Jonathan Swift’s, A Modest Proposal (Analysis)

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March 1, 2017
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March 2, 2017

Jonathan Swift’s, A Modest Proposal (Analysis)

A man and his ideal

Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal is described as an essay, but moreover, it is a story. A story that shows the economic crisis of England and a man that loves his country but is disgusted by the current circumstances to the degree that he has proposed a solution beyond a moral compass. Swift’s solution to the despaired social and economic crisis is to evoke cannibalism. The offering of poor children of those parents that are born to parents less fortunate to the rich as a source of food. His idea is that beyond infancy children are not worth more than the cost. That they’d be more valuable as a commodity.

England would revert to a country with that is not being economically drained by the poor. The advantages for women would be not to be a beggar. Very backed in his proposal, he provides statistical data to show the advantages breaking out the strategy with age, weight, and price to show a continuous revenue stream. Going further into this madness he offers recipes.

The twist:

The surprise in this essay, doesn’t come at the end. In fact, the plot starts to turn very early on. What seems like a real important proposal was transformed into a hell-bent compelling story. His experiences mixed in to show how much he devoted to his country. His displeasure in its current reality and how he could save them. If only they’d listen to this crafted full proof strategy. Showing that he believed in it himself he references his children as to say without hesitation he’d agree to his plan. His compassion of the poor Irish people in the same way that he is rallying for the English. He feels gravely concerned for the Irish people and their current economic state. Simply speaking to them, don’t be the subject of your demise take this lemon that is being brought about it’s your only way to thrive because the economy is failing you.

Playing on the heartstrings of England and not just to one class of people to all. The ideal that the rich will be satisfied, but more so the poor. As now there is a bargaining chip for a better life. He’s not trying to just save the country, but save them from this hell in which childbearing has created. England is overpopulated, people are underfed, and unemployed. Though Swift is very tricky throughout the essay as he goes back and forth many times. At times you wonder through of all this satire if he means it. He will go on and on but cleverly chooses language to say he is kidding. He states to the wealthy, that he’s not claiming that this proposal is the only solution, he’s eager to hear other alternatives.


Why does he do this?

It’s believed that he is not from his thoughts. He only wants to evoke more action to the cause as if he sees that there is not enough being done for the country he is loyal to.  This satiric essay is like the icing on top of cake. Ideally layered and smoothed to the point where you are almost laughing at the eccentricity of this idea he lays out.

This proposal is everything but modest. Its satire sets a bold tone by the author. The first person point of view gives an observation of a world that he is viewing and his description can get the attention of any reader. Swift’s essay was purposed to be alarming, cause action but not specifically to the exact words he said but more to evoke a feeling that something had to be done about the crisis. Why not throw out the most absurd thing in hopes that the audience will at least do something.

Works Cited
Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” (n.d.). Retrieved October 28, 2016, from
*This post is a reuse of essay content from a previously submitted academic paper by Tyfany Williams to Strayer University.

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