A Modest Proposal By Jonathan Swift Essay

771 Words Mar 9th, 2016 4 Pages
In 1729, Jonathan Swift, an author, Anglican clergy man, and satirist, writes and publishes anonymously in a pamphlet “A Modest Proposal” to help end poverty, famine, and avoid overpopulation in Ireland. The subtitle of Swift’s writing states, “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 Public.” Swift’s unusual solution proposes that the Irish use children as food to solve the problems Ireland were facing; he persuades his audience by using numbers, comparisons between humans and animals, and extraordinary imagery.
Swift explains that the children of poor, homeless families would be sold to the rich and a portion of the currency would go back to the families to resolve poverty. Throughout the text, Swift uses numbers in various ways in order to express his knowledge and build credibility in his research. For example, he applies numbers to measure the worth of a child by their age and weight. “I have reckoned upon a medium, that a child just born will weigh twelve pounds; and in a solar year, if tolerable nursed, increaseth to twenty eight pounds.” Swift also uses numbers in order to calculate the population in Ireland. “The number of souls in Ireland being usually reckoned one million and a half; of these I calculate there may be about two hundred thousand couples whose wives are breeders; from which number I subtract thirty thousand couples, who are able to maintain…

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