Analysis of A Modest Proposal

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Jonathan Swift, the writer of the satirical essay A Modest Proposal, grew up and lived in Ireland during times of famine and economic struggles (Conditions). Growing up with a single mother and no father, Swift knew what hard times and struggles were like (Jonathan Swift: Biography). His essay proposes an easy solution to the economic problems going on in Ireland for both the wealthy ruling classes and the poorer classes, although his intentions and the meaning behind his words are not what would be originally thought when initially reading the essay. Through his word choices and the description of specific events of his time, Swift uses satire to grab his audience’s attention and get his own personal ideas and opinions out about all the problems going on in Ireland. In Swift’s essay A Modest Proposal, he proposes the poor people of Ireland sell their children as food for the wealthy to ease their economic troubles since they can’t sufficiently take care of them anyway. Knowing that Swift was a priest, it can be assumed that he was joking and not being serious with his proposal, which is satire. Historically, satire has been used to criticize and ridicule political figures in politics, the economy, religion, and other groups of power and authority (Satire). In A Modest Proposal, he does this by talking about England and Ireland during this time. Swift demonstrates how England and the Irish ruling classes tend to be greatly unconcerned with the poor people of Ireland. Through his word choices, indirectly, Swift discusses the children in statistical terms when he describes how they should be sold off as food for the wealthier, higher classes. He states there are “a hundred and twenty thousand children, already computed,” then proc... ... middle of paper ... ... events and important figures from the time period; England and the ruling classes of Ireland’s behaviors and actions towards the lower classes of Ireland and their endurance to just take it all, and the reasons behind their timidity. At first, A Modest Proposal seems like a grotesque idea that an insane man had to eat people’s children to solve problems in Ireland, but looking deeper into it the wisely worded satire has a lot of richness and depth as the country it wants to improve. Works Cited A Modest Proposal. Project Gutenberg, 26 Feb 2013. Web. 10 Feb 2014. Conditions in Early Eighteenth-Century Ireland. Kansas State University, 28 March 1999. Web. 10 Feb 2014. Jonathan Swift: Biography. The Biography Channel. 2014. Web. 9 Feb 2014. Jonathan Swift. WikiMedia Foundation, 2014. Web. 10 Feb 2014. Satire. Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2014. Web. 10 Feb 2014.

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