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A Modest Proposal

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on 16 December 2013

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Transcript of A Modest Proposal

A Modest Proposal
Jonathan Swift

Historical Context
- The article essay written by Jonathan Swift was a satirical essay published anonymously. It gave a drastic solution to the famine and poverty running rampant in Ireland,

- In the early 1700s Ireland was ruled by England

- Ireland could only buy products from England at high prices

- The English landlords, who owned much of Ireland's best land and charged outrageous rates.
Summary
Swift is tired of seeing beggars in the street. He proposes that the Irish turn to the most nutritious and abundant food sources, children. He makes the argument that many poor people are having too many children when they can't feed them any way.
The essay comes across as serious, but as the article goes on, it becomes increasingly clear that Swift is satirizing the Irish and English governments.
What is Satire?
Satire aims to expose the vices, follies or flaws of a person or group of people by making them seem ridiculous. Satirists' main weapon is humor, which they create through devices such as exaggeration and it's opposite understatement

Elements of satire:
-Irony
-Parody
-Exaggeration
-Double Entendre or pun
Jonathan Swift

- Thought to be the greatest prose writer of the 18th century

- An outcast to many because of his views and critical attitude toward society and humanity as a whole

-Born in Dublin in 1667 to Irish parents
Irony
verbal irony is the dominant figure of speech in "A Modest Proposal"
Definition of verbal irony: irony in which a person says or writes one thing and means another, or uses words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of the literal meaning.
Swift uses verbal irony to make his argument that the Irish deserve to be treated better and receive help from the English.
Examples of Irony in A Modest Proposal
Title of "A Modest Proposal"
a list of actual solutions
taxing absentee landowners
buying domestic products
practicing thrift
unifying and determining to work toward a better solution
speakers wife and children
Media Examples of Irony
Parody
What is Parody?
Examples of Parody in A Modest Proposal
(RAP)
Media Examples of Parody
Double Entendre
A word or phrase open to two interpretations, one of which is usually risqué or indecent.
Can also convey a message that would be socially awkward, or even offensive, to state directly.
Double entendres rely on multiple meanings of words, or different interpretations of the same primary meaning.
Media Examples
A literary or artistic work that imitates the characteristic style of an author or a work for comic effect or ridicule
When looking for parody in
A Modest Proposal
you do not have to look further then the proposal itself. The
Modest Proposal
itself

is a parody of Swifts other proposals and a parody of Ireland's government and it's proposals to solve issues. Ex: Poverty
Exaggeration
The literary term for exaggerate is hyperbole. It is a figure of speech that is used to create emphasis. The exaggeration is normally obvious & intentional.
Often times, exaggeration is used in sarcasm, which is one of the main elements of satire as well.
Exaggeration in A Modest Proposal
"But my intention is very far from being confined to provide only for the children of professed beggars; it is of a much greater extent..."
"always advising the mother to let them suck pletinfully in the last month, so as to render them plump, and fat for a good table."
Media Examples of Exaggeration
The End
Examples in a Modest Proposal
Swift uses devoured as a double entendre: "I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for landlords, who, as they have already
devoured
most of the parents, seem to have the best title to the children."
referring to begging, starving others as "strolling" about and looking for something to feed their kids
Full transcript