Naked Lunch And A Modest Proposal

1405 words - 6 pages

Naked Lunch and A Modest Proposal

In 1729, Jonathon Swift published an essay titled A Modest Proposal, which dealt with the issue of homelessness among the poor families of his country. His satirical proposal to control the population of homeless children stirred a debate on the morality of his proposal. Two hundred and thirty years later in 1959, William S. Burroughs published a novel entitled Naked Lunch, which dealt with the desperate struggle of drug addiction and the governments role in rehabilitating addicts. Inspired by Swifts Modest Proposal, Burroughs satirical portrait of drug addiction was also controversial. Both Swift and Burroughs addressed serious issues of their respective times, with both drug addiction and homeless still being relevant issues in our current time. By using extreme examples to address significant problems in their respective societies, they were able to draw attention to the problems that were not being dealt with. In the essay A Modest Proposal, written by Jonathan Swift, the author proposes a plan to help rid the country of homeless children and help their parents at the same time. His plan was to have poor parents sell their children at the age of one, and then the children would be turned into food. I have been assured by a very knowing American that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing and wholesome food(Swift, par. 9). In turn the parents would be relieved of the burden of raising their children, because they didnt have enough money to provide for them anyway. It would provide the parents with a known commodity, just as crops and animals provide money for farmers, so would children for their parents. The meat of the children would become a delicacy among the upper class, which would drive up the price and the demand for the childrens meat. having no other motive than the public good of my country, by advancing our trade, providing for infants, relieving the poor, and giving some pleasure to the rich. (Swift, par. 33) Of course, Swift was not serious in his proposal, but he was serious about helping improve the situations of the poor in his country. By directly addressing the situation, Swift addressed the issue of homelessness in a manner that was both bold and effective. It was bold in that it was a very controversial way of dealing with the problem. No rational human being would propose cannibalism as a solution to homelessness, but it s use is effective as a voice that stands out and causes people to think about what he is dealing with. By suggesting cannibalism, Swift draws on one of the most wide spread taboos in the world to repulse his audience into realizing that homelessness was a serious problem. Swift was tired of hearing ideas proposed to deals with the poor, in his opinion there was too much talk and not enough action: But as to myself, having been wearied out for many years of offering vain, idle, visionary thoughts, and at length utterly...

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