Document Type



This paper shows that a semantic theory of humor offers, despite assertions to the contrary, an adequate description of how particular instances of humor are linked to the narrative in which they appear. After Victor Raskin's script-based semantic theory of humor is summarized, and adopted as the starting point of the analysis in this paper, the humor in two short stories is described in terms of their semantic properties. In this paper, humor is said to reside not simply in jokes but in joke-like constructions, for which the term "nodal points of humor" is used. These nodes can be identified by the presence of a semantic script opposition which is evoked, either explicitly or implicitly. Moreover, the scripts tat characterize a node as humorous are the same as those that make the nodes coherent with the rest of the narrative. In the last section of this paper, generalizations are made about the pattern of script activation and reactivation in both stories.


Holcomb C. (1992). Nodal humor in comic narrative: a semantic analysis of two stories by Twain and Wodehouse. Humor: International Journal of Humor and Research, 5(3), 233-250. DOI: 10.1515/humr.1992.5.3.233

© 1992 Walter de Gruyter.