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The Summary Of A Modest Proposal By Jonathan Swift

939 words - 4 pages

Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal is a short satirical literary work, in which Swift shows dissatisfaction with the political situation in Ireland during the Age of Rationalism. In this period of time, Ireland was in a great poverty and was being abused by the English and Swift wrote this piece in order to emphasize the terrible situation. He uses a cold, very objective tone to stress the absurdity of his proposal.As for the title, that is a big irony straight from the beginning, since Swift's proposal is anything but modest. In the beginning of his essay, Swift is giving the reader an insight into the situation of poor children and their mothers in Ireland, claiming that their only chance for survival is to beg for food or to become thieves. If they cannot survive by doing this, they have to "sell themselves to Barbados" (801). Swift then says that his solution to the overpopulation of children does not affect only the children of "professed beggars" (801) but all the children of certain age, whose parents cannot take care of them.In the fourth paragraph, Swift states that the children will contribute to the feeding and clothing of many people in Ireland. It is probably here, where the reader starts thinking that Swift's proposal may be a little bit unique. In the following paragraph, Swift uses the expression "wives are breeders", which gives the reader a definite hint that Swift may not be talking seriously.Finally, in the seventh paragraph, Swift partially reveals his proposal by letting the narrator say: "I am assured by our merchants that a boy or a girl before twelve years old is no salable commodity." (802) This gives the reader a quite clear idea of what is Swift about to propose. The narrator then coldly calculates the probable prices of a child could be sold for.In the ninth paragraph, Swift makes a political point by saying that his American acquaintance confirms that "a young, healthy child...is ....a most delicious, nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled." This shows that the Irish considered Americans rather barbaric. Ironically, if the Irish took his proposal, they would definitely be the most barbaric and inhumane. In the following paragraph, Swifts finally reveals his idea to sell the kids as an expensive food for rich people. He claims that it will be a very fitting food for the landlords, who have already sucked up all the money and energy from the Irish. Swift here successfully portrays the inequalities of relationship between the absentee landlords and the poor Irish people, who work their land.In paragraph fifteen, Swifts comes up with another idea how to utilize the kids; he suggests that their skin could be used for making "admirable gloves for ladies and...

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