Swift states in his sub-title, "For Preventing the Children of poor People in Ireland, from being a Burden to their Parents or Country; and for making them beneficial to the Public"
“We can incur no damage in disobliging England.” “First as things now stand how will they be able to find food and raiment for a hundred thousand useless mouths and backs.” By telling the people that his plan can solve Ireland's problems without hurting England and also calling Irishmen useless. Swift says these things to appeal to the citizens emotions of hatred. Swift also uses Ethos in this essay. “As to my own part, having turned my thoughts for many years, upon this important subject.” By telling the people that he has been observing what was going on in Ireland for many years it gives him credibility that he knows what he is talking about. “As I have been informed by a principal gentleman in the county of Cavan.” “I am assured by our merchant,that a boy or a girl before twelve years old is is no saleable.” In order to give himself and what he is proposing more credibility, the speaker enlist the help of other people who have either witness or are involved with what he is proposing and all of them say that the proposal has benefits.
Irony is a beautiful technique exercised to convey a message or call a certain group of people to action. This rhetorical skill is artfully used by Jonathan Swift in his pamphlet “A Modest Proposal.” The main argument for this bitingly ironic essay is to capture the attention of a disconnected and indifferent audience. Swift makes his point by stringing together a dreadfully twisted set of morally untenable positions in order to cast blame and aspersions on his intended audience. Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” employs despicably vivid satire to call for change in a world of abuse and misfortune.
When he presents his proposal in a ludicrous manner, he states that from a known friend in London, that a young child whether “stewed, roasted, baked or boiled” is the most delicious. In “The Modest Proposal” he also uses ethos in order to persuade his reader that his sources are credible. A child as an infant is said to cost more than a “boy or girl before twelve years old” because by being “assured by our merchants”, Swift proposes that being no “saleable commodity…they will not yield about three pounds.” He describes one of his acquaintances as a “true lover of his country” whose qualities he supports, was happily pleased with Swift’s proposal. Swift also makes the reader feel as if he is a man who will do anything to help and save his country.
In his argument, he presents a great appeal to pathos when he shocks his entire audience, and proposes such an outrageous proposal appalling everyone who reads his pamphlet. However, he takes his satire too far and ends up showing his lack of ethos and appeal to moralistic logic creating gaps in his argument that keep his argument from reaching its purpose and influencing the majority of his audience. Swift’s over use of sarcasm shows his lack of credibility to those parties he insults. Even though his argument is satirical, he only shows one side of logic disregarding moral logic that society enforces leading his audience to focus more on how he could even propose such an idea than how they are to help the poor. Moreover, Swift never directs his audience on what to do next about the situation of the poor and instead uses his satire to show what should not be done leaving his audience with no clue what to do next. However, Swift’s article presented a solid claim in pathos centered on his shocking satire and how to deal with the poor and used the appeal of satire to influence his readers to look into the situation and how to help the
A way that Johnathan Swift used A Modest Proposal to show pathos in the story was when he said "Their helpless infants who, as they grow up, either turn into thieves for want of work, or leave their dear native country, to fight for the Pretender of Spain, or sell themselves to the Barbados." This Shows Pathos because he is trying to make the audience feel bad for the children. This would make the audience feel bad for the children because it makes it seem as if they will end up living a bad life such as crime or will coward from their own country. As said earlier, the Irish thinks that it would be the solution to the economic problem which is to sell their own children. A better example of pathos in the story was when he said "But as to myself, having been wearied out for many years with offering vain, idle, visionary thoughts, and at length utterly despairing of success, I fortunately fell upon this proposal, which as it is wholly new, so it hath something solid and real. Of no expense and little trouble, full in our own power, and whereby we can incur no danger in England."
Swift begins his essay by describing walking down a street in Ireland. He describes how you would see, “beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags, and importuning every passenger for an alms” (Swift, Para. 1). This gives the reader a mental
A Modest Proposal is a deeply ironic and humanistic essay by what it denounces. Swift proposes that the poor of the country sell their children aged one year to those who will be able to afford this "delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food". This provocative proposition denounces the selfishness, inhumanity, and injustice of political economy: if the poor are devoured, figuratively, by politicians and the rich, as well as propose that they are also literally. Exclusion becomes ingestion. It also reveals a certain conception of the human being whose reason and common sense are doubtful.
