Analysis "A Modest Proposal"

Topics: Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal, Satire Pages: 2 (637 words) Published: April 12, 2013
A Modest Proposal Analysis
In A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift is a satirical work that gives an extremely sarcastic solution to the problems that Ireland was having with poverty and overpopulation in the 1700’s. He gives a series of unrealistic and simply absurd solutions to the problem that include the harsh treatment of children. The complete title of the work is "A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People from Being a Burden to their Parents, or the Country, and for Making them Beneficial to the Public." This can kind of give you an idea on the bizarre insights that the author is going to give. His all around solution is to “fatten up” the undernourished children and selling them into a meat market where they will be sold for food, thus solving the economic and population problems in Ireland. Swift does this through a very sarcastic and brash style that was very new for the time that he wrote it. Swift’s main purpose of “A Modest Proposal” was to show the absurdity of the insensible acts that were being carried out by the Irish government. Additionally, Swift uses the absurd thesis of A Modest Proposal to attack contemporary English and Irish politics. He focuses on the metaphorical “devouring” of Ireland's resources by England's policies and by wealthy Irish landowners, literalizing the metaphor to attack the positions of both parties. At its core, his suggestion is that the English and the wealthy landowners of Ireland are causing the poverty and misery of the population. Swift's satire is by turns oblique and direct; in one instance he suggests that, while the meat of children likely could not withstand preservation in salt for long sea voyages, he “could name a country which would be glad to eat up our whole nation without it.” His allusion to England (deriving from its close proximity) also directly assaults the English misuse of Ireland. Swift does not spare Ireland, however. At one point he presents a list of alternative...
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