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A Modest Proposal: Satire, Irony and Persuasive Techniques

A presentation concerning the use of satire, irony and persuasive writing techniques in Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal"
by

Daniel Floyd

on 16 March 2011

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Transcript of A Modest Proposal: Satire, Irony and Persuasive Techniques

A Modest Proposal Satire, Irony and Persuasive Techniques Think about your favorite commercial. Why does it appeal to you? Does it make you want to buy the product it is advertising? Why or why not? I can understand the persuasive techniques I encounter in literature and commercials.
I can discuss the use of satire and irony in a persuasive literary work.
LET'S DISCUSS COMMON
PERSUASIVE TECHNIQUES!* *see handout Discuss each technique with the others at your table. Now discuss your assigned topic with your group. Create an example (a real commercial will work). Be able to explain how it employs your technique. SATIRE There are two types of satire:
Horatian
Juvenalian Horatian

Named for the Roman satirist, Horace, this playfully criticizes some social vice through gentle, mild, and light-hearted humour. It directs wit, exaggeration, and self-deprecating humour toward what it identifies as folly, rather than evil. Horatian satire's sympathetic tone is common in modern society. Examples of Horatian Satire:

Alexander Pope's "The Rape of the Lock"
C.S. Lewis's "Screwtape Letters" Juvenalian

Named after the Roman satirist Juvenal, this type of satire is more contemptuous and abrasive than the Horatian. Juvenalian satire addresses social evil through scorn, outrage, and savage ridicule. This form is often pessimistic, characterized by irony, sarcasm, moral indignation and personal invective, with less emphasis on humour. Examples of Juvenalian:

George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four" and "Animal Farm"
Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451"
Anthony Burgess's "Clockwork Orange" Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" Can you think of other
modern examples? What purposes do these modern satires serve? Modern satires:

Monty Python
Terry Pratchett
South Park
Doonesberry
The Daily Show
The Colbert Report Before Stephen Colbert, there was Archie Bunker on the show
All in the Family. The show was similar to what you will see in A Modest Proposal.
Archie was supposed to represent a narrow-minded conservative,
but his views were supposed to be laughable and cause the viewer
to sympathize with the opposing viewpoint. IRONY Satire often makes use of the literary device irony and, in particular, verbal irony Verbal Irony is when a statement conveys a meaning that is the exact opposite of what is intended. Beautiful weather today, isn't it? In A Modest Proposal, Swift employs satire and irony in order to critique the treatment of poor people in Ireland. Without wanting to give away too much before the reading, it could be said that Swift considered the poor to be devoured by everyone else. With your group, discuss what issues you think should be satirized in our modern society. You have 5 minutes. You will be given a prompt for a writing assignment. Your exit slip for the day is to take the rest of the class to come up with ideas for the prompt. Possible issues, possible humorous things about the issue, possible solutions (both real and satiric). THE END
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