A Modest Proposal: Jonathan Swift's Political Statement About Conditions of Life in 1729

1077 WordsJun 18, 20185 Pages
"A Modest Proposal” a Political Statement Mouth-watering, scrumptious, and delicious are a few words that come to mind when you think of Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal.” His satire on the conditions of life in 1729 was to draw its readers to serious discussion on the distressing matters that plagued their society. His extreme and sarcastic response to the treatment of the ever-growing poor population of Irish families, by the rich English landowners, was to bring to light a matter that they had come to accept as normal. Apparently, over time English landowners obtained ownership of Irish lands and would lease these lands back to the Irish farmers at outrageous prices. This made it nearly impossible for farming families to make ends…show more content…
Placing the poor in their minds as something of profit showed their lust for riches, outweighed their concern for their fellow man. Jonathan Swift uses satire to express that their conditions were digging them deeper as time passed. In their current condition, they may have seemed as able body men and women, but as time would pass, he said they would pine away for want of nourishment. He also says that even if they were accidently hired to common labor they would not have the strength to perform their tasks. Jonathan Swift goes on to tell of the domestic violence that was occurring within the homes of the destitute and that these conditions drove many to violence toward one and other when a pregnancy or other stressing situations arose. The title “A Modest Proposal” was not only to draw the reader but also to show their mindset and attitude toward the poor. The word modest can mean to have moral or humble views towards self or others. Therefore, the use of the word modest encompasses the main idea in an ironic way, which dealt with the rich aristocrats’ treatment of the people they ruled. This treatment was on the same level as his obviously absurd proposal. Written with the intention to spark change, the essay, uses the ironic title to make a point. Never meant as literal, but to show them the shallowness of their hearts he wrote this essay to attack the political complacency in

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