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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

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Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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