The Use Of Satire In A Modest Proposal By Jonathan Swift

832 words - 3 pages


A Modest Proposal
In “A Modest Proposal” several forms of satire are demonstrated throughout the story. Satire is defined as the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose or criticize people’s stupidity or vices. (Google) In "A Modest Proposal" Swift uses parody which is a form of satire. Parody is primarily making fun of something to create a humorous feel for it. In “A Modest Proposal,” Swift uses parody to make fun of the people and children of Ireland, expressing the children as delicious food to be eaten.
"A child just dropped from its dam may be supported by her milk for a solar year with little nourishments."(pg.623) In this satire, the author is explaining a child will be born and fed off of his mother’s milk, but that milk will not be plentiful because the mother is malnourished. To solve the problem of sad fate of the poverty stricken Irish people, who spend their life looking for food to feed their families. Swift has developed a plan to benefit the rich, by using the poor. His plan is to fatten up the unnourished children, and raise them as food for the wealthier citizens of Ireland. This would give the Irish economy a consequential advance, and reduce the population, which would make it easier for the great and noble England to deal with their disorderly citizens. Swift’s proposal would benefit the wealthy with more food supply and the poor with more income. This also contradicts the proposal because the poor would become rich.
Swift introduces “melancholy” and the two common perceptions of women and children begging in the streets of Ireland. The author appeals to the general opinion that the women are “forced to employ all their time” in begging and panhandling for food, and the children will grow to become thieves. Swift details his proposal saying that a one year old child most likely weighs about 20 pounds, so the flesh of that child will be very expensive. He explains this flesh will most likely be sold to Irelands richest landlords. He then points that these landlords “have already devoured most of the parents” anyway. Secondly he explains how this new food supply will be sold year round with a rise in the springtime. The price of nursing a “beggars-child” until a profitable age is two shillings a year, the cost of the meat will be ten shillings, and the sale profits will be mutual. The mother will make eight shillings and the landlord who buys the child will enjoy an increase in his reputation amongst his residents and will have “four dishes of...

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