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18Th Century Satire: A Modest Proposal

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Length: 1412 words (4 double-spaced pages)
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During the 18th century and the Restoration, a new form of literature became very popular, satire. Satire, according to www.dictionary.com, is the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice or folly. Commonly, satire is used to give one’s opinions or commentary about public issues. As a writer it is important to be well educated on current events, politics and the interests of the general public. Writers, such a Jonathan Swift, have commonly used satire to discuss important issues about the follies of governments, persons and social issues. It has been said that “although it (satire) is usually subtle in nature, it is used to bring light to contemporary societal problems and provoke change within a culture” (Friedman). One of the world’s best known pieces of satire is Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal. This piece of work aimed to expose the flaws regarding poverty in Ireland and the overwhelming and suffocating influence of the British government and Irish land owners. Swift uses satire to explain his “modest proposal”; in other words, he...


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...ck...whenever possible, this shock of recognition is to be conveyed through laughter or wit..." (Friedman).
Through the use of satire the uninformed are educated, a following is created, followed by the demand for change.
Even though the power of satire has faded over the centuries it was an essential and effective tool in making an impact on the ways of society. Through the use of humor and in-your-face realism writers, such as Swift, are able to criticize their communities, nations, and friends without the intent to offend but to educate.

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