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The Effectiveness of A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift Essay example

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The Effectiveness of A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift


"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" - Jonathan Swift 1729.

In reading this you will discover the answer to the above question in
three parts;

· How effective is it as an argument

· How effective is it as a piece of information

· How effective is it as satire

"A Modest Proposal" first appeared in public in 1729, Swift wrote this
article after all of his previous suggestions had been rejected by the
Irish authorities. Swift felt the English government had
psychologically exiled him and this greatly added to the rage he felt
over the way the Irish People were treated or rather mistreated by the
English. Although Swift's highest and most prominent concerns were for
his own class, the Anglo-Irish, he in the end spoke for the nation as
a whole.

Swift defined satire as;

'A sort of glass wherein the holders do generally discover everybody's
face but their own, which is the chief reason for that kind of
reception it meets in the world, and that so very few are offended
with it."

Swift presents his "Proposal" as an entirely reasonable suggestion to
aid the Irish, he enumerates the many benefits, counters the
objections many may have, uses rhetoric reasoning and proves his
humanitarianism views.

Swift has written in considerable detail over the degree of poverty in
Ireland, he draws attention to the causes of it obliquely and proves
in great detail that his "Proposal" will work and in which ways it
does work.

Ireland was a colony of England; it was economically, politically and
militarily dependent on ...


... middle of paper ...


...tire

Swift has successfully drawn attention to the extremely dire economic
state of Ireland and the incompetence of the British government to
solve or even begin to contemplate, in Swift's mind, these problems.
This "Proposal" should be viewed as a fictional work, designed to
entertain the upper-class whilst enlightening them upon the conditions
of poverty in their own country.

This "Proposal" could be viewed as an attempt to change the ways in
which both England and Ireland viewed the state of Ireland, which was
in a lethargic state. It is masterful in its own nature, the way in
which Swift has challenged the prospect of changing lives and living
conditions, while entertaining the audience at the same time.

The true irony in "A Modest Proposal" lies not in analysing the minute
details, but rather in the context of the "Proposal" as it is written.


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