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A Modest Proposal
Transcript of A Modest Proposal
Jonathan Swift Continue...
Swift's mother struggled to provide for him as an infant and thus gave him to his uncle for a better life.
Understanding A Modest Proposal
The fact that Jonathan's mother struggled to provide for him at such a young age demonstrates a correlation as to how poverty and young women in both the satire and his life may have had to go through in the past.
Jonathan Swift is taking on a persona of someone who is looking down upon the Irish.
He was an Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer , poet and cleric who later became Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.
Most of his writings were published under pseudonyms. ( nicknames)
Born on November 30, 1667 in Dublin, Ireland.
Jonathan Swift's family had literary connections.
His grandmother, Elizabeth (Dryden) Swift, was the niece of Sir Erasmus Dryden, grandfather of the grand poet John Dryden.
The Irish. The audience is bias towards this viewpoint because they are personally experiencing what is happening to them.
The Modest Proposal was written to raise awareness of the issues happening in Ireland, mainly about the Irish economic crisis and also the oppression of the Irish.
Appeal to Logic
1. "The number of souls in this kingdom being usually reckoned one million and a half, of these I Calculate there may be about two hundred thousand couple..." (Page 2, Paragraph 1)
2. "I have already computed the charge of nursing a beggar's child (in which list I reckon all cottagers ..." (Page 3, Paragraph 3)
- The speaker is appealing to the audience by making his proposal seem logical by playing with numbers and statistical data.
3. "Neither indeed can I deny, that if the same use were made of several plump young girls in this town, who without one single groat to their fortune..." (Page 4, Paragraph 1)
- The speaker uses logic once again when he is making a comparison. He says that if this town located on the island of Formosa practices the selling of young, plump girls, why should Ireland not use the same practice to better their living conditions.
Appeal to Emotions
1. "I think it is agreed by all parties... is in the present deplorable state of the kingdom... therefore whoever
could find out a fair, cheap..." (Page 1, Paragraph 2)
2. "I am assured by our merchants, that a boy or a girl... will not yield above three pounds..." (Page 2, Paragraph 2)
3. "I have been assured... that a young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food..." (Page 2, Paragraph 4)
APPEALS: ETHOS, PATHOS, & LOGOS
Appeals to Credibility
- By looking down upon the Irish and making them mean inferior and bad-mouthing the young Irish children, the speaker is able to appeal the the Irish readers and instill upon them anger and hatred which is meant to bring about an awareness of how the Irish were being treated.
4. "... we can incur no damage in disobliging England." (Page 6, Paragraph 2)
5. "First, As things now stand, how will they be able to find food and raiment for a hundred thousand useless mouths and backs." (Page 6, Paragraph 3)
- By telling that the proposal is a way to solve Ireland's problem without causing trouble for and hindering England and also calling Irishmen useless, Swift's goal is to appeal to the readers emotions of hatred.
1. "As to my own part, having turned my thoughts for many years, upon this important subject..." (Page 1, Paragraph 2)
-By telling his readers that he has been observing what was going on in Ireland for many years, it give the speaker credibility that he knows what he is talking about.
2. "As I have been informed by a principle gentleman in the country of Cavan..." (Page 2, Paragraph 1)
3. "I am assured by our merchant, that a boy or a girl before twelve years old, is no saleable..." (Page 2, Paragraph 2)
4. "I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food..." (Page 2, Paragraph 4)
- In order to give himself and what he is proposing more credibility, the speaker enlist the help of other people who have either witness or are involved with what he is proposing and all of them say that the proposal has benefits.
How does the speaker convince the audience of his proposal?
- Besides the use of ethos, logos, and pathos to get his readers to follow his proposal, the speaker uses a lot of sarcasm and irony.
"Of taxing our absentees at five shillings a pound: Of using neither cloaths, nor household furniture..." (Page 5, Paragraph 5)
-The irony in this is that as the speaker, Swift is proposing ways of "helping" the Irishmen by selling their kids off. When he comes to this part of the essay, he tells the readers not to do these things when in reality these are the things they should be doing.
In the end, the speaker is ultimately able to convey his true motive for writing this essay by saying straightforwardly that he does not really promote what he has written but instead want to help by providing for the poor and advancing trade.
"I profess, in the sincerity of my , that I have not the least personal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary work..." (Page 6, Paragraph 4)
During the 1700's, famine was a big problem in poor families.
In the early 1700's there was much conflict between the Catholics and Protestants. Much of the problem dealt with religious and political views. However, there was a greater population of Catholics than Protestants. But, during this time Protestants were the ones that were in power and control.
Time Period: (1729)
"A Modest Proposal", is a Juvenalian satirical essay written and published anonymously by Jonathan Swift in 1729.
Swift suggests that the impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food for rich gentlemen and ladies.
Swift wanted to to draw attention to the issue of poverty by being descriptive and also make us the audience believe that it is unethical to eat another human being.
England essentially had total power over Ireland's government. While the cannibalization of infants represents the rich feeding on the poor, it also points towards the English feeding upon the Irish.
1. What were some of the thoughts that you had over the proposal Swift talked about throughout his essay? How did it affect you? Emotionally? Mentally?
Jonathan also attempts to promote unity, addressing the lack of trust that fellow countrymen have for what Ireland has to offer, as well as the problem of factions/divisions amongst the population (e.g. Catholics and Protestants)
Jonathan Swift proposes a solution that causes other problems. While, the economic crisis solution is solved the population is declining, but this will prompt the Irish to think of more solutions that will eventually lead Ireland to flourish and thrive.
Swift looks into a more detail proposition about changing the Irish lifestyle. He proposes that women should change their status in society by saying " of curing the expensiveness of pride, vanity, idleness, and gaming in our women."(5)
2. How effective do you think Swift's essay was to his reader? Do you think that this was the best way he could have gotten his message across to his readers? Would it have been more effective if he used another way to get his message across? If so, how?
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"A Modest Proposal." Wikimedia Foundation, 01 Dec. 2014. Web. 15 Jan. 2014
3. How do you think the Irish reacted upon reading Swift's essay/pamphlet? Do you think they were able to see through the satire and understand the problems in Ireland that Swift was addressing? What if "A Modest Proposal" was published under his real name rather than anonymously?
Under the care of his uncle, Swift got his bachelor's degree from Trinity College and then worked as a statesman's assistant.
Jonathan attempts to instill a sense of nationalism in the Irish, bringing to light other problems besides the economy--such as a lack of domestic production and the ruthlessness of landlords to their tenants.