John Swift's A Modest Proposal

1158 Words 5 Pages
In Jonathan Swift’s satirical work, A Modest Proposal, the reader is presented with a horrible concept using extremely effective language and logos; Swift uses strong speech, rational tone, and complex grammar to convince readers that eating children will solve all the problems in 19th century Ireland. Swift’s overall goals in his pamphlet, however, is not to actually encourage eating babies, which is why it is of satire, but is instead to raise awareness of Ireland’s conditions for living, failing political figures, and the tyranny brought by England.
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"
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The idea is so intense that it demonstrates the overall irony of the piece. It is also worth pointing out that this line comes late in the essay. Swift lulls the reader into a false sense of trust by beginning with descriptions of the position of the poor in Ireland. The reader may think at first that this is a serious essay, making the point all the more loud when it eventually appears. The idea itself comes from "a very knowing American," which is a small attack on the Americas and American colonies. Rhetorically, the first couple of quotes stated are the strongest in bringing attention to Ireland’s issues. It’s comical in the fact that he uses such a horrible idea to raise the red flags in the minds of the Irish people.
In an earlier paragraph Swift writes, "It is a melancholy object to those who walk through this great town, or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads, and cabin-doors crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags, ad importuning every passenger for an alms” (Swift par.1). This quote should be understood as a highlight to the poor living conditions of Ireland. The quote is interesting because Swift does two things in it; he continues building his satire, which is the world the reader will be thinking about, while nonchalantly hinting the underlining theme of poor…