"A Modest Proposal" as a Satirical Example for Students

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Deanna Farris
Katie Steed
English 1302 – P03
25 February 2011
“A Modest Proposal” as a Satirical Example for Students
Community College or an Ivy League school, every freshman gets to experience the joy we all know as English One. Many schools argue about what text should be analyzed in order to most effectively point out the “do’s and do not’s” of writing a paper to better prepare students for many essays to come. Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” would be a great addition to a first-year English textbook. Whether a student seeks to analyze for ethos, pathos or logos, logical fallacies or a simple Toulmin Analysis, Swift demonstrates excellent use of each.

Swift’s satirical style lends itself to Toulmin Analysis and prompts the reader to dissect his argument in order to better understand it (an important point to note when recommending for inclusion in a textbook). In doing such an exercise it is important for the reader to note that Swift has a two-part claim. Part one can be found in the second paragraph where Swift states “I think it is agreed by all parties that this prodigious number of children in the arms…of their mothers, and frequently of the fathers, is in the present deplorable state of the kingdom a very great addition grievance” (Swift para. 2). The second part of Swift’s claim comes in the fourth paragraph where he proposes that after one year, “instead of being a charge upon their parents or the parish…for the rest of their lives, [children] shall on the contrary contribute to the feeding, and partly to the clothing, of many thousands” (para. 4). While though his claim is in two parts it is still clear to the reader what he is trying to accomplish.

In providing grounds for his claim, Swift utilizes logos, pathos and ethos in order to better his writing. Connecting to the audience with emotion and giving evidence of his credibility helps the reader in understanding and accepting his claim. Utilizing emotional tactics along with...
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