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Johnathan Swift wrote “A Modest Proposal” in 1729. It was his response to the booming population of the mainly catholic lower-class Irish and the Protestant-English upper-class’s inability to find a solution to reduce the number of people who were unable to maintain their families, and were begging in the streets. “A Modest Proposal” is a satirical pamphlet that was aimed towards the English gentlemen of the day, who were the ruling class of Ireland at the time, and valued logic and reason above all else. In his essay, Swift uses satire and irony to “propose” a solution to the “Irish problem.” His essay was so innovative and effective because he uses solid logic and reasoning to propose something so ridiculous that it would force the reader to think that maybe, when dealing with matters of humanity, the solution may require more than cold logic and science. He then challenges the reader, giving a long list of things that could be done to better the situation, and telling them “let no man talk to me of these and the like expedients, ‘till he hath at least some glimpse of hope, that there will ever be some hearty attempt to put them into practice.” Swift’s essay is the perfect example of reverse psychology and using shock value to get the reader to see exactly what he wants them to see. Johnathan Swift, an Anglo-Irish satirist, poet, essayist, political pamphleteer, and cleric, is best known as the author of famous works such as “Gulliver’s Travels,” The Battle of the Books,” and the focus of this essay, “A Modest Proposal.” Born in Dublin, Ireland in 1667, Swift could have been just like any other poor catholic-Irish boy. However, he became a fairly wealthy protestant, and later in life was even made Dean of St. Patrick’s... ... middle of paper ... ...Johnathan Swift’s essay “A Modest Proposal” was a wonderful piece of satire, which made the people who read it take an introspective look, and think about how they were treating those poor, lower-class Irish. The raw imagery used by the author caused people to be so disgusted, that they were forced to consider what would be a more humane solution. Swift was able to both capture the attention of his audience, and get them to think more reasonably about an issue most, at the time, ignored. This essay is a great example, even to this day, of how to use satire, irony, and reverse psychology to speck to an audience who would not usually care to listen. “A Modest Proposal” was likely very successful getting people during The Enlightenment, when they valued little else but logic, facts, and reason, to consider that perhaps sometimes, reason alone cannot guarantee success.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how johnathan swift's "a modest proposal" is a satirical pamphlet aimed at the english gentlemen of the day, who valued logic and reason above all else.
  • Explains that johnathan swift, an anglo-irish satirist, poet, essayist and political pamphleteer, is best known as of famous works such as "gulliver's travels" and "a modest proposal."
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