This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Swift's "A Modeste Proposal" Essay

2011 words - 9 pages

Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”

name

English 301

December 3, 20xx

In “A Modest Proposal” (1729), Jonathan Swift used satire for a double purpose: to attack those that he considered responsible for the financial situation of Ireland, and in the same time, to push those who were in a position of power to take rational measures against poverty in Ireland. In his poem, Swift made use of the image of the Projector; a character whose role is that o designing plans that would lead to some improvements being made in the society. Swift’s narrator in “A Modest Proposal” is an Economic Projector who imagines the entire plan from the point of view ...view middle of the document...

405).

Swift thus was inspired by the economists of his time in his construction of the cold, insensitive projector that proposes the cannibalistic strategy of enhancing Ireland’s economic situation. However, though it is clear that Swift did not agree with the economists’ ideas, which is obvious in his sarcastic impersonation of the projector, there is not a common understanding of Swift’s real intention regarding his narrator.

According to Thomas Lockwood (1979), there are two contrasting views in regards to Swift’s object of criticism in the poem. Apparently, some argue that Swift intended to criticize objectors by ironizing the way in which a projector would solve Ireland’s economic problem whereas according to another view, Swift only intended to criticize the situation itself. Lockwood argued in this respect that swift’s purpose was not that of attacking projectors though he was rather disappointed with them , “not because off their inhumanity or moral blindness, however, but rather their stupidity and ignorance in basing their schemes of reform on general economic theories”(p.255). This shows that Swift did not intend to realize a satire of the projectors, despite the fact that he did not necessarily like them, and did not consider that they hold the responsibility for what is going on in the country. Rather, the guilt was that of landlords who abused the poor and o the English government’s policies (Lockwood 1974).

Jonathan Swift is a writer, and the cause for which he fights is of personal interest to him. In Richardson’s view, Swift realized “a parody of abstract economic parody” as well as “a reflection, albeit exaggerated, of the real world” (2001, p. 405). He uses satire throughout his “Modest Proposal” in order to draw attention upon an important social issue and in order to argue that something must be done for the poor of Ireland, who are ripped from all means of subsistence. His arguments are directed against the rich Irish landowners, as well as against wealthy Englishmen who rip the skin of the poor people of Ireland. He thus proposes to literally do that to children of poor families: if their families sold them and the rich bought them, in order to use their skin for clothing, and eat their flesh, the economy would flourish. His argument is not controversial in shape. It is controversial in nature.

In order to understand the poem as swift intended it to be understood, one must first distinguish between the author’s voice and the narrator’s voice. According to Robert Phiddian, “the interpretation of the proposal has always involved awareness that it is not a ‘straight’ piece of economic projection, and that swift is operating independently of the narrator, in a covert manner”(1996, p.608). This means that the readers must interpret the poem in two different ways, as an economic proposal and as a political pamphlet. In other words, the narrator’s reality is not the same with the author’s reality. The...

Other Papers Like Swift's "A Modeste Proposal"

A Modest Proposal Essay

619 words - 3 pages 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 ----------------------- 3 1

Modest Proposal Essay

1098 words - 5 pages A Modest Proposal was a satirical essay written by Jonathan Swift depicting the horrific conditions of Ireland and the lives of the Irish people in 1729. Swift writes the satire disguised as a social planner of the time who as Swift satirizes were known to be overly rational rather than compassionate. The author portrays and attacks the cruel and unjust oppression of Ireland by its oppressor, the mighty English and ridicules the Irish people at

A Modest Proposal Analysis

2081 words - 9 pages value derives from the fact that the first portion of the essay describes the plight of starving beggars in Ireland, so that the reader is unprepared for the surprise of Swift's solution when he states, "A young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragoust." A Modest Proposal is

Gullivers Travels - Satire

1404 words - 6 pages consequences as Gulliver speaks in a factual and deadpan manner of the numerous deadly weapons which the European nations employ for destructive purposes. Swift continues his criticism of corruption and foolishness in individuals and society in his political pamphlet “A Modest Proposal” in which he denounces the exploitation of the weak, prejudice against the poor and dehumanisation of the Irish. Irony is used with skill and the reader must

Prescriptive Approach Vs Descriptive Approach To Language

946 words - 4 pages Francaise in 1635 to help regulate changes in the language. In 1712 Jonathan Swift tried to set up a language academy in the UK, and wrote a letter to the Earl of Oxford with a proposal for correcting and improving English. His letter was received in popular support, but it failed as there was a turn in political fortune. The Earl of Oxford and his fellow Tories, including Swift, lost power, and no organised language academy

