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Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. A Modest Proposal satiric essay by Swift. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Learn More in these related Britannica articles: His most wide-ranging satiric work, however, is also his most famous: Swift grouped himself with Pope and Gay in hostility to….
His Modest Proposal is a masterpiece of comic incongruity, with its suave blend of rational deliberation and savage conclusion. The comic artistry of Alexander Pope is equally impressive.
Pope expressed his genius in the invective of his satiric portraits and in the range of moral…. The first is a series of letters attacking the English government for its scheme to supply Ireland with copper halfpence and farthings.
It is true, a child just dropped from its dam may be supported by her milk for a solar year, with little other nourishment; at most not above the value of 2s. There is likewise another great advantage in my scheme, that it will prevent those voluntary abortions, and that horrid practice of women murdering their bastard children, alas!
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 whose wives are breeders; from which number I subtract thirty thousand couples who are able to maintain their own children, although I apprehend there cannot be so many, under the present distresses of the kingdom; but this being granted, there will remain an hundred and seventy thousand breeders.
I again subtract fifty thousand for those women who miscarry, or whose children die by accident or disease within the year. There only remains one hundred and twenty thousand children of poor parents annually born. The question therefore is, how this number shall be reared and provided for, which, as I have already said, under the present situation of affairs, is utterly impossible by all the methods hitherto proposed.
For we can neither employ them in handicraft or agriculture; we neither build houses I mean in the country nor cultivate land: I am assured by our merchants, that a boy or a girl before twelve years old is no salable commodity; and even when they come to this age they will not yield above three pounds, or three pounds and half-a-crown at most on the exchange; which cannot turn to account either to the parents or kingdom, the charge of nutriment and rags having been at least four times that value.
I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection. 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, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout.
I do therefore humbly offer it to public consideration that of the hundred and twenty thousand children already computed, twenty thousand may be reserved for breed, whereof only one-fourth part to be males; which is more than we allow to sheep, black cattle or swine; and my reason is, that these children are seldom the fruits of marriage, a circumstance not much regarded by our savages, therefore one male will be sufficient to serve four females.
That the remaining hundred thousand may, at a year old, be offered in the 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. A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends; and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.
I have reckoned upon a medium that a child just born will weigh 12 pounds, and in a solar year, if tolerably nursed, increaseth to 28 pounds. 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.
Infant's flesh will be in season throughout the year, but more plentiful in March, and a little before and after; for we are told by a grave author, an eminent French physician, that fish being a prolific diet, there are more children born in Roman Catholic countries about nine months after Lent than at any other season; therefore, reckoning a year after Lent, the markets will be more glutted than usual, because the number of popish infants is at least three to one in this kingdom: I have already computed the charge of nursing a beggar's child in which list I reckon all cottagers, laborers, and four-fifths of the farmers to be about two shillings per annum, rags included; and I believe no gentleman would repine to give ten shillings for the carcass of a good fat child, which, as I have said, will make four dishes of excellent nutritive meat, when he hath only some particular friend or his own family to dine with him.
Thus the squire will learn to be a good landlord, and grow popular among his tenants; the mother will have eight shillings net profit, and be fit for work till she produces another child. Those who are more thrifty as I must confess the times require may flay the carcass; the skin of which artificially dressed will make admirable gloves for ladies, and summer boots for fine gentlemen. As to our city of Dublin, shambles may be appointed for this purpose in the most convenient parts of it, and butchers we may be assured will not be wanting; although I rather recommend buying the children alive, and dressing them hot from the knife, as we do roasting pigs.
A very worthy person, a true lover of his country, and whose virtues I highly esteem, was lately pleased in discoursing on this matter to offer a refinement upon my scheme. He said that many gentlemen of this kingdom, having of late destroyed their deer, he conceived that the want of venison might be well supplied by the bodies of young lads and maidens, not exceeding fourteen years of age nor under twelve; so great a number of both sexes in every country being now ready to starve for want of work and service; and these to be disposed of by their parents, if alive, or otherwise by their nearest relations.
But with due deference to so excellent a friend and so deserving a patriot, I cannot be altogether in his sentiments; for as to the males, my American acquaintance assured me, from frequent experience, that their flesh was generally tough and lean, like that of our schoolboys by continual exercise, and their taste disagreeable; and to fatten them would not answer the charge.
Then as to the females, it would, I think, with humble submission be a loss to the public, because they soon would become breeders themselves; and besides, it is not improbable that some scrupulous people might be apt to censure such a practice although indeed very unjustly , as a little bordering upon cruelty; which, I confess, hath always been with me the strongest objection against any project, however so well intended.
But in order to justify my friend, he confessed that this expedient was put into his head by the famous Psalmanazar, a native of the island Formosa, who came from thence to London above twenty years ago, and in conversation told my friend, that in his country when any young person happened to be put to death, the executioner sold the carcass to persons of quality as a prime dainty; and that in his time the body of a plump girl of fifteen, who was crucified for an attempt to poison the emperor, was sold to his imperial majesty's prime minister of state, and other great mandarins of the court, in joints from the gibbet, at four hundred crowns.
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 fortunes cannot stir abroad without a chair, and appear at playhouse and assemblies in foreign fineries which they never will pay for, the kingdom would not be the worse.
