Criticism In Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal

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Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal is a work of satire. This is true, but even though Swift’s argument is a fake argument, it is also well crafted and complete. During the 1720s, famine was common in Ireland and the English government did little to help. Swift’s claim is that the Irish should therefore eat their children. The full title of Swift’s essay presents the reason for his claim. He titles the essay A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public. In this, he is saying children were only detrimental to poor families and that serving them as food would help change that. Swift’s claim would be for the Irish to become cannibals…show more content…
Here, Swift states the claim for the explicit argument. He goes onto to add that his scheme would prevent abortion, saying the practice of voluntary abortion is horrific. Along with this the speaker seems to have done some mathematics to back his claim. He states, “The number of souls in Ireland being usually reckoned one million and a half, these I calculate there may be about two hundred thousand couples whose wives are breeders, from which number I subtract thirty thousand couples who are able to maintain... I again subtract fifty thousand for those women who miscarry, or whose children die by accident or disease within a year” (p.296). Swift uses these grounds to provide his purpose of proving to the English that Irish needs their…show more content…
First, Swift says, “A very worthy person...was lately pleased in discoursing on this matter to offer refinement upon my scheme. He said that many gentlemen of this kingdom having of late destroyed their deer, he conceived that the want of venison might be well supplied by the bodies of young lads and maidens, not exceeding fourteen years of age, nor under twelve,…” (p.298). He goes on to say the man is American and that he does not agree because the male meat is too rough and the females would soon be breeders. He brings this up to prove he is not alone in this idea and also to take a shot at “savage” Americans. The other rebuttal might be the main part of Swift’s essay. He starts by restating his proposal and then expresses, “I can think of no one objection that will possibly be raised against this proposal, unless it should be urged that the number of people will be thereby much lessened in the kingdom” (p.300). He continues by saying, “Therefore let no man talk to me of other expedients...” Swift then goes on to list a plethora of ideas to help fix the problem (p.300). Ironically, these ideas are actually logical ideas. Ideas that are probably Swift’s own ideas. This adds to his implicit argument and shows the reader that Ireland is not helpless, it just needs English
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