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A Modest Proposal- Jonathan Swift
Transcript of A Modest Proposal- Jonathan Swift
Swift uses dark satire to make his point, which captures the attention of his audience.
The audience is first shocked and angered by such a proposal.
Remember: Swift gives actual statistical support and specific data about the number of children, weight, and price according to market and demand. Jonathon Swift A Modest
Proposal "for Preventing the Children of poor People in Ireland, from being a Burden to their Parents or Country; and for making them beneficial to the Publick." Written in 1729, Jonathon Swift wrote "A Modest Proposal" as an attack on the worsening conditions in Dublin, Ireland.
It is one of Swift's most drastic pieces. Starting Off "It is a meloncholy object to those who walk through this great town (Dublin, Ireland), or travel in the country, when they see the streets. . . crowded with beggars of the female-sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags, and importuning every passenger for an alms" . . .
"I think it is agreed by all parties, that this prodigious number of children. . . is in the present deplorable state of the kingdom, a very great additional grievance. . . Swift's Proposal:
"Find a cheap, fair, and easy method of making these childen sound and useful members of the commonwealth." (paragraph 2)
He proposed that the solution is to fatten up these undernourished children and feed them to the wealthy class in Ireland. [Pg. 315] Arguments: 1. Extra income for families.
"the poor tenants will have something valuable of their own, which by law may be made liable to distress and help pay their landlord's rent." (pg. 318)
"the constant breeders. . . will be rid of the charge of maintaining them after the first year" (pg. 319)
2. Overall economic income
"The nation's stock will be thereby increased fifty thousand pounds per annum. . . and the money will circulate among ourselves, the goods being entirely of our own growth and manufacture." (pg. 318- 319) Arguments: 3. Food
". . . hundred thousand [children] may, at a year old, be offered in sale to the persons of quality and fortune through the kingdom; always advising the mother to let them suck plentifully in the last month, so as to render them plump and fat for a good table." (pg. 316)
"Lessening the number of papists, which who we are yearly overrun" (pg 318)
"this would be a great inducement to marriage. . . it would increase the care and tenderness of mothers. . . Men would become as fond of their wives during pregnancy, as they are now of their mares in foal" Ireland During this Time
There was a great deal of poverty, overpopulation, and hardships.
In 1700, Dublin had about 60,000 inhabitants and continued to grow.
In 1729, many hospitals for unwanted children opened in Dublin http://www.localhistories.org/dublin.html This essay is attacking the leaders of the time for their inefficacy. He is criticizing all of Ireland for their vices and inability to mobilize on their own behalf. Though this essay is a satire, it did not shock or outrage readers as Swift planned it would. Much of his audience took it as a joke or ignored it. "While Swift’s essay is disturbing in both its account of the living conditions of the poor and the inhuman suggestion that the infants of the poor be slaughtered, the absolute degradation of the times demanded this level of cynicism and harsh criticism." http://suite101.com/article/the-ireland-of-jonathan-swifts-a-modest-proposal-a308895 Jonathan Swift wrote that: "Satire, is a sort of glass where beholders generally discover everybody's face but their own; which is the chief reason for that kind reception it meets with in the world, and that so very few are offended with it." When reading, you must remember Swift is the king of satire. Swift argues his extreme position throughout the essay. His arguments are based explicitly on actual facts and scientific rationality...