The Modest Proposal/ Rape of the Lock and Satire

Topics: Satire, Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal Pages: 2 (583 words) Published: September 28, 2011
In both A Modest Proposal and The Rape of The Lock irony is used to mock the social/political values of the time. In A Modest Proposal, Jonathan Swift proposes that the impoverished Irish should sell their children as food to the rich in order to help ease their economic misfortunes. As enticing as cannibalism sounds, Swift hardly wished for the slaughter of thousands of one-year-old babies. Swift’s somewhat brutal satire was created to display the blasé character of society in order to provoke a change in the way people passively sat by as the poor suffered. His piece of work brought the insensitive attitudes towards the poor to light by relaying the ridiculousness of the mindsets people had about solving the social and economic tribulations at the time. Swift pokes fun at the illogical “cure-all” solutions proposed by the privileged and those who view people as commodities. He even goes as far as to provide a list of possible preparation styles for the children, just as if they were pigs in a slaughterhouse, and the financial benefits that come with his proposition. By taking a sensitive subject that the society can relate to, Swift grabs attention. To provide his proposal with “logic” and “legitimacy”, Swift writes from a mathematically strategic standpoint. He creates numbers and feeds them to the public as if selling, killing, and eating children is economically the best move. He writes in a heartless and analytical style that further satirizes the calculating way people would view the poor in their carefully constructed projects to “fix” everything. While A Modest Proposal can arguably portray bitterness towards the insensitivity of upper society, The Rape of The Lock is a little more lighthearted, but still sardonic. Alexander Pope writes his narrative poem basically to call out the vain and petty attitudes of two people in his society. His cantos compare the trivial squabble between two people to the epic world of the gods. By placing the significance of...
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