Analysis of A Modest Proposal: Exposure of Serious Issues Through Satire
Jonathon Swift begins by telling the many problems of the impoverished in the state of Ireland. He expresses sympathy and a need to fix the problem. Women beggars are everywhere in the streets with children they cannot support. Most of the children grow up and become thieves. He goes on and explains an inexpensive way to help out these people that are lacking basic necessities. He comes up with a statistical analysis to support his proposal and in detailed data. He also comes up with a list of numbers and comes up a bizarre way to put the children to good use; raise them as food for rich and wealthy people of Ireland. He gives some examples by telling the families that they should fatten up their children and sell them to the rich people. He also mentions recipes for the children’s meat. By doing this, they would experience a better result of helping the poor. He thinks that it will have a positive effect on the people of Ireland. He jokingly says how eating children can better the lives of so many others. He finally states that he gains nothing by speaking of his plan because his own children are too old to be sold, and his wife can no longer bear children.
I chose this text because Swift crafts a brilliant satire idea about serious issues of his day involving the growth of poverty, the wealth gap, and the lack of empathy. These issues are more common today than it was back in the author’s time. I don’t think it was meant to be taken seriously. When I first read it, I missed the true message what he was trying to say. I became appalled and turned off because I thought the proposal was basically cannibalism. It is something I would have never had associated with trying to fix this issue. As I began to continue reading, instead of becoming disgusted, I began to think this might be a great proposal. I think that he wanted to come up with an inhumane and something unheard of to get people’s attention on economic conditions of Ireland.
It was difficult to read at first because I didn’t understand the meaning of what he was trying to say. He uses an intense and serious tone throughout the entire piece. His serious tone created this confusion to the readers like it was the first time reading a satire. It was hard to follow because I lost interest at the beginning. The way he was proposing his ideas didn’t click making it harder to understand what he was trying to say. The essay was confusing, intriguing and misleading but he gets to the point. After I finished reading, I realized it was a satirical work.
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