The Dinner by Koch

TheDinner by Koch

Satireis the use of humor to demonstrate foolishness or acts of stupidityin a person. Satire enables people to view their actions in ahumorous way, which is an effective way to ensure that people act asthe audience for their own actions. In ‘The Dinner,’ Kochutilized satire to demonstrate how selfish interests were the centerof human existence especially when family was concerned. Paul wasperhaps the most selfish character who liked being the centre ofattention. The book focused on a family that had people withdifferent characteristics and the main factor that formed the storywas a crime committed by the children of the two brothers.

Paulwas presented as a sick person who drifted away from the realityoccasionally. Paul’s illness was mental, and this was a way ofdemonstrating that he was out of touch with reality. Paul was anunemployed man who had lost his job because to a mental illness (Koch89). However, as the story progresses, one gets the impression thatPaul was not necessarily mad, but he was not realistic. Pauldominated most of the conversation while at the dinner meeting andmost of his suggestions and opinions were not realistic. This broughtout his madness because his opinions were outrageous and impractical.

Anothersatirical factor was the fact that the characters met, in a publicplace to discuss a very serious crime. This may mean that the publicis often ignorant of things that happen in public. The politician wasa public figure and holding such a private conversation in publicdemonstrated that the public is often ignorant of evil things thatpublic figures do in public. The satire was that the public was blindto evil things being done by prominent people who did not even careto hide their heinous actions.

Thesatire also stands out in how Serge still remained popular after therevelations of his son’s crime. The video and photos of a young boyand his cousin killing someone was revealed, and it was in the publicdomain. Serge wanted to come out and confess of the actions, but hissister- in- law stopped him (Messud 1). The satire was in how thepublic still believed that Serge was the most suitable candidatedespite the fact that he had serious family issues to handle. Thepublic was presented as a gullible lot that was blinded by thecharisma of politicians and remained blind to their actions. Sergeand his brother, Paul, and their wives even held the discussions inpublic because they knew that the public was gullible.

Thesatire was also in how people often take people to be normal despitethe fact that they are not normal at all. As the novel started Paullooked like the nice brother who was realistic and lovable whileSerge appeared to be mean and insensitive. The novel was told fromPaul’s point of view, and the reader is tempted to believe hisviews about the restaurant and his brother. However, as the novelprogressed, Paul’s real character was revealed, and he was anabnormal person in the story while Serge was normal and realistic.The society tends to believe that a person who holds popular opinionis the correct person while in reality the person may be a problemin the society.

Inthe end, Serge was the most moral person in among the four diners ashe was aware of the moral obligation to accept that a crime had beencommitted and had consequences. Serge’s intentions for taking amoral ground may be real or selfish, but he was still the only parentwho was ready to do what was morally correct. Serge had wanted to dowhat was morally correct, despite the knowledge that he could haveintended to do it out of his selfish reasons. The other three familymembers did not take a moral ground, and this demonstrated that theywere selfish because they wanted to cover up for a crime so that theycould protect their sons (Koch 188).

Paul,Claire and Babette were the selfish parties as they were willing tocover up the actions of their sons. The three were concerned that ifSerge, publicly admitted the actions of their sons he would sabotagehis own chances of becoming prime minister (Messud 1). The threeparents were more concerned about Serge’s chance at the post ifbeing a prime minister that having justice serve its own course.Claire even hurt Serge so as to stop him from admitting the crime oftheir sons. The whole story revealed selfish interests at the expenseof the justice of a dead person.

Thefour parents were thus accessories to the crime because they werewell aware of the actions of their sons, but did not make an effortto make them face justice. The parents protected their children fromfacing the law as they were concerned about their children. Theparents knew that their children were supposed to have been arrestedfor killing someone, but they chose to cover up for them. The meetingheld was meant to devise a plan on how to protect their childreninstead of deciding to ensure that the children faced justice. Theparents were thus accessories to crimes because they were supposed tohave had the children arrested and not prevent them from facingjustice.

Thestory demonstrated that parents were capable of doing what wasmorally wrong so as to protect their children. The parents werewilling to do anything that would ensure that the children were notarrested. In fact, the three parents supported serge’s candidacy asthey knew that once elected, he would stand a good chance ofprotecting the children. The parents were willing to take any risk soas to protect their children, including discussing the matter inpublic. Claire even committed a crime so as to stop Serge frompublicly admitting that their children had committed murder (Messud2). Claire’s actions bordered madness, but it demonstrated that shewas willing to take any risk to protect the children.

Inconclusion, satire is a powerful literal device that is used to showsociety its own negative actions. The novel ‘The Dinner,’ by Kochused satire to show how the society was blind to its ownshortcomings. The society was blind to its own problems and it eventurned blind to negative actions that were not very hidden. Thesociety did not see the problems such as murders that and thenegative actions of public figures. Serge was a moral person who waswilling to put his own political career at risk so that the two boyscould face justice. However, the other people were not morallyupright, and they were committed to take any action to cover up thefact that their sons committed murder.


Koch,Herman. TheDinner. Amsterdam:Hogarth, 2009. Print.

Messud,Claire. “Nasty Bitts” TheNew York Times. NewYork: The New York Times, 2013. Web.