Appropriate Incongruity in Mormon Humorous Expressions
Utah State University
This thesis is an attempt to remove humorous expressions from the domain of the trivial and to assign them high scholarly seriousness. Two theoretical approaches to humor are presented: Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytical approach to wit and the unconscious, and a theory recognized as appropriate incongruity. Emphasis is placed on appropriate incongruity in order to support and advance its fundamental approach to humor theory. Although recognized as a religion, Mormonism includes an identifiable culture with an intriguing range of discernible characteristics. The joke narratives selected and examined in this study effectively articulate the perceptions of these cultural characteristics from both an interior and exterior viewpoint. Furthermore, the fictional inventiveness of humorous expressions allows the jokes to become cultural "texts," depicting and dramatizing with amazing efficiency characteristics that mark Mormon culture. The examples considered in this study were selected from the Fife Folklore Archives at Utah State University. The concluding chapter synthesizes Freudian psychoanalysis and appropriate incongruity through a consideration of the dynamics of oral performance context.