A parody is a humorous mockery of popular songs, literature, films, or even genres. Parody is often mixed with satire, which attacks the character of individuals through parody.
Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels parodied the entire genre of travelers' journals, made popular by Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. It creates absurd stories and lands, and in doing so, mocked sectarian war, the English legal and political system, and the scientists of the Royal Society.
Novels by Terry Pratchett, while based in a fantasy world, parody diverse elements of modern society, from business, to culture, to war.
A number of films mock famous films. For example, the Austin Powers movies parody the James Bond series and Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles is a parody of westerns.
The Onion is a popular fake-news newspaper, which creates absurd stories in the style of real reporting.
A fine example of literary parody is “The Modern Hiawatha”, from “The Song of Milkanwatha” by George A Strong. Strong gently mocks the repetitive literary style of Longfellow.
First, a snippet of Longfellow:
- "He had mittens, Minjekahwun,
- Magic mittens made of deer-skin;
- When upon his hands he wore them,
- He could smite the rocks asunder,
- He could grind them into powder.
- He had moccasins enchanted,
- Magic moccasins of deer-skin;
- When he bound them round his ankles,
- When upon his feet he tied them,
- At each stride a mile he measured!"
- ”He killed the noble Mujokovis,
- With the skin he made him mittens,
- Made them with the fur side inside,
- Made them with the skin side outside,
- He, to get the warm side inside,'
- Put the inside skin side outside:
- He, to get the cold side outside,
- Put the warm side fur side inside:
- That’s why he put the fur side inside,
- Why he put the skin side outside,
- Why he turned them inside outside.”