October 3, 2011
Samuel S. Smarmy
Jebediah, Idaho 94532
Dear Samuel S. Smarmy,
I do apologize that it came a shock to you that part of the curriculum in our school district does include the teaching of “A Modest Proposal” by the satirical Jonathan Swift. I am however going to try and ease your worries about the story by explaining the deeper message and irony that is actually a beneficial lesson to the students here at Martin’s Groves Junior High School.
To start, it is very important for you to understand what the conditions in Ireland were in 1729 and the years prior. The Irish harvests had been so poor that that “little or nothing” remained for the farmers and families themselves after they sold the necessary amount of crops to get money to pay the ludicrous amounts of rent the English landlords were charging. The beggars were everywhere and most were accompanied by their poor starving children. Much like today in the United States, most of Ireland’s money was shipped off to foreign countries, leaving little in Ireland to be spent on Irish goods. Swift takes on the role here as an objective by standing economic planner who is completely level headed and has an easy, logical solution to pull the country out of its economic strife, much like today’s politicians. Swift was only using this completely ludicrous “anti-human” proposal to show that the Irish folk are simply reduced to nothing but animals, where the adults are “breeders” and the offspring are sold for meat. Swift is showing his extreme disdain for the way things are in Ireland and risked looking a monster himself with his “modest proposal.”
That said Mr. Smarmy although I am sure there will be a lengthy discussion regarding this at the next School Board meeting and a vote; I am going to have to say that I will be voting against the pages of “A modest Proposal” by the infamous Jonathan Swift getting “glued together.” To do so would be devaluing the education that students here at...
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