A Not-So-Modest Proposal

716 Words3 Pages
Sometimes even the best ideas seem outlandish at first glance. This is seen throughout history, with the use of nuclear weapons to end the second World War, or the idea behind a small band of farmers and philosophers rebelling against the greatest military on Earth. In Jonathon Swift's A Modest Proposal, Smith addresses the problems of poverty, hunger, and overpopulation in early 18th century Ireland, and proposes a radical solution to solve the crisis: To turn babies into a profitable delicacy. Of course this is a satirical piece, something Swift was well known for, and the true intention of the piece is to address the grievances caused by the lack of British concern for the well-being of the Irish people, and the apathy to their suffering, and that the British government obviously care so little for the Irish people that the idea of eating children may actually appeal to them. The piece is written in an official tone, to make it appear as if it is a legitimate proposal, even though actually reading into the context reveals its true critical nature. Of course, whether considering the satirical proposal or the actual message conveyed beneath it, they both focus on the same problem. In the early 1700's Ireland, under British possession, was going through difficult times. There were shortages of food, rampant poverty, and the population amongst the impoverished was growing at an alarming rate. One walking through the streets of Ireland at the time would no doubt be assaulted by dirty, garbage filled streets, poor men and women, begging and trudging through their miserable lives, slews of children running amuck through the broken streets. In A Modest Proposal, Swift presents a solution to this problem, one that no doubt can save t... ... middle of paper ... ...urvival. Also, Swift points out the growing number of of Catholics being born into Ireland (Catholics not being well liked at the time) and suggests that eating the “popish” babies wouldn’t be so bad after all. Near the end of his proposal, Swift predicts counter-arguments and opposing ideas. To these he states that those who disagree need to have an open mind, and he quite simply rejects any alternative ideas, in favor of his own, as it is the only surefire way to fix the problem. In the end, Swift conveys a very convincing argument for the solution of Irish poverty. He skillfully and subtly makes appeals of all sorts to sway the readers of his proposal whether they be royalty or plebeians. And throughout this bogus proposal, he is able to criticize the negative aspects of the real world and hopefully in doing so inspire real social change to right these wrongs.
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