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Elements of Satire and "A Modest Proposal"

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Sam Iwai

on 26 March 2013

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Transcript of Elements of Satire and "A Modest Proposal"

Elements of Satire
"A Modest Proposal" What is "A Modest Proposal" parodying? Parody Three types of irony:
Situational Irony Some funny examples of situational irony Swift doesn't really want to eat babies does he? So what's the point? Yeah, why? Why should we care? Get into groups of threeish, pick one of these modern day issues, and come up with your own "modest proposal" for solving them. Use the satirical techniques we have been learning about (irony, hyperbole, sarcasm) for full credit. Your turn! Is Jonathan Swift writing as himself? Or is he taking on a persona? Which type of irony is most commonly used in "A Modest Proposal"? Examples? What's the other type of irony which Swift uses?

Examples? The average cost of rehabilitating a seal after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska was $80,000. At a special ceremony, two of the most expensively saved animals were released back into the wild amid cheers and applause from onlookers. A minute later they were both eaten by a killer whale.

A psychology student in New York rented out her spare room to a carpenter in order to nag him constantly and study his reactions. After weeks of needling, he snapped and beat her
repeatedly with an axe, leaving her mentally retarded.

In 1992, Frank Perkins of Los Angeles made an attempt on the world flagpole-sitting record.
Suffering from the flu, he came down eight hours short of the 400-day record, to find that his
sponsor had gone bust, his girlfriend had left him and his phone and electricity had been cut off.

A woman came home to find her husband in the kitchen, shaking frantically with what looked
like a wire running from his waist towards the electric kettle. Intending to jolt him away from
the deadly current she whacked him with a handy plank of wood by the back door, breaking his
arm in two places. Till that moment he had been happily listening to his Walkman.

Two animal rights protesters were protesting at the cruelty of sending pigs to a slaughterhouse
in Bonn. Suddenly the pigs, all two thousand of them, escaped through a broken fence and
stampeded, trampling the two hapless protesters to death.

Iraqi terrorist Khay Rahnajet didn' t pay enough postage on a letter bomb. It came back with
"return to sender" stamped on it. Forgetting it was the bomb, he opened it and was blown to
bits. Then why does he suggest it? Who is he satirizing? What modern day issues can we compare to those which Swift talks about in "AMP"? Are those modern day issues getting solved in a timely fashion?

Why or why not? The recession
The energy crisis
The war on terror
The obesity epidemic
Reality TV
Low attendance rates at PHS
Any other ideas you can think of! What is the effect of Swift's using irony in this way?
Full transcript