A Modest Proposal By Jonathan Swift

920 Words4 Pages
Jacarra Knowles
December 7, 2017
Ap Lang, Period 2
USS Stargazer
“A Modest Proposal” Essay What do the American Revolution, Civil Rights Movement, and Women’s Suffrage Movement all have in common? They all showed that actions inspire change. Jonathan Swift’s, “A Modest Proposal” was written for the people of Ireland in order to inspire change against the way the government was treating them. Swift’s proposal is extremely effective due to his use of language and the way that he presents his argument. His essay was in a sense the spark that lit the people’s fire. A wide discussion throughout the essay is the poor people in Ireland and their treatment. At first glance, it may seem as if Swift is just a wealthier man who misguided view of the poor, but he is actually shedding light on the horrible treatment of the poor by rich people. In the first paragraph of the essay, Swift talks about how it is sad for people walking through Dublin to have to look at the poor. Instead of Swift worrying about the beggars, he chooses to worry about the people who have to look at them. His tone during this part is as if he is disgusted by the beggars. Swift is showing how the rich only care about themselves and see the poor as an inconvenience. Throughout the essay, Swift also refers to the homeless women with animalistic terms. One invective that he uses is when he calls the women “breeders”. This takes away from the women’s humanity and relates them to livestock. The wealthy people of Ireland viewed the poor as below them and saw their way of life of as uncivilized or animalistic. At one point during the essay, there is a point where Swift sort of sympathizes with the poor by using a double entendre of sorts. When first discussing his proposal, he writes “I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title for the children” (2.7). His use of the word devour is intentional because it has to do with the topic of his essay, eating children. This word is also a metaphor for how the rich devour the poor by ruining them and taking away all that they have. The main idea of Swift’s proposal is for the some of

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