Stephen Leacocks How to Live to be 200 and Catherine Pigotts Chicken-Hips – Essay Example

The paper "Stephen Leacock’s How to Live to be 200 and Catherine Pigott’s Chicken-Hips" is a delightful example of a literature essay. Stephen Leacock’s “How to Live to be 200” and Catherine Pigott’s “Chicken-Hips” voice their irreverence towards the fad of sculpting one’s body in acquiescence to the ever-changing ‘health mania’. While Leacock attacks the men who take themselves to the heights of nonsense in exercise and staying fit, Pigott explains how the concept of feminine beauty changes from culture to culture, hinting at the Western obsession of self-punishment by denying oneself food and peace of mind in order to stay slim. There are some striking similarities in the satirical writing of Leacock and Pigott, in the way they celebrate the freedom to eat and do what one truly likes. Leacock says, “eat what you want. Eat lots of it. Yes, eat too much of it.” And Pigot notices that “a body is not something to be sculpted and molded”. However, their approach to the topic varies to some extent. Leacock just tries to exaggerate the extent to which health-mania makes men unrealistic about their life, their habits and what they eat. But his irreverence to the so-called healthy habits makes it impossible to analyze whether some of them carry elements of scientific truth, whether one likes it or not. Thus, he ends up making fun of every health habit and suggests a chaotic lifestyle tethering on hedonism. He even suggests improbable, though extremely funny, remarks about trapping fresh air in one’s room and keeping it, or taming bacilli and treating it as a pet. However, Pigot tries to balance her views on female body prototypes in the African and Western culture. Her writing style is more realistic and just observes the way in which cultural outlooks on beauty varies. She tries to adapt herself to both cultures when she is in touch with them and shows awareness of the logic that operates behind their differences in outlook. All through their essays, Leacock maintains an irreverent tone, and Pigot maintains the analytical sensibility that characterizes the narrator. Even though both essays could cater to all kinds of readers, Leacock evokes introspection through lambast and sharp criticism while Pigot tries to be both humorous and realistic in her approach to the topic, suggesting a critical rethinking on cultural essentialism.