A Modest Proposal

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There are many things that people will do to survive in the world. Desperation may cause people to do hurtful things to their family and friends. One of the most gruesome things that a parent can do is to sell their child for money. In the narrative, “A Modest Proposal,” by Jonathan Swift, he proposes something more heinous than selling one’s children for profit; his “modest” proposal is that people should sell their children as food. Although the sex trade industry makes people cringe, and child labor causes people to boycott products, Swift’s proposal is the purest form of evil. The part of the narrative in which readers realize Swift’s proposal is about cannibalism is in the ninth paragraph of “A Modest Proposal”: “I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection. I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that 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 fricasie, or a ragoust.” The fact that people would eat the children is barbaric in nature. Swift’s proposal that people should eat a child in a stew is disgusting and unreal. The statement is so monstrous, in fact, that it may lead readers to consider that no intellectual man who is so remarkable in writing and rhetoric could propose that people eat their (or others’) young.

Jonathan Swift’s unusual statements regarding the creation of an income by families in selling their children for food may lead many people who read his writing to think that he was being facetious. According to Swift in the tenth paragraph of “A Modest Proposal,” a child being the perfect meal is his attempt at showing how people are desperate at times to lose their morals and ethics: “A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends, and when the family dines alone, the...
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