A Summary and Analysis of Jonathon Swift’s “a Modest Proposal”

Topics: Satire, Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal Pages: 3 (898 words) Published: April 10, 2013
“A Modest Proposal,” written by Jonathon Swift, presents a number of problems in Ireland in 1729. Swift writes to an economically depressed, famine filled, and ill Ireland in an attempt to persuade families to help solve the countries sufferings. Stating, “mothers instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood are forced to employ all their time in strolling, to beg sustenance for their helpless infants,” Swift effectively paints a picture for his audience to better understand the intensity of the situation. Strolling, or prostitution, was used widely to earn money to provide for families. Continuing to invoke emotion, Swift explains the hard-comings of the Irish people when he says, “they grow up either turn thieves for want of work, or leave their dear native Country to fight for the Pretender in Spain, or sell themselves to the Barbados.” Swift proposes that the inhabitants of Ireland should raise and sell children for a profit. The “Proposal” presents solid facts and statistics, appeals to logic of the higher and lower classes, and brings attention to the tribulations of Ireland. When Swift states that there are nearly two-hundred thousand women around child baring age, and of that number only thirty thousand can afford having children, he proposes an idea that parents of poor families should fatten up their babies, until they are one year old, and put them on the meat market to sell. The rich land owners of Ireland would buy the children and use them for delicious meals, instead of the parents having abortions, which Swift says mothers do to avoid the expense rather than the shame. Selling babies would cut expenses and help families stay together, considering most fathers are not around to help due to the financial struggle, and mothers would not have to prostitute and beg street side. Swift gives examples of how babies will be sold, priced by weight, and draws a picture for the audience describing different dishes that could be cooked stating...
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