Jonathan Swift 's A Modest Proposal Essay

Jonathan Swift 's A Modest Proposal Essay

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Jonathan Swift is an author, well-known for his satirical essays, and the effects that his writing has on his readers. He was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1667, and in 1729 wrote the famous essay “A Modest Proposal” as one of the Irish pamphlets he wrote to draw attention to social and economic crisis’ the country was facing at the time. These pamphlets were written to put blame on Ireland’s government, and encourage the Irish people of 1927 to take initiative in improving the quality of life and taking the state of their country into their own hands. “A Modest Proposal For preventing the children of poor people in Ireland, from being a burden on their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the publick.” is the most famous of these pamphlets, and tries to solve the issues facing Ireland by encouraging the Irish to eat babies (Britannica Academic). Jonathan Swift uses pathos, ethos, and logos in "A Modest Proposal" to inspirit poor Irish parents to sell their children as delicacies to the opulent, in order to eliminate poor economic conditions and overpopulation within their country. Swift uses imagery and hyperbole to appeal to the reader’s emotions, his own and others’ credibility to establish authority, and many facts and examples to persuade his readers and appeal to their logic.
First, Swift uses imagery to appeal to the reader’s emotions. The first line of “A Modest Proposal” is, “It is a melancholy object to those who walk through this great town or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads, and cabin doors, crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags and importuning every passenger for an alms” (Swift, 1). Swift starts off the proposal by creat...


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... order to justify the benefit selling children will have on the economy Swift calculates that, “The constant breeders, beside the gain of eight shillings sterling per annum by the sale of their children, will be rid of the charge of maintaining them after the first year” (5). This quote, along with many others within the proposal, provides the facts and logic behind selling children as food. Swift goes into detail about how many babies are born each year and how many would be used as food and other circumstances that may occur during the first year of life. The specific numbers that are used in these examples play to the readers’ logic in helping them think through the issue rather than just quickly reacting to the proposal in front of them. Swift uses a large amount of evidence to support his thesis and convince readers they can create a solution to their problems.

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