In the Holy Bible, Jesus Christ states that there will always be poor, pathetic, struggling masses and nothing we can do will ever completely eliminate this element. Swift also acknowledges the homeless people, but in a different vein than Christ. In "A Modest Proposal," the narrator expresses pity for the poor, but at the same time he strives to maintain his social dominance over them. According to Swift, the English-Irish common people of the time exist in a disgusting state, a fact that he attempts to make the English Parliament aware of. The poor that Swift refers to are Catholics, peasants, and every homeless man, woman, and child in the entire kingdom. Swift is worried that the Parliament is ignorant of the fact that there is a great socioeconomic distance between the increasing number of peasants and the aristocracy, and that this distance has powerful repercussions. Swift conveys his message in essay-form with satire, humor, and shock value as his weapons.
Swift pursues his main point in the first paragraph:
It is a melancholy object to those who walk through [Dublin]
. . .when they see . . .beggars of the female sex, followed by
three, four, or six children, all in rags and importuning every
passenger for an alm...
... middle of paper ...
... in Irish affairs, and furthermore, the expanding British Empire. Thus "A Modest Proposal" does not present an answer to the societal problems of its day, but ultimately raises more questions. Not questions of fact, but questions of a profound socio-philosophical nature.
Works Cited and Consulted:
Swift, Jonathan. "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." 1729. Rpt. in Current Issues and Enduring Questions. Ed. Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau. Boston, MA: St. Martin's 1996. 111-117.
"Johathan Swift." Bookshelf 1996-1997 Edition 1996. CD-ROM. Redmond, WA: Microsoft, 1996.
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