A Modest Proposal By James Swift

762 Words 4 Pages
When people gather in groups, leaders rise, taboos form, and malcontents grumble. The traditions and mores of a society become controls of the ruling class, manipulated to better serve the needs of the powerful in maintaining power. However, with the invention of the printing press and an increased literacy of the common man, information moved from the hands of the church and the noble elite to the common man. The late 17th century, ushered in the Age of Reason a period of intellectual growth, and according to Martin Rowson, "spawned a mushrooming of public satire... Which ran like a sewer beneath the Enlightenment"(153). Traveling beyond the confines of the local circle, printed materials, exposing shared sentiments and contempt for the excesses …show more content…
He also wrote A Modest Proposal, both an indictment against the casual contempt of the plight of Irish and a reasonable suggestion to help the Irish 's economic distress. A Modest Proposal seems to endorse the use of Irish babies as a food source for wealthy citizens, in order to eliminate the burden of additional children in poor households and improve the economic status of low income families (Swift 2634-2637). The essay appears at a casual glance to be the monstrous proposal of a sadistic man unconcerned with the suffering of the famine stricken Irish population; however, Swift 's intent reveals itself as a plea for reforms relieving the economic stress of lower class citizens. Swift 's proposal advises the restriction of imports and increasing production in the country (Swift 2633-2639).
Mistaken for a misanthrope, Swift works toward an enlightened future. In Gulliver 's Travels, Swift intent is not a misanthropic attack against human society: instead, Swift seeks to present the vulgarity of extremes and advocate temperance society (Mack 113). His work demands the attention of the reader, and forces reflection on commonly accepted beliefs. Using clever allusions and overt disregard for injustice Swift uses the power of print to offend and through offense challenge the corruption and vanity of his

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