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Pastiche vs. Parody: What's the Difference?

By Harlon Moss || Updated on May 24, 2024
"Pastiche" is a work that imitates the style of other works or genres to celebrate them, while "parody" mimics another work humorously to criticize or mock it.

Key Differences

"Pastiche" is a creative work that imitates the style or character of other works, often blending multiple influences to celebrate and pay homage to them. It is generally respectful and appreciative of the original sources. "Parody," on the other hand, humorously mimics another work to ridicule, criticize, or highlight its flaws, often exaggerating features for comic effect.
"Pastiche" often combines elements from various sources, creating a new work that reflects the admired styles and themes, usually without a critical tone. "Parody" typically focuses on a single work or style, exaggerating its characteristics to create humor or satire.
"Pastiche" is used in a wide range of artistic fields, including literature, film, and visual arts, as a form of tribute. "Parody" is also used across these fields but aims to entertain and provoke thought through humor and criticism.
"Pastiche" tends to be a positive and respectful imitation, while "parody" has a more critical and humorous intent, often pointing out the absurdities of the original work.

Comparison Chart


Work imitating the style of other works to celebrate them
Humorous imitation to criticize or mock


Respectful and appreciative
Critical and humorous


Tribute and homage
Satire and humor


Often blends multiple influences
Typically mimics a single work or style

Usage in Arts

Literature, film, visual arts
Literature, film, visual arts

Creation Method

Combines admired styles and themes
Exaggerates features for comic effect

Pastiche and Parody Definitions


A work that imitates the style of one or more other works to celebrate them.
The novel is a pastiche of 19th-century detective stories.


A humorous imitation of another work to criticize or mock it.
The movie is a parody of superhero films.


Celebratory mimicry without critical intent.
The music album is a pastiche of 1980s pop songs.


A work created to entertain through humor and satire.
The novel is a parody of the detective genre.


An artistic composition blending various styles and influences.
The film is a pastiche of classic horror and science fiction.


Comic effect achieved by exaggerating features of the original work.
The parody song mocks the lyrics and style of the hit single.


A tribute combining elements from different sources.
The play is a pastiche of Shakespearean dramas.


A satirical recreation exaggerating the original's characteristics.
The sketch show features a parody of popular TV shows.


Respectful imitation in various artistic fields.
Her painting is a pastiche of Impressionist techniques.


Mimicry aiming to highlight the flaws or absurdities of the original.
The cartoon parodies political speeches.


A dramatic, artistic, literary, or musical piece openly imitating the previous works of other artists, often with satirical intent.


A literary or artistic work that uses imitation, as of the characteristic style of an author or a work, for comic effect or ridicule.


A pasticcio of incongruous parts; a hodgepodge
"In ... a city of splendid Victorian architecture ... there is a rather pointless pastiche of Dickensian London down on the waterfront" (Economist).


A genre, as in literature, comprising such works.


A work of art, drama, literature, music, or architecture that imitates the work of a previous artist.


Something so bad as to be equivalent to intentional mockery; a travesty
The trial was a parody of justice.


A musical medley, typically quoting other works.


(Music) The practice of reworking an already established composition, especially the incorporation into the Mass of material borrowed from other works, such as motets or madrigals.


An incongruous mixture; a hodgepodge.
This supposed research paper is a pastiche of passages from unrelated sources.
The house failed to attract a buyer because the decor was a pastiche of Bohemian and Scandinavian styles.


To make a parody of.


(uncountable) A postmodern playwriting technique that fuses a variety of styles, genres, and story lines to create a new form.


A work or performance that imitates another work or performance with ridicule or irony.


To create or compose in a mixture of styles.


A popular maxim, adage, or proverb.


A musical composition consisting of a series of songs or other musical pieces from various sources


To make a parody of something.
The comedy movie parodied the entire Western genre.


A work of art that imitates the style of some previous work


A writing in which the language or sentiment of an author is mimicked; especially, a kind of literary pleasantry, in which what is written on one subject is altered, and applied to another by way of burlesque; travesty.
The lively parody which he wrote . . . on Dryden's "Hind and Panther" was received with great applause.


A popular maxim, adage, or proverb.


To write a parody upon; to burlesque.
I have translated, or rather parodied, a poem of Horace.


A composition that imitates somebody's style in a humorous way


Humorous or satirical mimicry


Make a spoof of or make fun of


Make a parody of;
The students spoofed the teachers


Is parody always humorous?

Yes, parody uses humor to critique or mock the original work.

Can a work be both a pastiche and a parody?

It is possible, but typically a work is either a respectful imitation (pastiche) or a humorous critique (parody).

What is a parody?

A parody is a humorous imitation of another work to criticize or mock it.

Can pastiche be found in literature?

Yes, pastiche is common in literature, as well as in other art forms like film and visual arts.

What is a pastiche?

A pastiche is a work that imitates the style of other works to celebrate them.

What is the tone of a parody?

The tone of a parody is humorous and often critical.

Does parody aim to entertain?

Yes, parody aims to entertain through humor and satire.

Can pastiche be critical?

No, pastiche is generally respectful and celebratory, not critical.

Does parody exaggerate features?

Yes, parody exaggerates features of the original work for comic effect.

Is pastiche used in music?

Yes, pastiche can be found in music, where it mimics and combines different styles.

What is an example of a parody in film?

An example is a comedy film that mocks the conventions of horror movies.

Is pastiche limited to a single influence?

No, pastiche often blends multiple influences and styles.

Can pastiche be original?

Yes, while pastiche imitates other styles, it creates a new and original composition.

Is pastiche used in film?

Yes, pastiche is widely used in film to pay homage to different cinematic styles.

What is the tone of a pastiche?

The tone of a pastiche is respectful and appreciative.

Is parody meant to provoke thought?

Yes, parody often aims to provoke thought through its humorous critique.

Can a parody be respectful?

While parody is generally humorous and critical, it can still show respect for the original work in a light-hearted way.

What is an example of a pastiche in literature?

An example is a novel written in the style of a classic detective story as a tribute.

Does pastiche require extensive knowledge of the original styles?

Yes, creating a pastiche often requires a deep understanding of the styles being imitated.

Does parody require understanding of the original work?

Yes, effective parody requires familiarity with the original work to accurately mimic and humorously critique it.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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