In Jonathan Swift’s satire, “A Modest Proposal”, Swift writes about the starving people of Ireland in the early 1700’s. He makes a wild and absurd proposal to help remedy the problems of overpopulation and poverty. Swift wants to make a political statement by using the “children” as satire to grasp the attention of the audience - the English people, the Irish politicians and the rich – and make them aware of the political, moral, and social problems. In “A Modest Proposal”, Swift’s arguments are presented effectively by using pathos (emotional appeal), ethos (ethics and values), and logos (logic reasoning and facts). Swift begins his argument by stating his view on the situation and displaying his annoyance.
Thus, the persona utilizes irony that serves the purpose of attacking, exposing and scorning the Irish people. Yet, in order to make cannibalism sound like a practical ironic solution the author wisely uses his wit to imply that cannibalism cannot be more savagely cruel and unethical than what the Irish are permitting their oppressor to do to them. Swift’s use of the persona, irony and wit awakens the Irish to the physical existence of their diabolic environment and convinces them that they should take action in order to cease the circumstances. Fictional persona conceals Swift’s true identity helping him portray to the readers the significance of Ireland’s problems and allowing them to see the truth and reality. The persona identifies a very intelligent, serious and concerned Irishman.
His proposal of eating the Irish babies is followed by advantages such as "by the sale of their children, [the parents would] be rid of the charge of maintaining them after the first year". To a poverty stricken person this would take a huge load off of their shoulders by not having to raise a child, while at the same time making money off of them to better support themselves and lifestyle. “I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title to the kitchen” is a quote that shows a
Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal is a shocking satire that discusses the dire poverty in Ireland. It says if one is born poor they will stay that way unless society puts them to use. Children are food to be eaten. In an economic slump children will be used to feed and clothe Ireland’s population. Swift’s purpose for writing A Modest Proposal was to call attention to the exploiting and oppressing by the English to the Irish.
Web. 05 Dec. 2013.
Duckworth, A.R. (2008). Blade Runner and the Postmodern use of Mise-en-scene. Available: http://ardfilmjournal.wordpress.com/2008/08/26/blade-runner-and-the-postmodern-use-of-mise-en-scene/ Last accessed 21st Dec 2013. Mediacs.
The majority of the families in Ireland were subject to this system, which resulted in the great issue of the families not being able to care for their children after establishing this precedent; swift introduces his satirical proposal of transforming the burden of childcare into a profitable affair. Swift proposes the Irish market their children to be eaten. Swift suggests that this system will boost the Irish by giving families money in their pockets as well as an end to Ireland’s famine by introducing a new food source. Throughout Swift’s proposal, he presents multiple benefits from his system and how it will cause Ireland to prosper. As beneficial as Swift’s proposal may appear, he drafted his piece satirically, as not to be serious with his proposal but use it to initiate change.
Swift acknowledges the fact of the scarcity of food and empathizes with the struggling and famished souls of Ireland through the strange essay. Being of high society Britain, which at the time mothered Ireland, Swift utilizes his work to satirically place much of the blame on England itself. Through his brilliant stating of the fact that the children cost money as well as aid in the drought of food and necessities the reader can get an idea of the suffering on going in Ireland; this brings the reader to see that instead of keeping the children their parents should either eat them or sell them on an open market. By wasting the scarce food in Ireland, the people are killing themselves; thus the children can be consumed saving food and at the same time making food. It is interesting to see how well Swift conveys his view towards the poor in this odd manor.