Arguments in Favor of Swift's Modest Proposal

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Jonathan swift, in ‘A Modest proposal’ criticizes the scandalous political and economic policies of English landlords against the oppressed Irish and proposes to eradicate this usual problem in the most unusual way. He uses satire and irony as his main tools to make his audience contemplate, how English landlords are shamelessly exploiting and oppressing the impoverished Irish through high rents and unfair laws. Swift paints a quick picture in the reader’s mind about the condition of the poor in Ireland when he writes ‘when they see the streets, the roads and cabin doors, crowded with beggars of female sex followed by three four or six children all in rags’. Across Ireland the poor children are living in misery because their families are too poor to feed and clothe them. He suggests the children of poor should be fed and fatten up and should be sold to rich Irish landlords. This will effectively combat unemployment and overpopulation relieving the families from the responsibilities of child bearing and will also provide them some extra income. This proposal will also directly contribute to the economic well-being of the nation. The author offers specific data about the weight and price of children including the number of children to be sold and thereby points at the numerous benefits due to this proposal. Swift’s intense use of satire and his presentation of statistical data and benefits make this essay very effective. The skillful irony that Swift employs throughout this essay justifies his arguments and raises the reader’s consciousness. It is the heart and soul of this essay, in fact the title for this essay is ironical itself. While reading this essay the reader cannot realize that swift’s argument to raise children for the purpose of breeding and eating is ludicrous. Comparing children to animals, he writes ‘I rather recommend buying the children alive and dressing them hot from the knife, as we do roasting pigs’. Though disturbing for...
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