Rhetorical Devices In A Modest Proposal

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Swift uses satire in his essay “A Modest Proposal” to criticize a number of problems that Ireland was facing in the early 1700s. He focuses on the overpopulation problem that was affecting Ireland and offers a “simple” solution; sell the children of the poor to the rich to be eaten. He goes on to explain how this will not only help with overpopulation and the economy but how it would benefit the parent/parents of the children that are being sold. Throughout his essay, he also discreetly and skillfully touches on the issues of, poverty and economic exploitation.
Swift satirizes the overpopulation in Ireland by saying the best way to fix the problem is to eat the children. On top of that, he goes on to mention other problems that Ireland faces
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Diction is one of the main ones because with his word choice he uses it to portray the logical and mundane nature that the process would entail. “...twenty thousand may be reserved for breed...” (418), by referring to females are breeders it suggests that they are merely a tool used to obtain more children. He dehumanizes them and he puts them into a perspective where the reader is forced to no longer view the women as human but more like any other animal that are commonly exploited . Swift also uses logos, presenting very true arguments that when viewed without persuasion of emotion does present his argument as a highly logical one that would benefit their society. “... the poorer tenants will have something valuable of their own...” (420), an argument to persuade the poorer population of the benefits for them “...the maintenance of a hundred thousand children... cannot be computed at less than ten shillings a piece per annum, the nation 's stock will be thereby increased fifty thousand pounds per annum...” (420-421), a great example of what this situation would do for the economy , “...the constant breeders... will be rid of the charge of maintaining them after the first year” (421), “... this would be a great inducement to marriage...” (421), “... 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 the kingdom; therefore …show more content…
Swift mentions several different methods at one point in his essay that are other options to resolve the population struggle besides eating the children but he goes on to say that they are completely unethical and truly his plan is the only one that will effectively work. He adds other possible solutions in because he wants the reader to understand that there are better options to resolve Ireland’s problem insteads of the suggested solution and that the Irish Legislature needs to look into them. The essay also backhandedly criticizes the government, the Irish opinion towards Roman Catholics and the religious battle between the two. Swift is great at constructing arguments that by all accounts appear to be logical, and serious while at the same time being so completely irrational that one gets about halfway through the essay and can infer that the intended meaning is opposite of what is being presented to

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