A Modest Proposal
The satirical essay “A Modest Proposal” written and published in in 1729 by an Anglo- Irish man named Jonathan Swift, in response to the worsening conditions of Ireland, was one of his most controversial and severe writings of his time. The narrator in Swift’s essay “A Modest Proposal” argues for a drastic and radical end to poverty in Ireland. Swift’s proposal suggests that the needy, poor people of Ireland can ease their troubles simply by selling their children as food to the rich and make them useful, benefitting the public. With the use of irony, exaggeration and ridicule Swift mocks feelings and attitudes towards the poor people of Ireland and the politicians. However, with the use of satire Swift creates a …show more content…
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.
Furthermore, Swift also creates a strong argument throughout this essay, with the use of logos; appealing to logic and his use of statistics. Swift states that the “number of souls in this kingdom…of these I calculate there may be about two hundred thousand couples who wives are breeders”; furthermore proposing that an infant can be sold for “two shillings per anun” and “with eight shillings net profit the mother will also benefit and be fit for work to produce another child.” Another quote that implies the reader of his logic and reason , is when he states in these lines that an infant’s flesh can be seasoned throughout the year “with a little pepper or salt…especially in the winter.” He also states that the carcass
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysGet Access
At the time A Modest Proposal was written, Ireland was in a state of extreme poverty. The country was significantly overpopulated: people were struggling to make ends meet and provide for the growing population. The author of the text, Dr. Jonathan Swift, was repulsed by the Irish government’s reluctance to institute any major changes to help resolve the levels of poverty and overpopulation present at the time. In response, he wrote this text to criticize the upper class for this level of inaction, as well as their failed attempts at resolving the issue. Through Swift’s use of satirical devices -- such as irony, hyperbole, and understatement -- he was able to convey his message to the public which was criticism about the inadequate actions being taken by the government to solve Ireland’s troubles. He believed they weren’t doing enough to help the situation at the time and wanted them to see their defeat in hopes that they would decide to finally act.
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).
Johnathan Swift wrote Modest Proposal with the idea to better humanity.. When you first read it you miss what the true message is. You think “Man this guy is a monster!” or “He’s sick!”, but once you reach the end the true meaning of the proposal hits you. When Jonathan Swift wrote a Modest Proposal he tried to get his audience to see the problem by taking it and providing an unethical and inhumane solution then using rhetorical devices to bring out people’s emotions.
In Jonathan Swift’s satire, “A Modest Proposal”, Swift writes about the starving people of Ireland in the early 1700’s. He makes a wild and absurd proposal to help remedy the problems of overpopulation and poverty. Swift wants to make a political statement by using the “children” as satire to grasp the attention of the audience - the English people, the Irish politicians and the rich – and make them aware of the political, moral, and social problems. In “A Modest Proposal”, Swift’s arguments are presented effectively by using pathos (emotional appeal), ethos (ethics and values), and logos (logic reasoning and facts).
Johnathan Swift published a book called A Modest Proposal. A Modest Proposal is about the impoverished Irish and that they might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food for rich gentlemen and ladies. The problem in the story is their economy is failing and they don’t know how to fix it. So, they go to the idea of eating and selling children because they are running out of food.
Satire produces a distortion of reality that enlightens its readers about the unadmirable traits of society by using irony and humour (Snodgrass 406). A Modest Proposal, written by Jonathan Swift in 1729, presents a satirical proposal through an anonymous proposer. The proposal argues that in order to deal with the poverty and overpopulation in Ireland, the children of the poor should be sold as food to the wealthy. It advocates that the benefits include an increase in the income of the poor and in Ireland’s economy. Swift’s A Modest Proposal has been analyzed by various scholars many of which have analyzed Swift’s persona and his critique of Ireland’s economic conditions. However, there has been little scholarly discussion on Swift’s satirical method in the text, which uses cannibalism and dehumanization. Many scholars such as Oliver W. Ferguson’s “Swift’s Saeva Indignatio and A Modest Proposal” focus on Swift’s anger towards the social classes in Ireland; and other scholars such as Thomas Lockwood’s “Swift’s Modest Proposal: An Interpretation” focus on the role of the anonymous proposer. Rather than focusing on the effect of the proposal on the contemporary audience, these scholars choose to look at the text from Swift’s view and do not consider the audience’s reaction. An investigation into the satirical form that Swift uses will be useful to discern the impact of the proposal on the public and the message it presented. This essay will attempt to address this gap by using close reading and historical evidence to explore the text’s satire through the use of cannibalism and dehumanization. By using the satirical device of dehumanization to commodify the poor people of Ireland, Swift challenges the prevailing mercantilist theory of the population being the “nation’s riches”. The problem will be investigated with a study of the contemporary mercantilist thought, a close reading of the use of dehumanization in the text and the proposer’s tone.
