Baxter’s Procrustes

Study Guide: Baxter’s Procrustes

Remember, for our purposes satire is defined as a technique employed by writers to expose and criticize foolishness and corruption. Chesnutt uses satire as social criticism to targets injustice and disparity in institutions of power, including government, businesses, and even individuals.

The three overarching types of satire are:

  1. Menippean satire criticizes mental attitudes and ridicules character types, such as single- minded people, such as bigots, misers, and braggarts.
  2. Horatian satire is marked by joviality and hilarity although moralizing
  3. Juvenalian is austere, harsh, and often punitive in tone


  • Which forms of satire are used in this story? Give examples using concrete examples from the text.
  • Is there a moral to the story?
  • Are there examples in the story that you feel deserve a heavier or lighter hand to instill the moral and/or point of the story?
  • Does this story use irony or sarcasm? Give examples using concrete examples from the text.
  • What is the problem with false appearances?
  • Describe The Bodleian Club.
  • Although Baxter’s constant self – deprecation of his lack of abilities is correct, what effect did this have on his peers? How was this behavior a maneuver?
  • Whose pretense was more egregious, Baxter’s or the committee’s? Explain your choice and support your answer with examples from the text.
  • Who is to blame: Baxter or the committee?


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Charles Chesnutt in the Classroom by Adrienne Johnson Gosselin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.