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How and why did Jonathan Swift challenge both the exploiter and the exploited in 'A Modest Proposal'?

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Introduction

How and why did Jonathan Swift challenge both the exploiter and the exploited in 'A Modest Proposal'? 'A Modest Proposal' was written at the time when Ireland was becoming poorer, England was getting richer and Ireland was over populated. The reason why England was getting richer is because England was exploiting the Irish, by using them as a source for their own food. They banned Ireland from importing or exporting any food to or from any other part of the world, including around Ireland itself. They were only allowed to and were made to give the food that they grew to the English. England had power over Ireland. So, they paid as little or as much as they dinned to. So, much time was spent on growing crops and paying for the maintenance of it, for the English. They were taking food out of people's mouths. By eating Ireland's food you were basically eating the mother's and father's, because of lack of food. The Irish were reproducing at an alarming rate. This was because of Catholicism and being Papist. ...read more.

Middle

He does this so he can write a proposal about making Ireland wealthier, and mock the Anglo-Irish speaker and the English. His persona talks about the Irish deserving their children to be eaten because they have not stood up for themselves and the future for their children. The speaker does not support the English. He mocks the Anglo-Irish, who is Irish but pretend to be English, thus abandoning their country and their nationality. The speaker says that actually, pretending to not be Irish is worse than being English. This is because; you are betraying your heritage and are in return exploiting the Irish, your own people, to make the English even wealthier. Jonathan Swift mocks the Anglo-Irish so that he can show both sides of the Irish and the English. He writes in the form of 'political comedy'. This helps his job to be persuasive using humour when the situation and the problem are gravely serious. Swift does this by using four devices: satire, a persona, persuasive structure and persuasive language. He uses satire, which is ridiculing and being ironic by an outrageous solution. ...read more.

Conclusion

He uses persuasive language by making you create the image that children are meat, by making you think that they are animals and so killing them is not wrong at all, so you think of them as meat. A use of this is 'a child dropped from his dam', which refers to children as calves. Also, 'a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled', this refers the ways in which you can cook any type of meat to the way you cook children. At the end of the proposal the level of outrageousness is heightened. Every now and then Jonathan Swift's own opinion appears between the persona. This is shown as deliberate outrageousness for satire. Such as, 'the skin... will make admirable gloves for ladies and summer-boots for fine gentlemen', in which he suggests that the children's skin could be made into items such as gloves or boots. His bitter remarks are shown, he practically says that you have almost eaten all the food from Ireland, why not eat the children as well. His solution to Ireland's problem has written not to be taking seriously but to show how terrible the situation is and how it needs to change. Lucy Fuller ...read more.

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