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Rhetorical Analysis Of “A Modest Proposal”

1019 words - 5 pages

Rhetorical Analysis of “A Modest Proposal”

“A Modest Proposal” by Johnathan Swift was intended to use shock factor as incentive to get the British Parliament to come up with a workable plan to deal with the multitude of poor children in Ireland (Swift). If logic is applied to the proposal, ignoring the fact that the proposal was not meant to be taken seriously and the blatant sometimes over-the-top sarcasm occasionally used, several parts of it would cause an uproar and quite possibly a revolution if implementation were ever attempted, and there was even a hint that enforcement of it was to occur.
Jonathon Swift was born on the 30th of November 1667 in Dublin, Ireland and died on the ...view middle of the document...

Nursing nurtures the bond between mother and child (Bonding with your baby). It is hard to imagine willing breaking that bond. Not to mention that is nothing stronger than a mother’s love. In fact, most good mothers will fight tooth and nail to protect their child. Attempting to enforce a law that allows a parent to sell their child as meat would be almost impossible. There was no mention of how someone would go about writing a law that uses infant children as meat. There are some questions that can stem from this. For example, if one parent wanted to sell and one didn’t who would have the final say? Since the proposal was written in 1729 it is probably safe to assume that the father or grandfather if there was one would have the final say. Another question is to be considered, if no mother would agree to this proposal, how would it change anything? The problem would still be there. Considering the time period this could possibly be solved by making the option mandatory if it is apparent that the parents could not support the children.Then there is the mention of flaying the skin off the body to be used for gloves and shoes. What woman would willingly wear gloves made of baby skin? The thought invokes shudders. Men wearing baby skin boots invoke the same. No matter how economical the author believed it, it is not reasonable to expect that anyone would want to wear such things.
Swift uses numbers to add validity to the various parts of his proposal. By using these numbers he shows how he starts with 200,000 couples and ends at 100,000 poor couples unable to support their children (Swift). He states what advantage from his proposal rectifies a certain problem and then uses facts to back it up. For example, “Whereas the maintenance of an hundred thousand children, from two years old and upward, cannot be computed at less than ten shillings a-piece per annum, the nation's stock will be thereby increased fifty...

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