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Analysis of A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift
Transcript of Analysis of A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift
Swift's proposal was targeted towards the rapidly increasing industrialists in the Industrial Revolution who were only concerned with how they could maximize profits and the opponents of the Irish in order to mock them and possibly change their ideas
A Modest Proposal was written in 1729 in Ireland, in a time when the Irish were overpopulated and poor
A Modest Proposal relies on satire in order to convey its true message. It mocks the amoral oppressors by showing them a logical extension of their actions in a way so that they have no choice but to disagree.
Why is it funny? p1
A Modest Proposal relies on the Relief and Incongruity Theories in order to evoke humor
Why is it funny? p3
A Modest Proposal initially builds up tension by only alluding to what the actual proposal is. In Paragraphs 1-3 it describes the situation that requires help, and then 4-8 describes advantages before actually proposing. Only in Paragraph 9 is the tension released with the proposal.
Why is it funny? p4
A Modest Proposal is also funny because it mocks the rhetorical style of only displaying positive attributes of plans. Swift lists out pro after pro of his idea, with each one getting smaller and less significant, but refuses to accept that their could be any arguments against it, leaving out its most obvious flaw, which is that cannibalism is wrong.
A Modest Proposal
by Jonathan Swift
A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick
Why is it funny? p2
The main humor comes from the Incongruity of the proposal. While solutions such as child labor might be expected given the advantages put forward, nobody would think of eating the children. This shocks the reader and gives a sense of surprise and shock as Swift continues to enumerate the positives to his plan.
Other Examinations of A Modest Proposal
A Modest Proposal is often considered a classic of satirical writing
It has been imitated in many works including:
A Modest Proposal
- Frank Shaeffer
A Modest Proposal for America
- Howard Friedman
- Kurt Cobain
Fear and Loathing In America
- Hunter S. Thompson