A Modest Proposal: HUMANITIES

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TOPIC: A Modest Proposal
Jonathan Swift

HUMANITIES 112

When reading A Modest Proposal, I was drawn into the opening of Swift's intention of providing a solution to the oppressed citizens of Ireland. As I continued reading, I did not have a complete understanding of satire, so I was truly surprised and became horrified by his suggestion to murder and eat children.

After some further reading and research, his manner for such graphic delivery and the contraction of this being such an immoral proposal, I understood his use of sarcasm and ridicule to shed light on his perception that England was essentially consuming the Irish young & sucking the lifeblood out of them (Sayre, p.775).

What came to be a bigger surprise to me, was how well thought out and logical he made his proposal appear. He uses examples how it will alleviate the burden of a child on the Irish parents, as they barely have the means to provide for themselves; as well as, offers the 'superior' people of England a new delicacy & a new thrifty attire. Swift also provides details why mathematically this proposal was a solution, controlling the population of the beggars, offering a means for income and lessen the deplorable state of the kingdom (Swift, 1729). A Modest Proposal was morbid and immoral, however, in terms of literature and symbolism, he was successful in delivering a message with an intense shock value to capture the audience's attention.

Surprised by his strangely plausible rationale throughout most of the reading, I found his use of satire especially evident when he proclaims, "After all, I am not so violently bent upon my own opinion, as to reject any offer, proposed by wise men, which shall be found equally innocent, cheap, easy, and effectual." Clearly this proposal is not innocent. His sarcasm runs rapid in his closing that he lacks "personal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the publick good of my...
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