Throughout Swift’s content, he uses rhetorical devices such as pathos, logos, and ethos. Jonathan Swift intelligently uses pathos to play a huge roll on people’s emotion in an effort to convince them of the legitimacy of his argument, “… and butchers we may be assured will not be wanting, although I rather recommend buying the children alive, and dressing them hot from the knife, as we do roasting pigs,” (689). Logos appeals to the logical thinking of the audience is introduced in support of his case. Swift gives the logical portion by using numbers to show how many unfortunate babies would meet their demise yearly, “… the hundred and twenty thousand children, already computed, twenty thousand may be reserved for breed, whereof only one fourth part to be males… one male will be sufficient to serve four Females. That the remaining hundred thousand may at a year old be offered in sale,” (689). Ethos was shown when he talked to high authority people about the situation, “Infant's flesh will be in season throughout the year, but more plentiful in March... For we are told by a grave author, an eminent French physician… there are more children born in Roman Catholic countries about nine months after Lent,”
Overall, Swift is also using irony by relating this unheard of cruelty to babies to cruelty animals. He suggests that buying children alive and “dressing them hot from the knife as we do roasting pigs” (411) is the best way to serve them. This was intended to tell the audience that the Protestants are basically treating the Catholics like animals with no regard to life. This carefully crafted technique lets the reader see how malicious the Protestants are actually being, and that they are killing Catholic babies alive by ruining any chance at a good life. Swift did not actually mean for people to go out and cook babies like pigs to get the most satisfactory, he simply meant that if you are going to treat them like pigs, you might as well eat them like pigs. If the people of Britain can’t see that through adults, maybe
Swift shows his despair from the rejection he has experienced from every caregiver or leader in his own life, just as the poor have been rejected by society, forcing them to resort to begging. He feels that something drastic will have to happen in order for things to change, otherwise the misery of being devoured by society will be upon the poor “breed for ever,” as well as himself (Swift). Perhaps this drastic change that would have to occur is already too late for Swift. Perhaps his unresolved childhood complexes are too far past that they can never be resolved, but he is still trying to resolve them through his proposal that is trying to resolve society’s large problem of poverty.
His use of diction relating to livestock as well as his cold, calculated tones and constant appeals to foreign authority mirror and comment upon the elite?s absurb rationalization for their abuse and exploition of the dredges of society. He constantly likens beggers to animals, even comparing children to ?sheep, black cattle or swine? and even speaking of them interms of ?fore and hind quarter?s. His tone is so disturbingly uninvolved and methodical that he is able to calculate exactly how many meals a baby will serve and even pictures cannibalism as a socially acceptable occurence when ?entertaining friends.? Throughout the piece Swift constantly seeks to jusify his proposal by mentioning the suggestions he has received from his influential friends in foreign countries. This illustrates that the narrator?s mind is even farther removed from the immediate crisis and famine. As people read through the passage, Swift is able to sneakily encourage people to question the authority of their elitist leadership.
As the audience continues to read The Modest Proposal, they see that maybe he isn’t joking, that he really wants to eat the babies and start a new fashion trend. To make things more believable, he states times of the year when the babies are “just right,” they’re not too “done” or “underdone.” Swift specifies that the little ones fattened up would be delicacies at banquets, christenings, or any special celebration. From the book itself, Swift states that, “The skin that is left from the infants carcasses could be used for ladies gloves and men’s boots… the carcasses can be sold for a decent price to any and all.” Many kings, queens, higher lords, and upper class take this proposal as a suitable option. Some even tended to make “breeding farms” for women to make scrumptious little darlings over and over again until their “time” of birthing was done. Did this really happen, you say? Did it even fall through and decrease poverty?
During the early 1700s in Ireland, there were countless people that lived in poverty. Families that had many children at that time were usually the families that lived in poverty. If they chose to sell those children instead of keeping them, at the end of every year they would make 8 shillings for every kid they did not keep. In time, it would have been more beneficial for the poor families to sell their children because they would be making money on them (Baker). In 1729, a man named Jonathan Swift believed that he found a way to eliminate some of that poverty and feed the rich with the same solution. To propose his theory, he wrote “A Modest Proposal.” He wanted the poor people to give up their children as necessary evil. In the essay, Jonathan Swift challenges the status quo of the time and place in which it was written by saying people should sell and eat children and believing that women should be breeders (Swift).
There only remain a hundred and twenty thousand children of poor parents who are annually born”(5). By Swift including these statistics shows that he has well thought out this plan, and Swift has done plenty of research before coming to his conclusion. Swift later gives credibility to his friend from London by saying, “a young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food”(9). All three rhetorical devices that he used were great ways to persuade the people of Ireland ,that were in poverty, that this was the best option to help them prosper.