:  "Madam, I earnestly vow to you,
I'm penitent that I did not bring my hat.
I should otherwise certainly bow to you."
Though anxious to please, he was so ill at ease
That he lost all his sense of propriety,
And grew so inept that he clumsily stept
In her plate which is barred in Society.

This curious error completed her terror;
She shuddered, and growing much paler, not
Only left tuffet, but dealt him a buffet
Which doubled him up in a sailor knot.
It should be explained that at this he was pain
He cried:  "I have vexed you, no doubt of it!
Your fist's like a truncheon."
"You're still in my luncheon,"
Was all that she answered.  "Get out of it!"

And the Moral is this:  Be it madam or miss
To whom you have something to say,
You are only absurd when you get in the curd
But you're rude when you get in the whey.

Little Miss Muffet

Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet
Eating her curds and whey

Along came a spider
And sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away.


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'Twas The Night of Thanksgiving
Author Unknown

'Twas the night of Thanksgiving, but I just couldn't sleep.
I tried counting backwards, I tried counting sheep.
The leftovers beckoned the dark meat and white,
But I fought the temptation with all of my might.
Tossing and turning with anticipation,
The thought of a snack became infatuation.
So, I raced to the kitchen, flung open the door
And gazed at the fridge, full of goodies galore.
I gobbled up turkey and buttered potatoes,
Pickles and carrots, beans and tomatoes.
I felt myself swelling so plump and so round,
'Til all of a sudden, I rose off the ground.
I crashed through the ceiling, floating into the sky,
With a mouthful of pudding and a handful of pie.
But, I managed to yell as I soared past the trees ...
Happy eating to all, pass the cranberries, please.
May your stuffing be tasty, your turkey be plump.
Your potatoes 'n gravy have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious, your pies take the prize.
May your Thanksgiving dinner stay off of your thighs.


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The Twelve Days of Homeschool
(sung to the tune of Twelve Days of Christmas, please let me know who deserves credit for this widely circulated ditty!)

sing along !
Tune #1

Tune #2

On the first day of homeschool, my neighbor said to me...

1.  Can you homeschool legally?
2.  Are they socialized?
3.  Do you give them tests?
4.  What about PE?
5.  You are so strange.
6.  Why do you do this?
7.  How long will you homeschool?
8.  Look at what they're missing.
9.  I could never do this!
10.  They'll miss the prom!
11.  What about graduation?
12.  Can they go to college? 


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A Soldier's Christmas  
Author Unknown

'Twas the night before Christmas,
He lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house
Made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney
With presents to give,
And to see just who
In this home did live.

I looked all about,
A strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, no presents,
Not even a tree.
No stocking by mantle,
Just boots filled with sand,
On the wall hung pictures
Of far distant lands.

With medals and badges,
Awards of all kinds,
A sober thought
Came through my mind.
For this house was different,
It was dark and dreary,
I found the home of a soldier,
Once I could see clearly.

The soldier lay sleeping,
Silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor
In this one bedroom home.
The face was so gentle,
The room in such disorder,
Not how I pictured
A United States Soldier.

Was this the hero of
Whom I'd just read?
Curled up on a poncho,
The floor for a bed?
I realized the families
That I saw this night,
Owed their lives to these soldiers
Who were willing to fight.

Soon round the world,
The children would play,
And grownups would celebrate
A bright Christmas Day.
They all enjoyed freedom
Each month of the year,
Because of the soldiers,
Like the one lying here.

I couldn't help wonder
How many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas Eve
In a land far from home.
The very thought
Brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees
And started to cry.

The soldier awakened
And I heard a rough voice,
"Santa don't cry,
This life is my choice;
I fight for freedom,
I don't ask for more,
My life is for God,
My country, my corps."

The soldier rolled over
And drifted to sleep,
I couldn't control it,
I continued to weep.
I didn't want to leave
On that cold, dark, night,
This guardian of honor
So willing to fight.

Then the soldier rolled over,
With a voice soft and pure,
Whispered, "Carry on Santa,
It's Christmas Day, all is secure."
One look at my watch,
And I knew he was right.
"Merry Christmas my friend,
And to all a good night."

