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Satire in a Modest Proposal Essay

  • Submitted by: yh115407
  • on April 15, 2015
  • Category: English
  • Length: 1,210 words

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Below is an essay on "Satire in a Modest Proposal" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Satire in A Modest Proposal

Satire is defined in literature as a particular way of using mockery, irony and comedy to ridicule and point out human follies and vices with the hope of making improvements in humanity, society, and its institutions. An example is, Swift’s A Modest Proposal, published in Ireland in 1729. It is an ironic essay which satirizes both England for abusing the Irish by manipulating its political economy, and the Irish themselves for accepting England’s abuse rather than taking responsibility for their own behavior. In the essay, Swift indirectly criticize and ridicule human behavior to bring about change. Jonathan Swift uses disturbing metaphors and irony to show his readers about the society during the time he lived and critique the attitude of the upper classes toward the poor.
Swift’s main purpose in A Modest Proposal is to bring attention to the political, economic, and social problems which occur in Ireland under English colonization. Swift makes masterly use of verbal irony in his proposal to strengthen his argument, that the Irish deserve better treatment from England. For example, at the beginning of the proposal, Swift try to make the reader believe that it is a serious proposal by using some statistics of how many children are suffering and what the condition of the society is. However, Swift’s narrator suddenly introduces his proposal of eating Irish babies, rather than having them grow up in a life of misery. “In such a manner, as, instead of being a charge upon their parents or the parish, or wanting food and raiment for the rest of their lives, they shall, on the contrary, contribute to the feeding, and partly to the clothing, of many thousands” (315). The second example, “I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London; that 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...

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