The Role Of Satire In Waugh's Decline And Fall

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'LIKE POPE AND SWIFT, WAUGH DESIRES TO SHOCK PEOPLE INTO A REALISATION OF HOW FAR THEY HAD DEPARTED FROM A REASONABLE AND HUMANE STANDARD OF BEHAVIOUR' (D. J. DOOLEY).
HOW FAR IS WAUGH'S SATIRE DEPENDENT UPON THE RECOGNITION OF 'REASONABLE AND HUMANE' STANDARDS OF BEHAVIOUR? FOCUS ON ONE OR MORE NOVEL IN THIS COURSE.

Although Waugh's satire in 1928's Decline and Fall is entirely dependent upon 'the recognition of reasonable and humane standards of behaviour', Waugh is the only one to make such a 'recognition'; the characters of his novel remain totally unaware as to the extent of their own departure from the standard. This is because the standard which Waugh uses as the moral foundation from which he can satirise his characters has, Waugh believes, long since disappeared from 1920s British society. Namely, it is a standard based on the
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The most circular life described in the novel is that of the protagonist, Paul, and Waugh does this to contrast Decline and Fall with a more typical bildungsroman. Rather than undergoing a series of experiences and realisations before climaxing finally at a calling or vocation, as a character like Stephen Daedalus does in Joyce's The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Paul's story begins with the denial of a 'Vocation' (DF 15) - the chapter's title. Paul is congratulated for this deprivation, a Dean suggesting that he has been lucky to have 'discovered his unfitness for the priesthood before it is too late' (DF 11), despite his expulsion being entirely

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