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An Analysis of Swift's "A Modest Proposal"

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An Analysis of Swift's "A Modest Proposal" Swift, in his modest proposal, has parodied a rational economic proposal of the type commonly submitted to the British government. However in doing so he has put forth ideas for economic savings and gain, suspending any sense of seemingly basic moral attitudes. It is a political satire full of irony, dealing with the problem of homelessness in Ireland. Swift has organised his proposal clearly and objectively. To begin with, he has described the social problem and expressed the necessity for a solution. He has then expressed his determination to resolve this critical situation, emphasizing his hope for public approval. He has then put forward his proposal and explained the plan and the benefits of it. Any possible arguments have been invalidated and the main benefits have been summarised. Finally he has expressed his sincere intentions for promoting this proposal. The persona Swift has adopted is that who is malicious, savage and inhumane. ...read more.


This is an extremely fascist, unreasonable and intolerant attitude. In short, he uses rational, sensible language to express his extremely discriminating, fascist views. Swift's proposal is established upon parody and ridiculous ideas put forth in a very serious manner. His persona states that "There only remain an hundred and twenty thousand children of poor parents born annually. The question therefore is, how this number shall be reared and provided for..." This appears to be leading to the explanation of a very sensible, effective proposal. However, the true horror of the proposal becomes apparent when his persona outlines his plans for selling the children of the poor to the rich, to be eaten as a delicacy. "A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends..." Although a ludicrous idea, it is put forth with the utmost sincerity. His idea is made even more ridiculous when he says that one "may flay the carcass: the skin of which...will make admirable gloves for ladies, and summer boots for fine gentlemen." ...read more.


but he combats this by saying that it is in fact an advantage. At this stage Swift reveals his actual concern for the poverty problems Ireland has. He rubbishes other possible proposals for solving the problems, which are actually in his mind, the true solutions to the problem; this is merely an ironic way of making them seem more powerful. He is expressing his concern that the British government are not taking more plausible action than his proposal, as he feels that so much more could me done to solve the problem of homelessness and poverty, confined within moral boundaries. Swift's Modest Proposal is designed to exhibit the kind of lives the poor people in Britain live. He has used parody to highlight his concerns and enlighten the public as to the fact that the poor do not have things easy. He intends to shock and horrify the reader, and in doing so, promoting values and increasing awareness, and warning against the dangers of focusing purely on economic gain. Faizal Patel Page 1 5/2/2007 ...read more.

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