Essay A Modest Proposal By Jonathan Swift

1217 Words Oct 15th, 2015 null Page
In “A Modest Proposal,” Jonathan Swift proposes an absurd solution to poverty in Ireland in 1729. Swift begins the essay by describing his observations of the plight of the poor and how he has thought long and hard about a solution for the widespread poverty. He then proposes his bizarre idea – for the poor to sell their children at one year old – and uses misguided logic to support his proposal. Mimicking the format of a pamphlet proposing an unreasonable solution, Swift parodies the useless ideas that others have proposed before, but in a way that catches the attention of the reader who would usually disregard such pamphlets. Swift effectively uses satire as a way to expose the uncaring attitude of the rich towards the poor. In Swift’s introduction to his proposal, Swift creates a serious context for his proposal, providing a stark contrast between what the reader expects of the proposal and its actuality. He emphasizes the qualities a proposal to relieve the burden on the poor must have, calling for a “fair, cheap, and easy method” (35). Swift makes it seem like he has thought about the subject extensively, “having turned my thoughts for many years, upon this important subject, and maturely weighed the several schemes of our projectors” (35), and has found that all other ideas are not plausible, making his proposal the only solution. Before presenting his proposal, Swift also says, “I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts” (36), even though once the reader…

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