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

Cannibalism is the last taboo. In ‘Alive’ and ‘A Modest Proposal’ Jonathan Swift and Piers Paul Read approach the subject with completely different purposes in mind. What do you consider to be the purpose of each author, and say how he

Extracts from this document...


Cannibalism is the last taboo. In 'Alive' and 'A Modest Proposal' Jonathan Swift and Piers Paul Read approach the subject with completely different purposes in mind. What do you consider to be the purpose of each author, and say how he achieves this? A Modest Proposal is a scathing attack on the economic oppression of the Irish by the English. During Swift's lifetime tremendous suffering was caused by English practices in Ireland. However, it is incorrect to say that cannibalism is the theme of 'A Modest Proposal.' Swift was a Protestant writer in Ireland at the time of The Great Potato Famine. The article is a clever satirical device to draw attention to the plight of the poor. He infiltrates the opposition, the rich Protestant landlords, in order to put their torturous ideas to ridicule. Swift attacks his own Protestant, English community by creating a narrator who considers himself a reasonable and compassionate character, but one who combines a repulsive anti-Catholic bigotry, with a 'modest' proposal, that is, rather, a 'final solution': he, the narrator, advocates cannibalism as a means of countering Irish Catholic poverty abortion, and the high birth rate. The narrator, in a frighteningly rational and level-headed tone condemns the English for being inhumane, the Irish for being passive, the speaker for being morally blind, and the ...read more.


I think most readers, due to the biased nature of the script, and the conditions mentioned before hand, tend to agree with the eventuality. P P Read has taken care to point out via his characters, that social taboo is not a sin of God, and differentiates between sin and physical revulsion. No one of the survivors proclaims that what they are doing, or might do is "wrong!" but each argues for himself, for personal reasons. Read suggests that there is no moral indecision, as there is in Swift's Modest Proposal, but there is a distinction between what is accepted by social conventions and what is right in the name of God. As well as using motives and social issues, there are a variety of literary techniques used by both the narrator in A Modest Proposal, and P P Read. The narrator's well structured, almost business like approach, in A Modest Proposal, that has the posterity of a politician's, such as, "I propose to provide for them," and careful selection of words, "nutrient" rather than 'food' is one example or "yield" to compare human flesh to crops to be harvested, becomes apparent only when the article is understood for its real meaning. ...read more.


more poignant, while his projector appears cold, mechanical, his thoughts computed and wicked, his words spoken, rather, with the banality of evil in mind. However, in Alive, the reader learns that decisions of an extreme nature shall always have opposition, whichever answer is given. The author, while remaining detached and reporting only through the survivors' journey and speech, I feel creates a similar 'narrator' as in A Modest Proposal, only not quite as directly. There is certainly the voice of Pier Paul Read in the book, and although he is not quite as direct or inhumane as his counterpart in A Modest Proposal, his detachment creates a sense of fear and bewilderment in the reader, as they envision what they themselves might have don in a similar situation. When 'Alive' and 'A Modest Proposal' are compared, although I found this difficult considering they are not easily paralleled, I preferred Jonathan Swift's satirical piece, for this reason. It was short, ridiculous, and although not originally intended, humorous in it's madness. On the other hand, I found Pier Paul Read's work tedious and too questioning of a topic, cannibalism, that many today have made their firm minds up about, and of decisions that may only be changed if they were faced with such terrible situations. ?? ?? ?? ?? Kartik Logishetty 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE Jonathan Swift essays

  1. How effective is 'Modest Proposal' by Jonathon Swift

    who miscarry and whether the children die at birth because disease or accident. Swift also outrageously says in paragraph 12 that he reckons in his estimation that an average child will weigh 12 lbs when born! This I feel is way, way out and would cause mothers who were giving birth to be in agony and stress.

  2. Explain the effect a 'Modest Proposal', by Jonathan Swift has on the reader, including ...

    He thinks humans are like animals and he also thinks it is ok to eat humans; this idea is purposely used by Swift to shock. It is difficult to separate the narrators voice and Jonathan Swift's because he wants to stay discreet and he is anonymous throughout this pamphlet until

  1. Swifts 'A Modest Proposal' is considered to be one of the most effective pieces ...

    It shows the cruelty and savage nature of human beings as a whole. In his writing Swift portrays England as being very aggressive and violent 'I could name a country which would gladly eat up our whole nation without it.'

  2. A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift How does Swift attempt to make his ...

    When talking about the amount of children the women are having he doesn't want to make people feel sympathetic or even think that they are stupid for having so many children and not being able to raise them. He is playing on stereotypes of anti-catholic Protestants because Catholics do not

  1. Reading of 'A Modest Proposal' concentrating on how Swift criticised the society in which ...

    Going back to paragraph twelve, yet another criticism can be found within the quotation 'landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of their parents, seem to nave the best title to the children.' This could be seen as a pun with the word 'devoured' literally meaning that the landlord has consumed virtually all of the Catholic's assets.

  2. "A Modest Proposal"

    twelve years of age and twelve years old sell for about �3.50 and they cost more than that for twelve years." Swift is saying that children are expensive to keep, and they sell very cheap - and poor families cannot afford to keep children, and that makes them even poorer.

  1. Discuss the similarities and differences in themes and ideas as shown in a modest ...

    It was also to give other readers such as teenagers an insight into the horrors of homelessness. Swift also wrote the book for the government using a spoof economic argument. He also had social concerns about the poverty of the Catholics.

  2. How Gulliver's Travels Satirises the Politics of Swift's Time.

    In this respect one would think that they would have the most open minds, yet they do not. The race of Houyhnhnms also have a peculiar form of government: a pure democracy.

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