Johnathon Swift

January 10, 2017 General Studies

A Modest Proposal-Is it that Modest?.

As hunger and poverty overtook Ireland in the 1700’s, women and children took on the horrid role of begging for food. There were no solutions to the problem where hundreds of thousands were starving with no work or any means of supporting their children. That’s when this “brilliant” idea came to mind: Have children, and sell them as food. A crazy idea thought up by author Jonathan Swift in A Modest Proposal. This story is written for the reader to see through what the narrator is expressing. The narrator does not want the reader to agree that the solution to overpopulation and poverty in Ireland is to eat babies, he wants the reader to see there needs to be a practical solution. Using satire in his essay, Swift leads the readers on, by allowing them to wonder about his actual stand on the whole idea. By stating the advantages and objections to his proposal, using ironic words and phrases, he directs the reader not to see the noticeable, but the hidden. Swift’s narrative voice figuratively compares the Irish to pigs and cows, which implies the Irish are being treated inhumanly. .

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In the beginning of the essay, we read about the appalling conditions in which the Irish peasants are living. The narrator demonstrates there is a serious problem with a great need for a solution. There he then suggests a solution and then lists a number of advantages where all will prosper. His proposal of eating the Irish babies is followed by advantages such as “by the sale of their children, [the parents would] be rid of the charge of maintaining them after the first year”( ). This means that these parents will no longer have to worry about feeding, clothing, and finding income to take care of these children. In addition, selling these children for human consumption brings in a great income, enough for the wife and husband to live and take care of each other; there would be no need for the woman to go out and beg for food.


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