evaluation on A Modest Proposal

Topics: Poverty, A Modest Proposal, Satire Pages: 4 (969 words) Published: March 7, 2015


An Evaluation of A Modest Proposal Persuasive Techniques

Almost 300 years ago, Swift wrote the satirical essay, A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick. The title itself is a literary hook, grasping the attention of anyone concerned with the plight in Ireland, but the title does not elude of its satirical purpose. Swift uses all three modes of persuasion in his essay. While ethos and logos are used to construct a proposal of selling and using babies as a food source to solve Ireland problems; his intended message of compassion is delivered by his skillful usage of pathos.

Ethos is used throughout the essay. Swift begins by simply describing what the narrator observes in the streets of Ireland, he calls it a “great town”, [but has] “crowded beggars” (Swift). The second paragraph begins, “I think it is agreed by all parties” (Swift) further mentions that everyone wants to make the poverty stricken children useful members of society. In both points, similarities between the reader and the narrator are established and similarities are a characteristic of ethos. Another characteristic of ethos is trustworthiness. Swift gains the reader’s trust by letting them know those who support his proposal of selling and eating of babies are patriotic and have high morals, “true lover of his country, and whose virtues I highly esteem” (Swift). However, by this time, his sarcastic proposal of selling and eating babies is known. Swift also uses an “American” [and] “famous Psalmanazar” as examples of authority and lets the readers know that they also have the support of this proposal. At this time, the Irish and English viewed American as uncivilized equally Psalmanazar was proven to be a fraud thus both are men without integrity. Swift is sarcastic, with offering the two as authority, because his examples of authority shouldn’t be...


Cited: Goodman, TJ. " Week 3 Forum: Critical Evaluation Essay Discussion " Feb 16, 2015 5:19 PM. ENGL102 I021 Win 15: Forum. https://edge.apus.edu/portal/site/280892/page/810ebd17- 7880-44e4-a211-6f3b5d550e2c
Swift, Jonathan. “A Modest Proposal.” The Art Bin: Origo. n.d. Web. 11 May 2012
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