What is swift satirizing in A Modest Proposal? The lack of care that the English show to the Irish they conquered. He even makes mention of how Americans find babies a delicacy when cooked properly since we're backwater barbarians. What are some rhetorical strategies used in A Modest Proposal? The title imply modesty and simplicity while the actual subject matter is Swift begins with reasonable statements that most readers would agree with "whoever could find out a fair, cheap, and easy method of making these children sound, useful members of the commonwealth would deserve so well of the public as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the nation" and then juxtaposes his idea that the children should be used as food.
What is the irony in A Modest Proposal? Swift satirizedthe English economic system by proposing that his country becomeeconomically independent by eating their own young. He did nothonestly believe that the upper class should eat children butrather that the politicians of the day needed to recognize the trueproblems in their society, as Swift lists them in the second tolast paragraph.
What analogies does johnathan swift use in his modest proposal? Swift makes an analogy between eating people and other ways a nation can be devoured.
The purpose is to show the relationship between how "cannibalistic" people are becoming by either literally eating babies or how the English are destroying their own kind the Irish without hesitation. What is Jonathan Swift proposal in a modest propposal? His proposal was to use babies for food. This way you could make a profit off of a child that you could not afford to raise.
It would also save marriages. What are some 'Modest Proposal' paper ideas? The following can be used for any modest proposal type essay or similar paper where satire is accepted-Since Social Security is in financial trouble, and since the nation is so in debt, eliminating all the old people age 62 and above will save the countries billions of dollars in Medicare and Social Security money.
Doing something with them as is done in Brave New World where they are destroyed and then the gases of their bodies are reclycled "phosphorus recovery" might be a suggestion. Of course the US would be loved by all the poor nations it could support, and the percentage of obese citizens would be reduced, thus making the US a healthier nation.
The proposal in modest proposal? In A Modest Proposal , Jonathan Swift satirically proposes that the babies of the poor be swerved in various ways and eaten by the rich of Ireland. What is an example of satire in a modest proposal? What is the proposal itself in a modest proposal? Swift said this would relieve the overpopulation problem, reduce the population of catholics who he said were the most proliofic breeders and would feed the hungry while providing poor mothers with a source of revenue.
He was of course being sarcastic, and was trying to call attention to the wealth and hunger problem of Ireland brought on by the invasion of the English by suggesting something outlandish. Did Jonathan Swift author a modest proposal?
Who are the major targets of swift's A Modest Proposal? The 4 major targets of the proposal are the: What happens to the elderly in a modest proposal? The elderly are not the focus at all in "A Modest Proposal. Swift never ironically suggests killing off the aged, but selling off the young in order for the Irish to have a commodity all their own.
What are rhetorical devices in a modest proposal? Rhetoric is the art of persuasion. Jonathan Swift uses satire and irony in this work, yes, but the very heart of these two terms are founded on the original Greek areas of persuasion.
There are three main rhetorical devices used in literature, and these are employed masterfully by Swift in his "A Modest Proposal. Can you trust the speaker's use of logic? Will cannibalism actually benefit the masses or the economy?
Ethos -- Is an argument ethical? Does it adhere to the socially accepted norms or propriety, or decency? Can you trust a speaker's motives? Is it better for children to starve to death, or for them to be slaughtered in early life? Which is more acceptable? Pathos -- Does an argument appeal to you, the speaker?
Does it strike a chord with you, does it evoke any emotional response, and how so? Can we sleep at night if this "modest" proposal becomes a norm? As mentioned above, these three devices are always at play with satire and irony; they are the "backbone" of both these terms. This also can be called sarcasm. Or, England is sucking us dry, we might as well beat them at their own game, Which is the satirical message of "A Modest Proposal.
How does modest proposal considered as satirical work? Jonathan Swift is an advocate of the poor and disadvantaged children of England. Thus, he uses satire in his acclaimed work "A Modest Proposal" to show the ridiculousness of the opposing opinions; innocent, helpless children are not burdens that need to become beneficial to society.
It is very clear that he does NOT actually believe that street children should be "stewed, roasted, baked or boiled. Hence, his fantastic essay is a satirical work. What is the emotional appeal in a modest proposals? One of the very important emotional appeals throughout "A Modest Proposal" is when Jonathan Swift uses imagery to convey ideas to the reader.
He talks about the poor beggars and the many children that they have but are unable to care for. This strikes most readers as sad or upsetting in some way.
A Modest Proposal Jonathan Swift This entry presents criticism of Swift's satire A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of the Poor People from Being a Burthen .
- Jonathan Swift's Essay, "A Modest Proposal" Jonathan Swift in his essay, "A Modest Proposal" suggests a unique solution to the problem concerning poor children in .
Apr 17, · In his essay A Modest Proposal () Jonathon Swift ironically puts forth the proposition that for the betterment of Irish society, children of the poor, particularly Catholic children, because there was an over abundance, should . "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift is a satirical work that gives an extremely sarcastic solution to the problems that Ireland was having with poverty and overpopulation in the s. He gives a series of unrealistic and simply absurd solutions to the problem that include the harsh treatment of children.
Jonathan Swift's essay, "A Modest Proposal," brilliantly employed satire to deliver serious political commentary on the abuses inflicted on poor Irish families by their well-to-do English landlords. Swift’s proposal in his essay is a technique used to highlight a real issue and bring awareness to it by ridiculing the public (reader) through satire. The definition of satire is the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, and ridicule to expose and criticize people’s vices.