Jonathan Swift Essay

903 words - 4 pages

A Hardly “Modest” Proposal
Jonathan Swift is regarded as one of the most famous satirical authors in history. He uses his wit, intellect and unfortunate past as tools for projecting his words in an attempt to baffle the unknowing. He achieves this by making humorous and farfetched situations that really resemble the ridiculous things people do. In “A Modest Proposal,” Swift addresses his feelings of England’s outlandish behavior towards the "less fortunate." Swift is trying to help the English people realize the double standards they pass on the Irish and on people in general. The sole purpose of “A Modest Proposal” is to let it be known that we do not treat others equally and that humans easily become desensitized and emotionless.
In “A Modest Proposal” Jonathan Swift exposes the plight of the Irish peasants and children through the use of a narrator. He (the narrator) proposes an outrageous but “fair, cheap, and easy method of making these children sound and useful members of the commonwealth…” (Swift 41). The Narrator, like many other people of his nature, is tired of seeing an overwhelming number of children, beggars and homeless people take up space. As a just solution to this problem he proposes that the children be eaten stating “that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old most delicious, nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled…” (Swift 42). Upon making this statement the reader is shocked at the audacity that the storyteller posses to even fathom an idea of this caliber. The suggested answer is all but human. It is only natural to assume that he is being ridiculous, but as the reader continues on, the narrator only seems to become more adamant about his idea. It is at this point that Swift’s satire has reached its pinnacle. One cannot help but think of how they would never consider the thought of consuming another human. However, the self indulged human characteristics come out and the reader is aware of how they treat the other people. The reader starts to analyze their own actions towards fellow man letting them become exposed for all the ways they have seemingly overlooked the poor and paid little to no attention of anyone one who is “less fortunate.” This can also translated into the way the English treat the Irish, which is what Swift is trying to convey. While this proposal may seem atrocious, the actual act of being eaten was simply a parallel to how the Irish were being treated. The English people “gobbled” them up by over taxation, over indulging and lifting their (the English people’s) standards to the point...

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