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

This essay is 100% guaranteed.

Title Length Color Rating  
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]
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 by Jonathan Swift Essay - Any change to spare. To roam the streets of Ireland is to walk through a country full of depression, as this is one of the commonly asked questions by the many beggars on its streets. It is the combination of the English, the overpopulation and the prosperous landowners of Ireland that are the cause of the poverty and melancholy of the population. The appalling economic and social conditions that deprive the Irish prevent them from providing sufficient care for both themselves and their children....   [tags: Satire, Essay Analysis, Ireland] 911 words
(2.6 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]
Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal Essay - A satire uses irony or sarcasm to make a point. Many authors use satire to bring society’s attention to political, social, or economic problems in a somewhat humorous way. Some authors even use satire in an attempt to correct the religious practices of the society. Satire is an effective way to highlight problems because it is non-threatening but it grabs the attention of the reader. Jonathan Swift wrote his satirical essay “A Modest Proposal” to bring attention to the political, economic, and social problems of Ireland in 1729....   [tags: Literary Analysis ]
:: 6 Works Cited
2110 words
(6 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
The Lady's Dressing Room and A Modest Proposal Essay - In Jonathan Swift’s, The Lady’s Dressing Room and A Modest Proposal, Swift implements a satirical persona of identities, may it be, a concerned economist who suggests that children be traded as food to the wealthy in order to elevate the public good within society or a distraught man in the midst of a lady’s dressing room rationalizing a woman’s moral appearance, Swift's satirical personality lies within the persona of the sympathetic-cruelties of his own moral society and opinions. Throughout both texts, Swift’s arguments and satirical claims are both supported throughout the methods and techniques of metaphorical language, irony, structure and imagery....   [tags: Jonathan Swift, Analysis] 881 words
(2.5 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay Analysis of Irony - Irony, by its definition, is a rhetorical device or literary technique that conveys a subsurface meaning which is exactly opposite from the literal meaning of its evident words. Writers tend to employ such a technique to evoke readers’ reconsiderations about the issue that stated by the writer. Jonathan Swift in his A Modest Proposal throws out what he called a “modest proposal”, which is utterly horrific and inhuman, to address the poverty problem. Mark Twin, too, expresses his enthusiastic and patriotic emotion towards the war in his The War Prayer....   [tags: Jonathan Swift, Modest Proposal] 744 words
(2.1 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal Essay - In Jonathan Swift’s essay, “A Modest Proposal”, Swift proposes that the poor should eat their own starving children during a great a famine in Ireland. What would draw Swift into writing to such lengths. When times get hard in Ireland, Swift states that the children would make great meals. The key factor to Swift’s essay that the reader must see that Swift is not literally ordering the poor to cannibalize. Swift acknowledges the fact of the scarcity of food and empathizes with the struggling and famished souls of Ireland through the strange essay....   [tags: A Modest Proposal] 1381 words
(3.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Jonathan Swift: The Great Satirist Essay - Jonathan Swift is known as one the greatest satirists in literature. His experience in religion, politics and science allow his works to be considered genius in the world of writing. Swift’s writing laid the foundation for several satirical successors. Swift was born in 1667 in Dublin, Ireland. His father had passed away “right before [he] was born” (Draper 3531). He was left “in the care of relatives” for the first three years of his life, while his mother returned to England to take care of business (Cody)....   [tags: Jonathan Swift]
:: 6 Works Cited
1729 words
(4.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]