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'A modest proposal could be read by an insensitive reader as a cruel, inhuman, and perfectly sincere proposal. Where and how does Swift indicate that it must not be taken at face value? Where and how does he indicate his own true feelings and opinions?

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Introduction

A MODEST PROPOSAL ESSAY: _____________________________________________________________________ Q: 'A modest proposal could be read by an insensitive reader as a cruel, inhuman, and perfectly sincere proposal. Where and how does Swift indicate that it must not be taken at face value? Where and how does he indicate his own true feelings and opinions? _____________________________________________________________________ A Modest Proposal, being ridiculous, confronting and sarcastic, could not be read sincerely. The author, Jonathan Swift, disgusted at the treatment of the poor in Ireland, uses techniques such as language, tone, imagery to contrast and emphasis of ideas, in this satire, to reveal his own true feelings and opinions. Ridiculous solutions are offered to the reader to highlight the problem of the poor in Ireland. The language Swift uses in 'A Modest Proposal' is both legal and technical. The progression of ideas changes from simple to bizarre. In the opening, Swift adopts the language of finance and exchange. ...read more.

Middle

This indicates to the reader that the author's intentions are far deeper than what is written, as the use of language must have changed for a reason. Swift, to indicate his intentions, uses irony and imagery, to highlight the plight of the Irish. Irony accentuates the emotional detachment felt by the colonising British towards the Irish that lead to the atrocities committed against the Irish citizens. The irony begins with the title, 'A Modest Proposal'. There is nothing modest about eating the infants of impoverished Irish citizens. The technique turns on the assumption that his audience, regardless of their national or religious affiliations or status will agree with the fact that eating children is morally and socially unacceptable. Swift suggests eating poor Irish children is acceptable particularly at weddings and christenings. "I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or ragout", indicates Swifts biting humour and use of imagery when talking about the children. ...read more.

Conclusion

Images of cruelty are developed by the proposer as the reader is bombarded with disturbing imagery of Irish people and their children being treated like livestock raised for consumption. The narrator refers to the parents of the children as 'savages', 'breeders' and 'dams' as though they were animals or lesser mortals. He compares the children to roasting pigs and continues as if he were writing a cook book. Swift writes of how delicious these infants would be whether stewed, roasted, baked or boiled or served in a fricassee. Swift's most potent attacks in his proposal were on a class of civilized people who often behaved like animals. In 'A Modest Proposal', Swift manipulates the reader and forces them to determine his intent as well as re-evaluate their own. The literal interpretation of the text acts in contrast to the author's true feelings. It is through these techniques used in 'A Modest Proposal', that Swift indicates his true feelings and opinions while also indicating that the proposal shouldn't be taken at face value. _____________________________________________________________________ ?? ?? ?? ?? Word count: 1,006 ...read more.

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