Modest Proposal

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Alex Avrakotos
P.5
“A Modest Proposal”
Satire

“A Modest Proposal,” is designed to ridicule the harsh treatment bestowed upon the Irish by the English Protestants. Jonathan Swift in “A Modest Proposal” satirically shifts by calling attention to abuses inflicted on Irish Catholics by well-to-do English Protestants to the terrible plight the Irish experienced embodying the injustices of the Irish’s ordeal. Jonathan Swift applies satire throughout “Modest Proposal” to ridicule English Protestants appalling treatment towards the Irish. Swifts tone overall is Juvenalian satire which is a harsh, bitter satire that indicates the corruption of human beings and society. The speech in "A Modest Proposal" is centered on irony and sarcasm, in which a writer or speaker says the opposite of what he means. Swift explains that the Irish deserve better treatment from the English; through satire he continuously mocks the English. For example, to point out that the Irish should not be treated like animals, Swift compares them to animals, as in this example: "I rather recommend buying the children alive, and dressing them hot from the knife, as we do roasting pigs." Also, to point out that disease, famine, and substandard living conditions threaten to kill great numbers of Irish, Swift cheers their predicament as a positive development. The title, "A Modest Proposal”, and the whole essay is an understatement because Swift explains “for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public,” is to eat children. Swift wants the reader to believe he is going to present him/her with a modest proposal to deal with Ireland's problems of famine, poverty and overpopulation.   This is ironic in itself because Swifts scheme to sell and eat surplus children is not modest at all nor is it a rational solution to Irelands problems. Swift states children nowadays either grow up to be thieves or...
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