Literary technique


Satire is a genre of literature in which a vice – for example, wickedness, stupidity, greed or corruption – is held up for general ridicule.

Satires tend to be humorous in nature. But they have a serious underlying social comment or important message to put across. Individuals, companies, society and the government are common targets for satire. Satires tend to use stock characters more than realistic, rounded characters.

McGrath does just this - creating characters who are types:

  • Lady Phosphate and Lord Crask representing the upper class
  • Andy McChuckemup representing unscrupulous Scottish business
  • Texas Jim representing foreign oil companies
  • Whitehall representing the British political establishment


Pathos is a technique used by a writer to provoke the audience’s sympathies or to appeal to their emotions.

In The Cheviot , pathos is evoked through the frequent use of haunting Gaelic song, by the recitation of historical ballads and by detached readings from primary source material.