• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

In 'A Modest Proposal', Swift proposes that eating the children of the poor is the answer to Ireland's economic problems.

Extracts from this document...


A Modest Proposal - Jonathan Harvey The Eighteenth Century was an extremely difficult time for the country of Ireland. Not only were the English lords ruling the nation, but they were also taxing the Irish out of all of their income. Due to these harsh taxes and other laws passed from distant England, Ireland was quickly becoming a land of the starving. By 1729, something had to be done, regardless of how drastic it was. Jonathan Swift's 'A Modest Proposal' is a satirical essay that disregards all humanity and morality for the sake of economic gain. In 'A Modest Proposal', Swift proposes that eating the children of the poor is the answer to Ireland's economic problems. ...read more.


He even describes that once a boy reaches the age of twelve, the meat becomes tough and lean due to the boy's constant exercise. He also describes how many meals one infant could last for. By going into great detail about the actual eating of children, Swift establishes the idea that Ireland may start eating children in order to boost the economy. The second situation that Swift creates where moral order is confused is when he states that the marriage rate would increase as people would breed for the sole purpose of supplying the nation with food. He also proposes that mothers would take better care of their children since they will want them to be as healthy as possible when they are slaughtered. ...read more.


He states that no one should mention any of the ideas he lists unless they are willing to put those ideas into practice. Swift uses his drastic plan, cannibalism, to bring attention to the problems the Irish are facing, and then he subtly suggests some alternative plans that would alleviate Ireland of their economic suffering. As we can see, Swift uses satire throughout 'A Modest Proposal' to point out the problems of Ireland and the solutions to these troubles. He originally suggests a ridiculous idea like cannibalism in order to illustrate the magnitude of the problems the Irish face. Once the reader has read that, the other ideas that Swift says will not work suddenly seem brilliant. Due to 'A Modest Proposal', Jonathan Swift can be credited with helping Ireland recover from its economic troubles. -Jonathan Harvey ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Jonathan Swift section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Jonathan Swift essays

  1. Swift's main purpose in Gulliver's Travels.

    Therefore, according to Swift, the government is corrupted by the innate evils of human beings.

  2. A Modest Proposal.

    Jonathan Swift has created a narrator with a definite personality. He is a typical person from upper ruling class. Although the conditions were bad for the poor Irish Catholics, what Swift wanted to expose was the ruling classes reluctant to do anything serious to solve the economic crisis.

  1. "A Modest Proposal" - Swift.

    other motive than the public good of my country", Swift is somewhat ironic as he has no emotional attachment to the scheme either. Swift's tone is calm and rational, though his words are quite unsettling, conveying a sense of melancholy to the reader; "I have been assured by a very

  2. Compare the persuasive techniques and the development of the argument in 'Old Major's speech' ...

    He has used persuasive techniques to channel their anger towards man, and told them how to solve this problem. In the next paragraph, he warns the animals to never falter, and never listen to anyone "when they tell you that man and the animals have a common interest".

  1. Satire and Colonialism in the eighteenth century: 'A Modest Proposal' and 'Gulliver's Travels'

    In my opinion the way the Protestants were ruling over Catholics was disgraceful, because they were treating them like animals by keeping a large amount of people in a small area like chickens. I will now consider the use of satire in Swift's Text, 'A Modest Proposal'.

  2. Gulliver's Travels Essay

    In that quote Gulliver didn't do anything to them he only faked the eating of the Lilliputian, Gulliver is a kind and caring man, although they were aggressive, it is not his nature to hurt people. Normally Gulliver would eat them or kill as he is a giant, but this being and inverted fairytale Gulliver is benevolent.

  1. Write and essay on the methods and objectives of Swift's satire.

    The Lilliputian Emperor favoured the Slamecksan party, similarly George I favoured the Whig party 'His majesty has determined to make use of only low heels in the administration of the Government' (1.4). The Lilliputian Empress represents Queen Anne, who blocked Swift's advancement in the Church of England.

  2. Guillivers Travels. In this essay I will discuss all 4 voyages in which ...

    From this he gains perspective in terms of size, the sense of feeling powerless and how intimidating he must have seemed to the minute people of Lilliput. Another point that Swift could be trying to make is even the most flawless skin or most appealing political system has its imperfections and these imperfections can be exposed under close enough scrutiny.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work