Literary Devices

2851 words - 12 pages . Swift's Gulliver's Travels is a famous example. Chekhov's Marriage Proposal and O'Connor's "Everything That Rises Must Converge," have strong satirical elements. Setting The time and place of a literary work that establish its context. The stories of Sandra Cisneros are set in the American southwest in the mid to late 20th century, those of James Joyce in Dublin, Ireland in the early 20th century. Simile A figure of speech involving a comparison

How George Psalmanazar Escaped From History

4841 words - 20 pages Psalmanazar bold-facedly informed everyone, including missionaries who had lived there, that they were wrong.) His fame was undeniable; in Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal, you will find a half-jest referring the reader to "famous Psalmanazar" as the man to ask about cannibalism (Stagl, 202). He went to Oxford for six months; his assignment was to teach missionaries the language. Records differ on how many lectures he actually gave, but there is a

Freedom And Responsibility

2141 words - 9 pages Built within the Constitution of the United States are specifically defined freedoms that are guaranteed to all citizens. Conversely, with every constitutional freedom there comes a corresponding responsibility. On September 25, 1789, the state legislature’s twelve proposed amendments were transmitted by congress, the first two dealing with congressional representation and congressional pay. The following numbers three through twelve were

Hate Crime Laws

2348 words - 10 pages On June 7, 1998, 49-year-old James Byrd Jr. of Texas accepted a ride from three white men, who then beat him severely, urinated on him, chained him by his ankles to the back of their pick-up truck, dragged him for three miles into the countryside, and dumped his corpse in front of an African-American cemetery (Graczyk). A little over a year later, a jury sentenced ring leader John King to death by lethal injection (“Man Executed for Dragging

Rational Emotional Behavior Therapy Case Study Conceptualization And Treatment Plan

2140 words - 9 pages Rational Emotional Behavior Therapy Case Study of Sarah: A Conceptualization and Treatment Plan Rational emotive behavior therapy, REBT, was developed by Albert Ellis and holds the central belief that the events in our lives do not cause our disturbances but that they are instead caused by our view of the events (Murdock, 2009). Murdock (2009) states that “people are seen as responsible for their behavior” (p. 279) but, because they are

Holidays In Albania

1636 words - 7 pages Theth is a challenge for international and Albanian tourists that are passionate about canyons. Still, the best thing of the northern Albania remains the fact that it is rarely visited. Therefore, its nature is completely pristine, ready to satisfy all its visitors. If you are looking for summer vacations rather than wintery ones, the western Albanian seaside or eastern Ohrid lake would be suitable alternatives. My home country has a wonderful

Related Essays

Hum 112 Assignment 1

526 words - 3 pages solves Ireland’s social, political and economic problems more than any other plan that was suggested. References Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" (n.d.). Retrieved December 11, 2014, from http://www.victorianweb.org/previctorian/swift/modest.html Sayre, H. (2011). The Rise of the Enlightenment In England. In Humanities culture, continuity and change, books 4-6 (Vol. 2, pp. 775-776). S.l.: Prentice Hall.

A Modest Proposal Essay

561 words - 3 pages Vera Obi Prof Sarah Hanks ENG 1213 09/26/2015 A rhetorical analysis of “A modest Proposal”. In 1729 Jonathan Swift, author of “A Modest Proposal,” devised this proposal to show how backwards the social and general state Ireland was in. His proposal was to prevent the less fortunate children of Ireland from becoming a burden to their parents or country. As well as making them beneficial to the public. Jonathan Swift's reasoning

Socio Economic Conditions In 18th Century Ireland

1195 words - 5 pages home country begged in the streets and died of starvation in the gutters, England and her people sat idly by and grew fat on wealth garnered from Ireland (Read npg). The indignation and resentment Swift felt towards the English can be seen not only in A Modest Proposal. The Majority of Swift's work is jeering at best, indignant and bitingly cynical at worst. In 1727 Swift made his final trip to England. What he saw on this trip was the straw that

Jonathan Swift Essay

932 words - 4 pages satirical tone. He had to pretend to be heartless, so he said he would be willing sell his own children to be eaten. He needed to motivate the people to take action on this problem. He needed to move people’s emotions by using satire and exaggeration. 10. When originally published, some readers were outraged by Swift's proposal. At what point is it clear to you that "A Modest Proposal" is a satire? If I hadn’t been warned before I read the