Swift's “a Modest Proposal�? Model 18th Century Wit and Satire Essay Example

Pages: 3 (1321 words) Published: November 28, 2010
Seeing as that we are in a country that is well on its way to being as overcrowded and poverty-ridden as Dublin, Ireland in the early 1700’s, if you had the money would you buy and consume another person’s child just for the sole purpose of eating good food? In “A Modest Proposal”, Jonathan Swift displays a model treatise of 18th century wit and satire by mocking the major problem the Irish have of overcrowding and beggars not being able to take care of their children, by suggesting that they sell the infants as meat to the wealthy people of the kingdom. This proposal is thought by many to be the one of the greatest examples of satire in the English language. It was written by Jonathan Swift in 1729 during which time Ireland was going through harsh religious and economic problems where the well off English-Protestants were inflicting abuses on the Irish, along with severe famine and over populating by the peasant people of the kingdom of Dublin. Swift broke nearly 20 years of silence and this pamphlet became one of the most well known pieces of satirical literature throughout the land. Satire is a literary manner that blends a critical attitude with humor and wit for the purpose of improving human institutions or humanity and used to inspire and encourage change. As you begin to read Swift’s proposal, you assume that he is dead serious, because he starts out by explaining the major problem that the people of Dublin are having, which is the beggars and lower end of society have a plethora of children and not being able to afford to take care of them. He says that whoever can come up with a method “of making these children sound and useful members of the commonwealth, would deserve so well of the public, as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the nation” (Swift 341). Which at the time of the writing would be a very good reward for the person coming up with the method, and after this line you assume that he is going to purpose a serious and legitimate...
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