A Modest Proposal

Swift's "", in which he suggests that the problem of Irish poverty can be solved by the sale of the children of the poor for consumption, is above all things a criticism of human faults: extremism of thinking, greed, pride, hypocrisy, intolerance, and insensitivity. His use of ireony is evident even in the title: the idea that not only should poor Irish children be eaten, but that they should be bred for eating is certainly anything but modest. Swift's plan is that through irony, sarcasm, and exaggeration, the reader will recognize those faults which may not seem so obvious in their more mild forms. In Swift's criticism of extremist thinking, he switches back and forth throughout the text ...

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their children do so for emotional reasons, namely shame. It follows then that those who give birth to their "bastards" must feel enough love for them to raise them in spite of whatever shame they may feel. Also the emotional narrator describes begging as dishonest, whereas the rational thinker uses the term "lawful" to describe it. In this way Swift shows how the two thinkers reach opposite conclusions, neither of which tell the whole story or are entirely accurate. The reasonable thinker is also so simple as to believe that because he is supported by so many "experts" who he keeps claiming he has consulted, that his ideas are justified. The only paragraph in which both methods of thinking are combined is the one in which Swift makes his true proposals which are reached by a moderate method. Greed is another human downfall Swift deals with in his proposals, namely the greed of the British landlords and aristocracy which he sees as directly responsible for the poverty of the Irish. ...

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pleased to wear the flayed carcasses as "admirable gloves for the ladies, and summer boots for fine gentlemen." The skins would have to be "artificially (skillfully) dressed" however, suggesting that the nobles would have to go out of their way to be able to adorn themselves in this new fashionable symbol of their wealth and privilege. Swift also deals with the folly of the insensitivity of the British to the plight of the starving Irish. Mocking the "reasonable" Brit, he claims that they would have no problem with having to slaughter the child themselves in order to ensure the freshness of the meat: "I rather [than buying the child already butchered] recommend buying the children alive, ...

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Added: 11/17/2008 01:54:06 PM
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1439
Pages: 6

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