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A Modest Proposal Essay

619 words - 3 pages

A Modest proposal

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A Modest Proposal
“A Modest Proposal”, an article containing recommendations for preventing Ireland children from becoming a burden to their poor parents, is not modest by any means. Written in 1729 by Jonathan Swift, it highlights the plight of poor citizens in their quest to cater for their children. The author starts by describing the pitying sight of begging women on the streets together with their unkempt children. Their future is described as being bleak, as they can only end up as thieves, dishonorable fighters, or slaves. Due to the article’s opening statements, one might expect the author to propose a course of action that would benefit the children, parents, and the country at large. However, the surprise comes about when he suggests that, “...a young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious ...view middle of the document...

The end of the article also states that the writer has children of his own, offering yet another surprise. One would expect him to be a young childless person, or even an old bachelor who is lonely and miserable, not a married person who has fathered children.
Before he posted his recommendation, Swift engaged in a deliberate effort to build upon his argument. He stated that instead of being a burden to their parents, children can “...contribute to the feeding, and partly to the cloathing of many thousands...” He also added that he has given the matter reasonable thought, which leads the reader to conclude that whatever will be suggested will be quite reasonable. After the initial shock of his unusual utterances, the author attempts to convince the reader of the validity of his remarks. He first states that the human dish would be a delicacy that can be prepared through a number of ways, and that it would ensure an increase of food supply in the nation. This scores no points as the only notion at the back of my mind is that it is an act of murder made out of selfish interest. However, he points out that the matter is out of the parents’ interest, and even dares someone with an opposing view to ask the children’s parents whether it would not have been better for them to be sold and feasted upon as infants. This would have saved them from misfortune suffered throughout their lives.
Though the author presents strong arguments in favor of turning children into meals, his attempts to convince me have borne no fruit. First, he regards parents as having no feelings concerning the plight of their children. Secondly, he does not consider the perspectives of the children, who are the victims in the whole issue. As such, his discussion represented only one point of view and did not consider all angles. It would therefore be deduced that his attempts at presenting his case are unrealistic and would only apply in a storybook setting.
Reference
Swift, J. (1729, January 1). Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" Retrieved January 30, 2015, from http://www.victorianweb.org/previctorian/swift/modest.html
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