Think of the above parody, A Soldier's Christmas
in light of Rudyard Kipling's statement below:

God and the Soldier, we adore,
In time of danger, not before.
The danger passed and all things righted,
God is forgotten and the Soldier slighted.
                        Rudyard Kipling


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America the Beautiful
Judge Roy Moore

America the Beautiful, or so you used to be.
Land of the Pilgrims' pride; I'm glad they'll never see.
Babies piled in dumpsters, Abortion on demand,
Oh, sweet land of liberty, your house is on the sand.

Our children wander aimlessly poisoned by cocaine,
Choosing to indulge their lusts, when God has said abstain.
From sea to shining sea, our Nation turns away
From the teaching of God's love and a need to always pray.

So many worldly preachers tell lies about our Rock,
Saying God is going broke so they can fleece the flock.
We've kept God in our temples, how callous we have grown.
When earth is but His footstool, and Heaven is His throne.

We've voted in a government that's rotting at the core,
Appointing Godless Judges who throw reason out the door,
Too soft to place a killer in a well deserved tomb,
But brave enough to kill a baby before he leaves the womb.
You think that God's not angry, that our land's a moral slum?
How much longer will He wait before His judgment comes?

How are we to face our God, from Whom we cannot hide?
What then is left for us to do, but stem this evil tide?
If we who are His children, will humbly turn and pray;
Seek His holy face and mend our evil way:
Then God will hear from Heaven and forgive us of our sins,
He'll heal our sickly land and those who live within.
But, America the Beautiful, if you don't then you will see,
A sad but Holy God withdraw His hand from Thee.

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The Auld Wife
Charles S. Calverley

The auld wife sat at her ivied door,
  (Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
A thing she had frequently done before;
  And her spectacles lay on her aproned knees.

The piper he piped on the hill-top high,
  (Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
Till the cow said, "I die" and the goose asked "Why?"
  And the dog said nothing, but searched for fleas.

The farmer he strode through the square farmyard;
  (Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
His last brew of ale was a trifle hard,
  The connection of which with the plot one sees.

The farmer's daughter hath frank blue eyes,
  (Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
She hears the rooks caw in the windy skies,
  As she sits at her lattice and shells her peas.

The farmer's daughter hath ripe red lips;
  (Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
If you try to approach her, away she skips
  Over tables and chairs with apparent ease.

The farmer's daughter hath soft brown hair;
  (Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
And I met with a ballad I can't say where,
  Which wholly consisted of lines like these.

She sat with her hands 'neath her dimpled cheeks;
  (Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
And spake not a word.  While a lady speaks
  There is hope, but she didn't even sneeze.

She sat with her hands 'neath her crimson cheeks;
  (Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
She gave up mending her father's breeks,
  And let the cat roll in her best chemise.

She sat with her hands 'neath her burning cheeks
  (Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
And gazed at the piper for thirteen weeks;
  Then she followed him out o'er the misty leas.

Her sheep followed her as their tails did them
  (Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
And this song is considered a perfect gem,
  And as to the meaning, it's what you please.

*written like a folk ballad


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Ballad of the Canal
Phoebe Cary

WE were crowded in the cabin,
  Not a soul had room to sleep;
It was midnight on the waters,
  And the banks were very steep.

'Tis a fearful thing when sleeping
  To be startled by the shock,
And to hear the rattling trumpet
  Thunder, "Coming to a lock!"

So we shuddered there in silence,
  For the stoutest berth was shook,
While the wooden gates were opened
  And the mate talked with the cook.

And as thus we lay in darkness,
  Each one wishing we were there,
"We are through!" the captain shouted,
  And he sat upon a chair.

And his little daughter whispered,
  Thinking that he ought to know,
"Isn't travelling by canal-boats
  Just as safe as it is slow?"

Then he kissed the little maiden,
  And with better cheer we spoke,
And we trotted into Pittsburg,
  When the morn looked through the smoke

Parodies James T. Field's Ballad of the Tempest


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Ballad of the Tempest

James T. Fields

We were crowded in the cabin,
  Not a soul would dare to sleep,
It was midnight on the waters,
  And a storm was on the deep.

'Tis a fearful thing in winter
  To be shattered by the blast,
And to hear the rattling trumpet
  Thunder, "Cut away the mast!"

