Analyzing Jonathan Swift's 'A Modest Proposal': A Satirical Surprise Ending

812 Words Feb 1st, 2018 3 Pages
Swift's final solution to the problem of overpopulation is for the poor to sell their children as food for the rich. He introduces this proposition quite early into the document "A Modest Proposal," which is why the ending is not so much as a surprise as it is an intriguing rhetorical argument. The reason why the ending might seem surprising is that it seems as if Swift may indeed be presenting a realistic argument of what can be done about overpopulation, in spite of all evidence to the contrary. A reader not used to inferring messages based on tone or style might be forgiven to misread the beginning of Swift's document. For example, a person who has never heard a sarcastic tone could very well believe that Swift was being serious; in which case the reader would continue to view Swift's proposal as reasonable and either consider him a monster or a genius. Generally, Swift uses the surprise ending to alert the readers to the absurdity of the original problem that reveals social injustices and inequities. One of the biggest surprises in Swift's document is when he states, "I can think of no one objection, that will possibly be raised against this proposal, unless it should be urged, that the number of people will be thereby much lessened in the…
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