Verbal Irony In A Modest Proposal

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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. He wanted to shock his readers by proposing his “modest” proposal. He presents selling babies as food to reduce overpopulation. This causes the reader to disregard this suggestion. Swift wanted to raise awareness on the issue that was haunting Ireland. Throughout A Modest Proposal, Swift effectively uses verbal irony, diction, and sentence structure to achieve his purpose of making people realize that there are problems in society that needed to be handled in a reasonable manner. He also wanted to help advance the country’s trade, provide for infants, relieve the poor and help the rich. Swift ultimately wanted to get people thinking about actual solutions that could solve their current problems. Verbal irony is extremely prominent in A Modest Proposal. It is used to say the opposite of what the writer means. Swift’s main argument throughout A Modest Proposal is that Ireland deserves better treatment by England. Swift explains how selling a marketable child will be profitable and why the people of Dublin will be willing butcher children to survive. He does this by saying, “I rather recommend buying the children alive, and dressing them hot from the knife, as we do roasting pigs” (585). Swift uses verbal irony in a powerful way to state that Irish people should not be treated like animals killed as food. Swif... ... middle of paper ... ...also uses a dependent clause as verbal irony because he knows that the solution involving people being murdered. By using various sentence lengths Swift’s purpose is achieved. The purpose is achieved through the meanings behind all the different types of sentences because each one helps the story develop. Without sentence structure Swift’s message would not be clearly realized. Throughout A Modest Proposal Swift uses verbal irony, diction, and sentence structure to achieve his purpose. His purpose of calling attention to all the terrible things England has done to Ireland is clearly stated throughout A Modest Proposal with the help of these three devices. His purpose of drawing attention to the problems throughout society has been described through A Modest Proposal. The dire poverty in Ireland is clearly expressed in the satire A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift.

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