"A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift is a satirical essay that is focused at exposing the dreadful life the poor citizens of Ireland had to go through. The author evidently blames the wealthy individuals for the situation.Swift, with a strategical and powerful use of rhetorical devices such as irony and appeal to emotions, effectively points out the real solution for the horrific condition of Ireland.
When one thinks of the phrase “A Modest Proposal,” does one come to think of fattening babies so they can sell as meat. In Jonathan Swift’s essay “A Modest Proposal,” Swift uses satirical writing to communicate with the reader to expose the critical situation of the poor people of Ireland. Whom besides going through a tough period of famine have to endure the overwhelming taxation rates of the English empire. The author’s proposal intends to convince the public of the incompetence of Ireland’s politicians, the lack empathy of the wealthy, the English oppression, and the inability of the Irish to mobilize themselves against this situation. Johnathan proposed an outrageous solution that the Irish folks eat their children at the age of one or sell them in the market as meet. Finally, he manifests to be open to other suggestions to help overcome the country’s crisis. The proposal was made strategically using several different parts: the text, author, audience, purpose, and setting to persuade the tax to go lower.
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
Jonathan Swift, the writer of the satirical essay A Modest Proposal, grew up and lived in Ireland during times of famine and economic struggles (Conditions). Growing up with a single mother and no father, Swift knew what hard times and struggles were like (Jonathan Swift: Biography). His essay proposes an easy solution to the economic problems going on in Ireland for both the wealthy ruling classes and the poorer classes, although his intentions and the meaning behind his words are not what would be originally thought when initially reading the essay. Through his word choices and the description of specific events of his time, Swift uses satire to grab his audience’s attention and get his own personal ideas and opinions out about all the
Swift's message to the English government in "A Modest Proposal" deals with the disgusting state of the English-Irish common people. Swift, as the narrator expresses pity for the poor and oppressed, while maintaining his social status far above them. The poor and oppressed that he refers to are Catholics, peasants, and the poor homeless men, women, and children of the kingdom. This is what Swift is trying to make the English government, in particular the Parliament aware of; the great socioeconomic distance between the increasing number of peasants and the aristocracy, and the effects thereof. Swift conveys his message in a brilliant essay, in which he uses
In ‘A Modest Proposal’ the author, Jonathan Swift utilizes techniques such as satire, sarcasm, and irony to create a bigger picture to the reader. Within the poem, Swift not only presents a humorous approach to social and economic issues but does so in a well-constructed and carefully composed manner. A closer reading of the text reveals a deeper critical analysis of the social perceptions of the poor at the time. Through Swifts’ use of irony, he creates a proposal that is so extremely absurd that some may believe the piece to be genuine. By taking an issue and providing a corrupt and merciless solution, the writer uses a unique approach to catch the attention of the people of Ireland and presents them a proposal they cannot ignore. Through the use of irony, Swift creates a poem that not only criticizes social perceptions of the poor but also remarks upon the issue without directly addressing the reader.
Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" can be said to have a satirical surprise ending, even though the reader is well prepared for it based on the tone and style of Swift's writing and any prior knowledge of the author's intentions. 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
A Modest Proposal was written in an attempt to open the people of Ireland’s eyes about the overpopulation, poverty, and young thieves on the street. Jonathan Swift, in his writing, A Modest Proposal, uses a unique way to get people’s attention on the problems at hand. Swift’s purpose is to give the people of Ireland something they cannot possibly ignore. He adopts a disappointed tone in order to make his audience feel like they did something wrong for letting this occur for such in his audience of the people of Dublin, Ireland.
In his biting political satire called ?A Modest Proposal,? Jonathan Swift seeks to create empathy for the poor through his ironic portrayal of the children of Irish beggars as commodities that can be regulated and even eaten. He is able to poke fun at the dehumanization of the multitudes of poor people in Ireland by ironically commenting on what he sees as an extension of the current situation. Swift?s essay seeks to comment on the terrible condition of starvation that a huge portion of Ireland has been forced into, and the inane rationalizations that the rich are quick to submit in order to justify the economic inequality. He is able to highlight the absurdity of these attempted