" A modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift

Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateA-, November 1996

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A Modest Proposal is everything that a satirical story should be. It includes sarcasm and irony as Jonathan Swift takes us through a roller coaster ride to show us how the poor are treated miserably.

The narrator begins by leading us down a path. He seems sincere and thinks it is a pity how everywhere you walk in the streets of Dublin you see the poor begging people for hand outs. He is seeking a solution to help the commonwealth.

He appears to be a logical, educated person who makes it clear that he has been studying this subject for years. He then tells us that he has a solution to help the babies whose parents cannot afford them. We think his idea will be charitable and will actually help the poor as well as the nation.

The narrator then does something that I think set the tone for the rest of the story.

He referred to a baby just born as being dropped from its dam. Animals are dropped from dams, not humans. Therefore poor people in this story are nothing more than animals.

We are told how the children are a burden and how instead of requiring food and clothing the rest of their lives, they will contribute to the feeding and clothing of many people. Any intelligent person would assume he intends to put them in factories or farms to work and not be on the streets begging for food. We are also told that his plan will prevent voluntary abortions and women murdering their bastard babies.

The narrator shows the reader he is serious by producing calculations that appear to be well thought-out and then showing us, through examples, That these children have no future.

Up to this point the narrator appears to be intelligent. He...