Swift a Modest Proposal

Topics: Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal, Ireland Pages: 2 (862 words) Published: November 10, 2008
Jonathan Swift uses a satirical tone in “A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making them Beneficial to the Public.” During the time period that this piece was written in, Ireland was facing some tough times. Poverty was taking over and the government doing nothing. The Irish Parliament ignored numerous proposals which Swift made in earnest. Swift, in writing, “A Modest Proposal,” tries to shock the people of Ireland out of its lethargic state by degrading them. As if there could be any support to his absurd proposal, Swift actually provides a list of advantages. Swift wrote the pamphlet “A Modest Proposal” to try to make a changing impact on Ireland’s economical and social conditions in the late 1720’s. Swift was enraged at the passivity of the Irish people, who had become so habituated to the situation that they seemed incapable of making any effort to change it. The Irish Parliament ignored proposals such as taxation of absentee landlords, and improvement of manufactured goods, made by Swift, which he believed would begin to rectify the unfortunate state that Ireland was in. At the time this pamphlet was written, and for many years afterward, Ireland, highly dependent on England, was a country that was severely poor. Most people born there were Roman Catholics and employed as agricultural laborers or tenant farmers. The ruling class, most of whom were not born there nor did they live there permanently, were Protestants. The government was corrupt and broken; there was no social security system, and starvation was quite common. The Modest Proposal begins by describing this very real poverty of the people in Ireland. Swift describes the facts sympathetically, stating that there are an excessive number of children who can not be fed. Swift humiliates the people of Ireland throughout his proposal with a sense of hidden sarcasm. Swift expresses that the children of the poor...
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