August 16, 2012
Can we decrease homelessness?
The essay “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift is a brutal satire in which he suggests that the poor families should kill their young children and eat them in order to eliminate the growing number of starving citizens. At this time there was extreme poverty and a wide gap between the poor and the rich, the tenements and the landlords. Throughout the essay Swift uses satire and irony as a way to attack the indifference between classes. Swift is not seriously suggesting cannibalism; he is trying to make known the desperate state of the lower class and the need for a social and moral reform. Although this essay was written in the 1700’s we still have the same issues of homelessness and poverty in today’s modern society.
Anna Quindlen Pulitzer Prize award winner author of “Our Tired, Our Poor, Our Kids,” states “Today the average homeless woman is younger than ever before, many have been in foster care or in shelters herself and so considers a chaotic childhood the norm” (345). Quindlen talks about the cycle of homelessness and poverty three hundred years after swifts essay. Smith goes to extreme measures to explain his new plan to raise the economic wellbeing of his country. He explains “what age is too young and what age is too old, in order to eat the
tenants children when they are at their prime juiciness. He also gives a list of suggestions on how to cook them. A young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled, and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout.” (350-352). Although he suggests to sell and cook the homeless babies. Swift is trying to point out the fact that reforms that would be practical and beneficial to the people are being overlooked for the convenience of the rich.
Melanie Scheller author of “On The Meaning Of Plumbing And Poverty,”...
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