Persuasive letter in support of Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal"

Essay by hdp916High School, 10th gradeA+, July 2004

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Hersh Patel

11 Psalmanazar Place

Jebediah, Idaho 94532

5 December 2003

Samuel S. Smarmy

10 Shillings Place

Jebediah, Idaho 94532

Respected Mr. Smarmy:

You and I, the residents of this auspicious town, share one view in that we pursue the world's finest education for the cerebral development of our promising youth. We supply our beloved children with an eternal array of literary works, which aim to provide facts and techniques that relate to certain fields, such as English, mathematics, or science. Yet, the question arises as to what Jonathan Swift presents, as in a fact or technique, in his morbid essay, "A Modest Proposal", that compels our astute teachers to accept his repulsive work as a part of our children's educational curriculum. You, and even I at one time, felt "mortified" by the literal implication of Swift's "appall[ing]" essay; however, I now present a "modest proposal," that you and I once more explore this text in the same manner that exemplified, to me, the wealth of knowledge actually hidden within this literary creation and which actually awaits to be unearthed by our perspicacious children.

At a glance, most readers may ask, what meaning or idea may a student extract from the absurd notion that a "young healthy child is... a most delicious, nourishing, wholesome food"? It is, however, this obvious absurdity and questionability of Swift's writing that obliges the reader, after much thought, to derive the true purpose of this literary work; obviously, no teacher shall accept a work of literature that has no purpose. By this mind set, one may identify that Swift, in his essay "A Modest Proposal" endeavors to expose the inhumanity that exists rampant in Ireland during the seventeenth century through the use of satirical elements.

It is necessary to consider the...