, Research Paper
Affectionately combining both the idyllic and the ironic, Sunshine Sketches
of a Little Town, is Stephen Leacock’s most beloved books.”(back of book.) Stephen
Leacock’s, Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, is a satirical novel about a town and
the people that live in it. The little town, Leacock titled, Mariposa, is a universal
town. The people in Mariposa all thought they are the perfect image until now.
Stephen Leacock unwraps the characters layer by layer, to show the reader the inside
and not the outside of the characters. Leacock put all his characters into one category
which is, as perfect as you think you are, you are not. This novel shows that humans
are not as perfect as they think they are.
Mariposa is a reflection of small towns everywhere. The town has many features
in which you can find in most areas of the world. “The inhabitants of Mariposa
represent people everywhere.” (back of book.) Whether you live in a town in Toronto
or a town in Dallas, you are still living the town life. The people of Mariposa
contemplate the town life and a small amount of country life that surrounds Lake
Wissanotti. “The narrator, Stephen Leacock, is always highlighting the human folly of
Mariposa. Nevertheless, it is in these follies that the little town of Mariposa is
recaptured.” (website*) The mistakes Leacock illustrates in his short-story books are
mistakes that other people make in real life.
No matter how perfect one may think they are, Leacock will find a flaw.
“When you meet Mr. Smith first you think he looks like an overdressed
pirate. Then you begin to think him a character.” (page 19)
This is where Leacock begins to unwrap the individual layers of the characters identity.
“You wonder at this enormous bulk. Then the utter hopelessness of knowing
what Smith is thinking by merely looking at his features gets on your mind
and make the Mona Lisa seem like an open book and the ordinary human
countenance as superficial as a puddle in the sunlight.” (page 19)
There you have Mr. Smith standing outside his bar, looking and feeling good about
who he is, meanwhile Leacock is standing on the other side of the street eyeing and
analyzing his figure.
No matter how perfect you think you are, Leacock will find your flaw, and when
he does, watch out. This is the type of novelist Leacock is; In the beginning of the
story, Leacock made the reader look at Mariposa as an angel type of town, then went
on to hook the reader on details of each individual character by using irony and
mockery. Perhaps Stephen Leacock should focus more on the main point and not get
into the minor detail. Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town mainly
focuses on the good and bad in a character and how they can change.