AP English 3
13 April 2010
A Modest Proposal
In Jonathan Swift’s essay, “A Modest Proposal,” Swift suggests that the poor should consume their own starving children during this time of great famine in Ireland. At first glance, this idea would seem absurd and even disgusting in nature. Likewise, many people would question why Swift would draw his writing to such psychotic and disturbing lengths. When times get hard in Ireland, Swift states that the children would make great meals. The key factor to Swift’s essay is that the reader must see that he is not literally ordering the poor to cannibalize. Swift acknowledges the fact of the scarcity of food and empathizes with the struggling and famished souls of Ireland through this outlandish essay. Being of high society Britain, which at the time mothered Ireland, Swift utilizes his work to place satirically much of the blame on England itself. Through his brilliant methods of explaining how children substantially reduce finances and how the country needs an economic aid during this time of crisis, the reader can comprehend the ongoing suffering in Ireland. Through his statistics and compelling reasoning, the reader seems almost persuaded to the idea that they should either eat their children or sell them on an open market to gain some wealth. By wasting the scarce food in Ireland, the people are killing themselves. Thus, Swift proposes that the children, by being consumed, could save food resources and potentially end a food famine. It is interesting to see how well Swift conveys his view towards the poor in this odd manor. Swift sees how the poor are treated by the affluent. The rich think that the impoverished are the reason for Ireland’s food problems. In fact, the entire essay is nothing more than sarcastic piece that deeply imbeds the blame upon the rich. Swift feels that the wealthy have as much or even more blame for Ireland’s food problems than the poor ever have. Swift uses his... [continues]
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