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

Swifts 'A Modest Proposal' is considered to be one of the most effective pieces of satirical writing ever published. Discuss this statement in relation to the text.

Extracts from this document...


Swifts 'A Modest Proposal' is considered to be one of the most effective pieces of satirical writing ever published. Discuss this statement in relation to the text Jonathan Swift comes from a long line of highly talented and hugely celebrated Irish writers. He specialises in a form of writing known as Satire. The Oxford English Dictionary defines Satire to be 'a form of writing holding up a person or society to ridicule, or showing the foolishness or wickedness of an idea or custom. A piece of writing that poses false pretensions. Swift's most famous, or infamous, piece of writing which displays such satire is A Modest Proposal. It is written as an article and was published in 1729. It goes into some detail to explain To analyse the effectiveness of Swift's writing I will concentrate on several central points. Satirical writing must make use of irony and sarcasm. The more irony and sarcasm a writer uses, the greater the effect his writing has upon the audience. ...read more.


His writing is set out in a formal style, and his points are ordered as they would be in an actual proposal. People in those days, and today for that matter, have the idea that if something is written or read in formal English, it must be truthful and reliable. This is why Swift's writing is so effective, because he can easily manipulate the audience into believing that he is genuinely proposing this idea, so he can show them to be foolish afterwards. The tone of the article is that of calm and serenity, but his words are highly disturbing, giving the reader a sense of sadness, and perhaps reluctance to reveal his thoughts. A Modest Proposal is an allegorical masterpiece, showing many different aspects of human nature at the same time. It reveals the atrocities taking place throughout the entire kingdom at the time. The poverty, harshness, and some of the things people would do to end their suffering, and prevent their children from going through what they went through. ...read more.


Some may argue that this is why he is proposing that we turn to eating children, because it is ensuring that his own children are safe from harm, showing how uncompassionate he is for others. In effect, what Swift has accomplished is figurative piece of writing which works on multiple levels. On the one hand it condemns the English for being so aggressive and the Irish for being so passive, and at the same time it is accusing the narrator for being morally unjust and uncompassionate towards other human beings, and also the reader for accepting all the intolerable situations around us just because we don't come into contact with any of them, such as poverty and fascism. In my opinion, this is what makes A Modest Proposal such a great piece of satirical writing. Swift has successfully used many forms of sarcasm and irony, be they metaphorical or literal, to expose the idiocy and naivety of an entire nations worth of people. This is what makes it one of the most effective pieces of satirical writing to ever entertain the masses. ...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

    Furthermore in the proposal Swift says "After all, I am not so violently bent upon my own opinion to reject any offer proposed by wise men, which shall be found equally innocent, cheap, easy and effectual. Swift uses triplets here and this plays on the mind of the reader and is used in an argumentative way.

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

    explains here that he has thought about other ideas from different people, but they just don't seem to add up. Swift has an effective conclusion, he uses a good rhetorical device; 'First, as things now stand, how will they be able to find food and raiment for a hundred thousand useless mouths and backs'.

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

    This is harsh and inhumane as you would normally associate 'breeders' as animals or cattle. If Swift didn't use statistics then the readers would not be convinced as to how such a plan would 'work'. In 'A modest proposal' Swift uses a lot of irony in his writing.

  2. What are the Objects of Swift's Satire in 'Gulliver's Travels' in the 'Voyages to ...

    their dexterity and the ministers that were the most entertaining would be chosen by the emperor to represent the state. Swift makes this sound like the equivalent of modern day elections. Swift felt that people in Britain got into the government by flattery, 'sucking' up to the prime minister.

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

    is no salable commodity' meaning that young children are useless to society. Swift then compares the poor children to animals in paragraph fifteen, 'will make admirable gloves for ladies and summer boots for fine gentlemen.' Here, Swift is comparing children's skin to leather from a cow.

  2. "A Modest Proposal"

    people, and do not even care, whether they can pay or not. Also he is talking about how women and children is being beaten up by their husbands, and his idea to eat babies will make landlords care and husbands will not beat up their wife's and children, as they

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

    In reality he is insane though no one has any knowledge of this. "Time for a brief discourse on the subject of killing. Killing humans. Murder, not to put too fine a point on it. As a soldier, it was my chief function to kill, waste, do in-whatever you want to call it."

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

    Gulliver's views on the government are gradually revealed and we can observe that he seems more and more closed off. In an effort to gain favor with the King, he tells him about the wonder of gunpowder after which the king reacts in, what seems to the reader, a noble

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