In Satire as Rhetorical Play, the dramatic rhetoric of satire was conceived as a character “who was the author’s persona” (Deer and Deer, 712). In this way, an author can make a direct appeal to the audience, bringing them into and out of the literature all at once. This then allows a reader’s “consciousness [to be] expanded through his sudden recognition that what he saw only from one conventional perspective can now be seen from others as well….Human experience becomes…good and evil, beautiful and ugly at once” (Deer and Deer, 720). Suddenly, morals are not set in black and white, but given shades, tints, and varying hues.
Mary Rose O’Reilley’s article, The Peaceable Classroom, in a way, addresses the above issue. She concerns herself with achieving a utopian classroom where learning takes a pacifist role. Later on, readers are told that there were, however, flaws in this peaceable classroom: “Jane [felt] ‘put down.’ Paul [had] been mocked” (O’Reilley, 108). O’Reilley realizes the lack of control she has in changing these students into pacifists. She can only hope that they cultivate a classroom built on trust – even in disagreement – so that they may learn through the various viewpoints. Her students saw, “despite their romantic illusions, the physical effects of…machine [guns and]…mustard gas” (O’Reilley, 107). They were able to see the flaws of war just as O’Reilley learned about the “idealism, honorable serves, and transcendence of self” in fighting a war. Though their viewpoints were drastically different, students and teacher came to see both the detriments and merits of war and pacifism.
Like satire, a literature classroom brings students/readers to view, honestly, the polar nature of morality in which events are not either good or bad, but both simultaneously. If taught in such a way, “[literature] allows students to re-imagine and thus to live and experience the images of the text” along with their teacher (O’Reilley, 107). This way, the peaceable classroom feels the tension of two opposites existing within a single space – a single class.