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A Modest Proposal By Jonathan Swift

633 words - 3 pages

Jonathan Swift, a writer in the 1700s, wrote an article entitled “A Modest Proposal.” In his writing, Swift proposes an idea that he believes will prevent the children of the Irish poor from becoming a burden to their parents and country. Throughout Swift’s article, he adopts an informative tone in order for his suggestion to be viewed as an actual solution to the poverty issue sweeping Ireland.
In the 1700s, English landlords taxed the Irish land resulting in countless unemployed Irish. Several traveled to America in search of work, but most were driven to poverty. In response to the increasing issue, Swift argues that by eating the children at a prime age of one, the parents of these children can sell them as a source of food, ending hunger. Appealing to the poor in Ireland, Swift argues that by following this proposal, the Irish can change their ways of living and can prevent their children from evolving ...view middle of the document...

In “A Modest Proposal,” Swift provides facts and statistics to support his idea. For example, Swift approximates the number of breeders necessary to complete the process. He states, “…I calculate there may be about 200,000 couple whose wives are breeders…” This logic not only provides information for the reader, but also creates a more scientific and dependable persona for Swift’s proposal. Through word choice such as “plump and fat,” “vermin,” and “devoured,” the reader recognizes Swift’s solution as immoral and experiences feeling of horror and grief. Many of these evoked emotions are a result from the thoughts of a man committing an action so cruel to mankind.
In the closing paragraphs of “A Modest Proposal,” Swift acknowledges that others may have numerous other ideas to solve the issue. However, he does not fairly look upon such solutions because he has such high opinion of his own idea. He continues to state that no man should share their other solutions with Swift unless they find a better way to find food and clothing for 100,000 hungry poor.
Swift presents a character of stubbornness in his writing, unable to recognize the good that can result from other problem-solving proposals. If the healthy children are all eaten at the age of one, that would cause a decline in Ireland’s population. In addition, if the healthy children are taken for food and raiment, Swift’s process would not last into the future. Once the healthy children are gone, they will be unable to provide for the remainder of the country. Even if a percentage of the children were saved solely to produce more children for Ireland, the number of child-bearing souls would not be equivalent to the number of people beginning the process.
“A Modest Proposal” presents an idea that has potential to nearly eliminate the poverty and hunger that has stricken Ireland. Swift’s intentions, though immoral, were created with motive to help and better his country. However, he has yet to solve the resulting issues of a declining population and lasting support. “A Modest Proposal” was a solution to the cause; however, it will never gain the support needed to make a difference.

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