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"A Modest Proposal" - Swift.

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A Modest Proposal Swift's work "A Modest Proposal" attempts to highlight the problem of famine and poverty in Ireland by providing a radical solution. To remedy the problem of the poverty-stricken, oppressed and uneducated population of Catholics in Ireland, Swift calmly and rationally proposes that thousands of the children should be killed and eaten. This will help both the overpopulated poor, who apparently can't afford to care for their children anyway, and the rich, who will get a good meal out of the whole process. Even in his introduction he explains the reason for his proposal: "for preventing the Children of poor People in Ireland, from being a Burden to their Parents or Country; and for making them beneficial to the Public". What follows is an attempt to justify such a seemingly outrageous scheme. Yet throughout the piece, Swift never loses his cool, but proceeds to logically set out the groundwork for such a proposal. Overall I believe this technique adds to the believability of the text and due to this I feel that overall Swift successfully presents his ideas. ...read more.


The horror of his irony serves as a constant metaphor for the horror being experienced by the people of Ireland. His awful proposal is a result, an echo of sorts; of the terrible suffering of the speaker's own fellow citizens and so Swift carefully uses his entire satire as a symbol for the atrocities already known in his country. This is a great way to symbolize the suffering already present in his country by suggesting another way of suffering. This symbolism explains to the reader the suffering felt by the Irish Catholics by giving a fictional equivalent. Swift's dehumanizing satire strives to shed light on the horrible situation of English/Irish tensions in Ireland. On a basic level Swift blames the English Protestants for their cruel and inhumane treatment of the poor Catholics, through both political and economic oppression. This is seen most clearly when Swift muses that England would be more than willing to eat the Irish even without his proposal, saying, "...I could name a country which would be glad to eat up our whole nation without it." ...read more.


Swift then goes on to explain the bonuses of such a scheme; "But my intention is very far from being confined to provide only for the children of professed beggars; it is of a much greater extent...." Then Swift goes on to make appalling calculations, proving that 'A Modest Proposal' was not just a single thought made to question the morality of the English protestants; "...I calculate there may be about two hundred thousand couple whose wives are breeders... ", "Infants' flesh will be in season throughout the year...." "I compute that Dublin would take off annually about twenty thousand carcasses....". The main point to Swift's piece is the seriousness of his plan that was proposed which shows the problem of the Irish was very serious indeed. Swift goes on to say that the situation is so terrible that Swift may find no objection to such an awful proposal from the public; which is quoted from the line, "I can think of no one objection that will possibly be raised against this proposal....". This is why due to Swift's use of evidence and his calculations this is a very alarming yet effective text in its purpose. James Neville 10DD ...read more.

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