So we shuddered there in silence,
  For the stoutest held his breath,
While the hungry sea was roaring
  And the breakers talked with death.

As thus we sat in darkness
  Each one busy with his prayers,
"We are lost!" the captain shouted,
  As he staggered down the stairs.

But his little daughter whispered,
  As she took his icy hand,
"Isn't God upon the ocean,
  Just the same as on the land?"

Then we kissed the little maiden,
  And we spake in better cheer,
And we anchored safe in harbor
  When the morn was shining clear.


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The Hair-Tonic Bottle
Ben King

How dear to my heart is the old village drugstore,
  When tired and thirsty it comes to my view.
The wide-spreading sign that asks you to "Try it,"
  Vim, Vaseline, Vermifuge, Hop Bitters, too.
The rusty old stove and the cuspidor by it,
  That little back room. Oh! you've been there yourself,
And ofttimes have gone for the doctor's prescription,
  But tackled the bottle that stood on the shelf.
     The friendly old bottle,
     The plain-labeled bottle,
The "Hair-Tonic" bottle that stood on the shelf.

How oft have I seized it with hands that were glowing,
  And guzzled awhile ere I set off for home;
I owned the whole earth all that night, but next morning
  My head felt as big as the Capitol's dome.
And then how I hurried away to receive it,
  The druggist would smile o'er his poisonous pelf,
And laugh as he poured out his unlicensed bitters,
  And filled up the bottle that stood on the shelf.
     The unlicensed bottle,
     The plain-labeled bottle,
That "Hair-Tonic" bottle that stood on the shelf.

Parodies Woodworth's The Old Oaken Bucket



The Old Oaken Bucket
Samuel Woodworth

How dear to this heart are the scenes of my childhood,
When fond recollections present them to view!
The orchard, the meadow, the deep-tangled wild wood,
And every loved spot which my infancy knew;
The wide-spreading pond, and the mill which stood by it,
The bridge and the rock where the cataract fell;
The cot of my father, the dairy house nigh it,
And e'en the rude bucket which hung in the well;
The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket,
The moss-cover'd bucket, which hung in the well.

That moss-cover'd vessel I hail as a treasure;
For often, at noon, when return'd from the field,
I found it the source of an exquisite pleasure,
The purest and sweetest that Nature can yield.
How ardent I seized it, with hands that were glowing!
And quick to the white-pebbled bottom it fell;
Then soon, with the emblem of truth overflowing,
And dripping with coolness, it rose from the well;
The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket,
The moss-cover'd bucket arose from the well.

How sweet from the green mossy brim to receive it,
As poised on the curb it inclined to my lips!
Not a full blushing goblet could tempt me to leave it,
Though fill'd with the nectar that Jupiter sips.
And now, far removed from the loved situation,
The tear of regret will intrusively swell,
As fancy reverts to my father's plantation,
And sighs for the bucket which hangs in the well;
The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket,
The moss-cover'd bucket, which hangs in the well.


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Father William
Lewis Carroll

"You are old, Father William," the young man said,
   "And your hair has turned very white,
And yet you incessantly stand on your head
   Do you think at your age it is right?"
"In my youth," Father William replied to his son,
   "I feared it might injure the brain;
But now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
   Why I do it again and again."

Parodies Robert Southey's
The Old Man's Comforts and How He Gained Them

The Old Man's Comforts & How He Gained Them
Robert Southey

"You are old, Father William," the young man cried;
   "The few locks which are left you are gray;
You are hale, Father William a hearty old man; 
   Now tell me the reason, I pray."
"In the days of my youth," Father William replied;
   "I remembered that youth would fly fast,
And abused not my health and my vigor at first,
   That I never might need them at last."


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'Twas The Night of the Capture
(A poetic Christmas tribute to the 4th I.D.)

'Twas 13th December, when deep in Iraq,
The 4th I.D. had a big enemy to track.
Saddam's stockings were smelly from months on the lam,
In hopes that Dean or Kerry would soon take command.

Our soldiers were nestled in their desert humvees,
They'd been told they were hunting Iraqi V.I.Ps;
And Saddam with head lice infesting his cap,
Had just settled down for an Iraqi-type nap,

When out on the farm there arose such a clatter,
He sprang from his shack to see what was the matter.
Away to his hideout he flew in a snit,
Tore open his pants leaping into the pit.

