Essay on Analysis of A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift

No Works Cited
Length: 1077 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Purple      
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Analysis of A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift

In his biting political satire called ?A Modest Proposal,? Jonathan Swift seeks to create empathy for the poor through his ironic portrayal of the children of Irish beggars as commodities that can be regulated and even eaten. He is able to poke fun at the dehumanization of the multitudes of poor people in Ireland by ironically commenting on what he sees as an extension of the current situation. Swift?s essay seeks to comment on the terrible condition of starvation that a huge portion of Ireland has been forced into, and the inane rationalizations that the rich are quick to submit in order to justify the economic inequality. He is able to highlight the absurdity of these attempted explanations by presenting cannibalism as a logical (although not particularly valid or sound), mathematically calculated alternative to the current situation. In doing so Swift is able to shock the readers into defending the poor. Through his emotionless tones and clever diction, Swift seeks to stir up the readers? feelings of indignation and compassion and thus help remind them that people are human beings and deserve to be treated as such, and not treated as figures in mathematical equations or pieces of meat.
He begins by sucking the readers in through addressing a very real problem; the proliferation of beggers accompanied by malnourished children. He mentions the ?deplorable state of the kingdom? where young children?s futures are so limited that they will either turn theives for want of work? or ?sell themselves? into slavery. As soon as swift has gained the readers? attention he switches into his ironic, methodical mode. He begins to attempt to appeal to authority through his mention of having ?turned (his) thoughts for many years upon this important subject. Before even mentioning what his intended proposal is, swift begins to speak in terms of computations and statistics and use diction to give the poor a sub-human quality in order to divert the attention from the horrific nature of what he is about to propose. Swift first hints that peasants are being treated as less than human by refering to a newborn baby as being ?dropped from its dam.? He then begins to refer t owives as not mothers, but ?breeders. After having almost entirely erased the human element of the famine, he then inductively introduces his grueso...

... middle of paper ...

... recognizes that, at this point, most readers will be very open to other suggestions other than feasting on the flesh of babies. Now, only after having used the most extreme shock shock tactics is Swift able to reach his audience with his true suggestions. At this point he juxtaposes his very logical solutions with his proposal, which serves as a metaphor for the rich?s exploitation (feasting on) the poor.
Through his use of satire and irony, Swuft?s writing reaches out to the readers to expose curroption and exploitation. Johnathan Swift is able to express his true voice and win the readers support while saying the exact opposite of what he truly means. He is able to toy with the emotions of the readers to the point where they are so shocked by and eager to disagree with his proposition that they find themselves more receptive to his true thinking.


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.

Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

This essay is 100% guaranteed.

