A Modest Proposal by Jonathan SwiftLast night my daughter asked me to watch what passes for comedy to pre-teens on Nickelodeon; a show low on laughs but high on laugh track. Its Halloween week and of course the thematic drum of cheap scares and slutty costumes (those of you dads that have 11 year old girls know what it is like to take a knee at the end of the show to have a side-bar chat about this topic alone) plays large when midway through the episode a six year old girl dressed like a failing barrister circa 1735 comes firing on stage screaming at her parents because they got her a Jonathan Swift costume instead of the requested Taylor Swift. This is where I wanted to pause live TV to tell my daughter about the original Swift, about A Modest Proposal - how our current American culture screams for someone like him to write about our never-ending race problem, our soul sucking capitalism-at-any-cost, our failed PAC-fueled political system. But my daughter is 11, I am 45, its late on Saturday night and I dont have it in me. I watch the Jonathan Swift girl rant and rave and I drool thinking about delicious Irish babies in a white wine sauce.
A Modest Proposal - FULL Audio Book - by Jonathan Swift - Comedic Satire
A Modest Proposal
Trade restrictions had greatly hurt the economy and the lack of work led to rampant poverty and hunger. The sight of beggars in the streets, was a common sight. Overpopulation and overcrowding contributed to the dismal conditions, and there seemed to be little hope that things would improve. Although he was part of the ruling class, by the early s Swift had become very involved in Irish politics, and was particularly interested in pointing out how disastrously the unfair politics of the English were impacting the Irish people. He made several appeals to Irish Parliament to put into place policies that would help the populace, but nothing ever came of them.
The essay suggests that the impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food to rich gentlemen and ladies. This satirical hyperbole mocked heartless attitudes towards the poor, as well as British policy toward the Irish in general. In English writing, the phrase "a modest proposal " is now conventionally an allusion to this style of straight-faced satire. Swift's essay is widely held to be one of the greatest examples of sustained irony in the history of the English language. Much of its shock value derives from the fact that the first portion of the essay describes the plight of starving beggars in Ireland, so that the reader is unprepared for the surprise of Swift's solution when he states: "A young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee , or a ragout. Swift goes to great lengths to support his argument, including a list of possible preparation styles for the children, and calculations showing the financial benefits of his suggestion.
Jonathan Swift 's attack on the British government's inability to solve the problem of poverty in Ireland is one of the literary canon's most famous examples of satire. A Modest Proposal proposes that the most obvious solution to Ireland's economic crisis is for the Irish to sell their children as food. Shockingly, it also suggests various ways in which they can be prepared and served. The detached, serious tone of its narrator emphasises the horror of what Swift is actually recommending: only in its final paragraphs, when the essay turns to the realities of the Irish economic system and the problems caused by absentee landlords, does the author's real view become clear. Despite its power as a piece of rhetoric, A Modest Proposal did not lead to any lasting changes for Ireland's rural poor. Just over a century later, thousands would perish in the Great Famine.
A Modest Proposal, in full A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People from Being a Burthen to their Parents, or the Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick, satiric essay by Jonathan Swift, published in pamphlet form in Swift’s proposal is.
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Please note: All files marked with a copyright notice are subject to normal copyright restrictions. - The author argues, by hard-edged economic reasoning as well as from a self-righteous moral stance, for a way to turn this problem into its own solution. His proposal, in effect, is to fatten up these undernourished children and feed them to Ireland's rich land-owners.
Presented in the guise of an economic treatise , the essay proposes that the country ameliorate poverty in Ireland by butchering the children of the Irish poor and selling them as food to wealthy English landlords. The essay is a masterpiece of satire , with a blend of rational deliberation and unthinkable conclusion, and its title has come to symbolize any proposition to solve a problem with an effective but outrageous cure. A Modest Proposal. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback.