An Analysis of Jonathan Swift and Martin Luther King Jr.’s Stylistic Devices

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In a satirical essay, Swift uses Rogerian strategy along with other rhetorical tactics such as specific diction, nuclear emphasis, and multiple double meanings to effectively surface the horrific treatment of the Irish by the English aristocracy. Rogerian strategy focuses on the “open exchange of ideas directed toward mutual understanding” with emphasis on conceding certain points to gain an understanding of the opposition and in doing so gain ground rather than losing it through a hostile exchange of right and wrong (Cooper/Patton 70). Swift carefully organized his essay so the audience, the English Aristocracy, would not recognize it as satire and dismiss it right away. Swift begins with a quasi-believable tone, one of an economist…show more content…
As Swift offers his “Modest Proposal” we see how ridiculous it is to even fathom eating children but even worse making money off of it. But we still cannot characterize the essay as satirical because he has made no reference to change or exaggeration, the essential ingredients in determining if an essay is satirical. Swifts continues to employ Rogerian tactics to give the appearance of still being on the side of the English aristocracy. Swift specifically points out the fact that “the number of popish infants is at least three to one” and an advantage of his still serious proposal “will be the lessening of Papist among us” (Swift 300). Swift reduces the population from general to a specific religious affiliation and the use of the pronoun “us” still puts Swift on the English side. Now that Swift has established a mutual understanding he moves to make a suggestion. After stating his computation of nursing a beggar’s child and the amount a “gentlemen” would pay for this child he states “the squire will learn to be a good landlord, and grow popular among the tenants” (Swift 300). Swift subtly suggests up to this point the squires are not good landlords and not favored among tenants. According to the Rogerian strategy, if Swift were to come right out and say this without the use of concessions the English would have a more hostile attitude, but instead are more apt to consider his point. This marks Swift’s first attempt at bringing out a larger issue;

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