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A Modest Proposal: Lesson 1

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Megan Pastore

on 24 October 2013

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Transcript of A Modest Proposal: Lesson 1

A Modest Proposal

Who was Jonathan Swift?
Political/Religious Climate
English reformation begins in response to overwhelming power and corruption of Catholic Church, pope, priests, etc.
Printing press: buy a bible instead of going to church
Martin Luther's "Ninety-Five Theses" published (protested clerical abuses, indulgences)
Catholic Mary I (Bloody Mary) ascends throne; restores medieval heresy laws (283 Protestants burnt at the stake)
After Mary dies without an heir, a line of Anglican monarchs follow (also anti-Catholic; more tolerant of Protestantism)
Protestantism spreads until there are more Protestants than Catholics
England takes control of Ireland (after years of brutal conflict)
Last Catholic monarch, James II, ascends thrown; English call for him to be overthrown, igniting the Glorious Revolution
Protestant William of Orange takes power
English exert harsh military and governmental control over Ireland and try to force Protestantism on its mostly Catholic population
Social/Financial Climate
Penal laws make Catholicism illegal
Land confiscated from Irish and given to British settlers
1/3 of Ireland's population either die in rebellion or are exiled
By 1655, 12,000 Irish prisoners sold as slaves (to work in Caribbean, mostly Barbados)
Government controls farming, telling people what to grow; Irish meet quota and have none leftover to support themselves
Ireland in state of poverty and turmoil; deep resentment toward England
Part 1: The Problem
Turn to pg. 610
Read Part 1: The Problem (lines 1-60 [ends top of pg. 613])
Reread with focus on guided reading questions
FOR PREVENTING THE CHILDREN OF POOR PEOPLE IN IRELAND FROM BEING A BURDEN TO THEIR PARENTS AND COUNTRY, AND FOR MAKING THEM BENEFICIAL TO THE PUBLIC
By Jonathan Swift
"Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others."
-Jonathan Swift
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal:Speculative_fiction/Selected_works/Main
"We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another."
-Jonathan Swift
http://www.presseurop.eu/en/content/article/2652561-new-war-religion
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2328534/Scientists-finally-identify-unique-pathogen-caused-Irish-potato-famine.html
"Nothing is so hard for those who abound in riches as to conceive how others can be in want."
-Jonathan Swift
Personal Life
Literary Career
"A Tale of a Tub" (1704): first great work; satirizes religious extremes
"The Battle of the Books" (1704): satirizes literary debate over classical vs. modern works
Both published anonymously
Established his writing style
Series of pamphlets on religion, including "Argument Against Abolishing Christianity" (1708)
"Bickerstaff Papers" (1708): attacked astrologer John Partridge under pseudonym of Isaac Bickerstaff
Partridge made almanacs for extra money and claimed to be prophetic, foretelling the deaths of notable individuals
Swift predicted his "infallible death" and people believed it to be true
"The Drapier Letters" (1724-1725): published under the pseudonym M. B. Drapier in defiance of British control of Ireland; gained him much popularity amongst the Irish people
"Gulliver's Travels" (1726): satirizes human nature and societal problems; told Pope that he intends "to vex the world, not to divert it"
Labeled as a children's book; challenged people to read deeper
"A Modest Proposal" (1729)
Birth:
November 30, 1667
Dublin
Son of Protestant, Anglo-Irish parents
Father died before he was born; mother returns to England, leaving him with relatives
Education:
Kilkenny Grammar School
Trinity College (Bachelor's)
Oxford University (Master's)
Dublin University (Doctorate)
Wasn't the strongest student
Travel:
Moved frequently between Ireland and England (political turmoil, trying to make something of himself)
Religion:
Anglican (not Protestant, not Catholic)
Ordained as priest in Church of Ireland (branch of Anglican church)
Work:
Satirist
Secretary to Sir William Temple
Tutor
Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral (unhappy with position)
Editor of "The Examiner"
Founding member of Scriblerus Club (with Pope)
Political:
Becomes involved in political circles in England
Seeks tax relief for Irish clergymen; requests rejected by Queen Anne and Whig government (accused of being irreligious)
Grows disgusted with Whigs and allies himself with Tories
Health:
Meniere's Disease (inner ear problem causing vertigo and nausea)
Bouts of severe depression
Death:
October 14, 1745
Dublin
Age 77
Full transcript