English (essay question)

Hi, I'm doing an assignment which requires me to choose two of Mark Twain's quotes (from a certain page) and answer the following questions:

1. What is the essential cultural observation or situation being satirized? What clues lead you to this conclusion?
2. What rhetorical strategies does the writer use to achieve this satire? List them, and explain how each is used.
3. What is the social change for which the writer might be calling? Is this change achievable? Does the writer, through satire, imply any suggestions?

Here are the two quotes I have chosen:

"History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme a lot."
(For this quote, I say throughout the three questions that Mark is saying how history will not repeat itself exactly the same as it has in the past, as the future is unpredictable and with new and different circumstances (people, places, etc.), new and different results will be obtained. I am unsure about rhetorical strategies and satire used in this sentence. Also, what I take from it, it seems as though Mark isn't exactly trying to tell anyone to change because change in this situation (I believe) is practically not possible. Past actions are prone to happen again, regardless of a numerous amount of variables as, at our core, humanity is still the same.)

"A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.”
(People wish to obtain the knowledge that classics lend as they are intelligent, literary works and are well respected in society for their refreshing (for that period of time) themes and memorable characters. However, classics can be difficult to read and comprehend material that many can grasp, making their yearn to read the book wane. So, they somehow just want to be able to say they have read it, have all the knowledge in their minds already, but not have to put in any of the work of the reading experience. Again, unsure about rhetorical and satirical elements with this quote... but Twain might be calling out on people who refuse to put in the work to gain a desirable quality. The bluntness of his true words challenges people to, in this specific example, realize that in order to obtain treasured information, they must put in the work to receive it.)

I am struggling to find how to go further into detail with these questions. I'm normally fine with this stuff, but could someone maybe help me clarify further (especially on #2), perhaps give me a couple of simple examples, or tell me if I'm on the right path with what I have already? Thanks!!

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  1. on the first: consider "rhyme" means "similar" or "parallel"

    on the second, you are on track, but often it is work. Everyone wants a salary, but fewer want the work. for classic, consider ballet, opera, symphonies... or even Jazz. We often want to attain the benefits of culture, without the dressing up that goes with it, or the time involved. Even classical education comes to my mind: A Harvard education is desirous, but an online college is so much easier.

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    bobpursley
  2. Great, thank you so much, bobpursley!:)

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