A Modest Proposal Is a Masterpiece in Disguise

Topics: Satire, Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal Pages: 1 (334 words) Published: June 12, 2012
I have heard that "A Modest Proposal" is considered one of the finest examples of satire in world literature. Written in the persona of a well-intentioned economist and published in the form of a popular pamphlet, the tract argues that the problem of poverty in Ireland can best be remedied by selling the children of the poor as food for the wealthy. This outlandish thesis is a manifestation of Swift's outrage at what he saw as the scandalous economic and political policies of the Irish and English governments, and the author uses the assumed voice of the economist, an abundance of detail, literalized metaphors, and other ironic and parodic techniques to devastating effect. Presented in the guise of an economic treatise, the essay proposes that the country ameliorate poverty in Ireland by butchering the children of the Irish poor and selling them as food to wealthy English landlords. Swift’s proposal is a savage comment on England’s legal and economic exploitation of Ireland. Overall, Jonathon Swifts A Modest Proposal is essentially an analytical essay discussing his opinions on what Great Britain should do to help Ireland, which was suffering a stifling famine at the time. It is wrong to judge this book on its contents before reading it, although the consumption of infants is a morbid and rarely discussed topic, Swift touches on it in an interesting suggestion to save Ireland from the economic crisis that was going on when this book was written. The book is incredibly short, and with the potential it showed I think it would have been totally possible to add a couple hundred pages, but I also think it was probably Swifts intention to keep it short as to avoid much judgment. With such a morbid topic, it is difficult to avoid such judgment, but Jonathon Swift does a fantastic job at keeping it consistent in its tone and he makes all of his points very clear throughout the book which turns it into a straight forward masterpiece.
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