The searchlight on the dictator now caught in our snare,
Gave the lustre of mid-day to his nasty wild hair.
When, what to our soldiers' wide eyes should appear,
But a bedraggled old dictator cowering in fear!

Beneath the dirty old beard and the lice in his mane,
They were amazed to discover that it was Saddam Hussein.
More rapid than eagles they called up old Rummy,
And he whistled, and shouted, and said, "This is yummy!"

"Now, Condi! now, Sanchez! now, Cheney and Bush!
On, TV!  on Radio!  and Free Republic!  Let's Rush!
To the top of the news!  Get this video on!
Call FNC first!  Then Dan Rather and Tom!

As a gloved doctor examined the smelly old goat,
He shoved a big wooden stick down Saddam's nasty throat,
Around the world in a flash the footage it flew,
As the French and Russians gulped, wondering what we now knew.

And then, in a twinkling, we heard from our leader
As he confirmed the capture of the despotic bottom feeder.
As he concluded his announcement, they replayed the scene,
(We heard nothing from Clark and nothing from Dean).

Saddam was covered in filth, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all greasy, with ashes and soot;
A bundle of money he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler who'd sold out to Chirac.

His eyes how they sagged!  his dimples now pits!
His forehead was covered with curious zits!
His head was examined for vermin and lice,
Shaved his face of the beard that was his disguise;

A large piece of wood was probed in his mouth,
(And we don't even know if the gloved hand went South);
He still had a fat face but had lost his round belly,
His clothes were a shambles and his feet downright smelly.

He was skinny and drawn, the lying old coward,
And I laughed when I thought of the speech made by Howard;
But the spin of the media and a liberal talking head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

Dean spoke not a word; Kerry went straight to work,
And tried to get airtime (sounds just like the jerk),
Bush kept it short, not given to prose,
And giving a nod, up the polls he rose;

He sprang back to work, to his team gave a whistle,
And to D.C. they flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, as he went on his way,
"Merry Christmas to all God Bless the USA!"


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Sea Monsters and a Ship
Ad Parody

Two sea monsters were swimming around in the ocean, looking for something to do. They came up underneath a ship that was hauling potatoes.

Bob, the first sea monster, swam underneath the ship, tipped it over and ate everything on the ship.

A little while later, they came up to another ship, again hauling potatoes. Bob again capsizes the ship and eats everything onboard.

The third ship they found was also hauling potatoes and Bob once again capsized it and ate everything.

Finally his buddy Bill asked him, "Why do you keep tipping over those ships full of potatoes and eating everything on board?"

Bob replied, "I wish I hadn't, but I just can't help myself once I start. Everyone knows you can't eat just one potato ship."


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Parody Activities:

1)  To the tune of All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth, come up with a parody for Ma and Pa wanting you to clean your room.

2)  Develop a parody for having to sit in the back seat of a car on vacation with a sticky sibling to the tune of Over There.

3)  To the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat make up a parody about doing math.

4)  Cleaning up ... dusting, vacuuming, etc. ... can become irritating especially when a younger child carefully messes up what an older sibling just tidied up!  Create a parody from this situation to the tune of Old MacDonald Had a Farm.

5)  It is NOT unusual for a parent to have to go to a child's room when, coincidentally (or on purpose?), the child is wrapping a birthday, anniversary, or Christmas present.  To the tune of  Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star prepare a parody for you and your siblings to sing to your parents!

6)  Nothing is funnier then when we see our faults and laugh at them ... when we do not take ourselves seriously.    Come up with two-to-three of your own well-known faults developing a parody to be sung to the tune of Baa Baa Blacksheep.

7)  Based on what you know and have learned so far about parodies, is the following a parody?

In simple English, what does this translate to?

A research team proceeded towards the apex of a natural protuberance, the purpose of their expedition being the procurement of a sample of a fluid hydride of oxygen in a large vessel, the exact size of which is unspecified. One member of the team precipitously descended, sustaining severe damage to the upper cranial portion of his anatomical structure; subsequently the second member of the team performed a self-rotational translation oriented in the same direction taken by the first team member."

Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water; Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill went tumbling after.



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If so, e-mail us your ideas by

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