Title Length Color Rating  
Rhetorical Analysis in A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift Essay - Jonathan Swift is the speaker in the story, A Modest Proposal. He is also the author of many other books and stories. In the text of A Modest Proposal, Swift addresses what he believes to be a big issue in the magnificent country of Ireland, Dublin to be exact. Therefore, he proposes a solution to the problem, however, the solution is not what we would call humane, orthodox, reasonable, or even one that we would consider performing today. Swift wrote this piece for anyone that can read and comprehend what the text implies....   [tags: ireland, good will] 538 words
(1.5 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Rhetorical Analysis of a Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift Essay - ... Then in the other quote he compares the mothers to animals pregnant with offspring you can up-and-sell. He also states to use 15,000 women and 5,000 men for breeders (Swift 3), as a rancher would his heifers and his bulls. In this satire he uses a bunch of pathos. He starts off painting a scene of the “melancholy” streets in Ireland being 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). By doing this he captures the reader’s attention and emotionally makes them realize that there is a problem in Ireland and that it needed fixed....   [tags: humanity, unethical, solution, emotion] 635 words
(1.8 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Rhetorical Analysis: A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift Essay - A “Modest Proposal” is written by a man who had been exiled from England and forced to live among Irish citizens for many years during which he observed major problems in Ireland that needed a solution. The writer of this piece is Jonathan Swift, and in his proposal, “The Modest Proposal,” Swift purpose is to offer a possible solution to the growing problem of the homeless and poverty stricken women and children on the streets of Ireland. Swift adopts a caring tone in order to make his proposal sound reasonable to his audience, trying to convince them that he truly cares about the problems facing Ireland’s poor and that making the children of the poor readily available to the rich for enter...   [tags: homeless, poverty, ireland] 1109 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Rhetorical Analysis of a Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift - A Modest Proposal is a satirical essay written by Jonathan Swift in order to prevent the children of poor people in Ireland, from being a burden to their parents or the country, and make them beneficial to the public; yet in actuality suggest methods to help the impoverished Irish. In the essay, Swift takes on a droll tone in order to convey outrageous solutions allowing him to state his real solutions to people of England. The dilemma Swift addresses is the way the Irish are being oppressed by the English....   [tags: children, hunger, poverty, irish] 588 words
(1.7 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Analysis of A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift Essay - This essay by Jonathan Swift is a brutal satire in which he suggests that the poor Irish families should kill their young children and eat them in order to eliminate the growing number of starving citizens. At this time is Ireland, there was extreme poverty and wide gap between the poor and the rich, the tenements and the landlords, respectively. Throughout the essay Swift uses satire and irony as a way to attack the indifference between classes. Swift is not seriously suggesting cannibalism, he is trying to make known the desperate state of the lower class and the need for a social and moral reform in Ireland....   [tags: essays research papers] 453 words
(1.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about Analysis of Jonathan Swift´s A Modest Proposal - ... “…exactly at one Year old […] who instead of wanting Food and Raiment for the rest of their Lives; they shall, on the contrary, contribute to the Feeding, and partly to the Cloathing, of many thousands.” At first the audience doesn’t quite understand what is said until they read it again, and again, and again till realization hits them. He suggested, not only dining on younglings, but wearing them also. Swift, the crazy mastermind, used a tactic that not only seemed completely obscured, but blew the minds of many and definitely earned their attention....   [tags: Poverty, Ireland]
:: 4 Works Cited
529 words
(1.5 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Humanity versus Inhumanity: An Analysis of Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal - Through the creation of a pompous, highly educated and sophisticated proposer, in Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal, the targeted audience, the absentee landlords and parliament of England, and the reader naturally identify with the proposer. The proposer’s rigorous logic, serious and cynical tone deduces the ghastly proposition of cannibalism for economic, political, moral, and nationalistic gain. However, through the targeted audience’s identification with the proposer, Swift is able to propose the ironic humanity of his satirical proposal and thus indict colonial landlordism in Ireland and in Enlightenment ideals....   [tags: education, sophisticates prosper]
:: 1 Works Cited
1073 words
(3.1 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
A Modest Proposal, by Jonathan Swift Essay - Irony is a beautiful technique exercised to convey a message or call a certain group of people to action. This rhetorical skill is artfully used by Jonathan Swift in his pamphlet “A Modest Proposal.” The main argument for this bitingly ironic essay is to capture the attention of a disconnected and indifferent audience. Swift makes his point by stringing together a dreadfully twisted set of morally untenable positions in order to cast blame and aspersions on his intended audience. Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” employs despicably vivid satire to call for change in a world of abuse and misfortune....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Satire] 1159 words
(3.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Analysis of A Modest Proposal Essay - Jonathan Swift, the writer of the satirical essay A Modest Proposal, grew up and lived in Ireland during times of famine and economic struggles (Conditions). Growing up with a single mother and no father, Swift knew what hard times and struggles were like (Jonathan Swift: Biography). His essay proposes an easy solution to the economic problems going on in Ireland for both the wealthy ruling classes and the poorer classes, although his intentions and the meaning behind his words are not what would be originally thought when initially reading the essay....   [tags: Jonathan Swift]
:: 1 Works Cited
859 words
(2.5 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
A Modest Proposal Essay - People have been trying to come up with solutions to threatening epidemics from many years. There was a famine in Ireland that killed many people. The poor people of Ireland could not support their families, which made them go to extreme measures. In order to survive, women and children were forced to beg for food to prevent them from starving to death. Jonathan Swift proposes a solution to this epidemic in A Modest Proposal. Swift states that the poor Irish should sell their children as if they were cattle, or better yet, eat the children themselves....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Jonathan Swift] 817 words
(2.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]