In the depths of disparity and desperation, some will resort to unimaginable measures in order to find solutions. Novelist Jonathan Swift wrote the satire, “A Modest Proposal For Preventing The Children Of Poor People In Ireland, From Being A Burden On Their Parents Or Country, And For Making Them Beneficial To The Publick” (1729) which was shortened to “A Modest Proposal”. A Modest Proposal offers a comical yet impressive suggestion to rid Ireland of the impoverish times of the mid 1700’s. As ridiculous as Swift’s proposal was, the response was equally if not more bizarre than his solution.
Jonathan Swift has been called the greatest satirist in the English language. A satirist is defined as a person who uses, “…humor to show that someone or something is foolish, weak, bad, etc. : humor that shows the weaknesses or bad qualities of a person, government, society, etc.” (merriam-webster) Entertainers like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert use this type of comic relief to address issues in today’s world. Swift used satire, to expose the English cruelty in Ireland. In “A Modest Proposal”, Swift suggests that in order to deal with the overcrowding and homeless people during a rough patch in England that their children be cooked and fed to the nobles. His proposal of selling poor Irish kids to the well-off people was to show that they could get basic necessities of life.
From the beginning, he notes that this idea is for the better of the country; it will bring relief to the community and alleviate financial constraints. Also, he stipulates that this will decrease the stress of poor people as it will get them food and provisions. In the conclusion he implements a pliable tone in the essay, which shows deviation from the arguments mentioned in the start. The reality is that he is unwilling to support the thoughts anticipated for the development of the country. He effectively stands on his belief in the conclusion by reiterating the central purpose of his essay, which are: the stipulation of contentment to the well-off, lessening the pressures of poor people, accomplishment of his country, and richness of nation’s business.
I can understand why Swift would resort to such measures as to write this proposal, since his country has been reduced to such deplorable conditions. He was depressed and sad to witness the mistreatment of citizens in Ireland. In the end, the essay gives a different conclusion from what is anticipated. I observed this when author affirms two proposals regarding why infants should be sold for money. He offers his standpoint that it will be hard for poor ones to get food after a certain age and to alleviate the number of abortions occurring in Ireland. The author’s suggestion on the surface is actually quite economical, witty, and daring but to undertake such a plan would be incredible – the conclusion will be diverse from what the readers anticipate.
Presenting many rationales makes him successful convincing the reader. He states that before any other authors represent their suggestions regarding the issue, they should realize that his thoughts that are simple, and above suspicion. This remark is to entice biased readers and to re-evaluate author’s stance. He offers testimony that his suggestion is practicable and includes the reality that the nation has many poor communities and that their administration will always be bankrupt if it preferred to nourish them. These positions specify author’s achievement in preparing the readers for the surprising end as they show equal interest in the wellbeing of his nation. Swift’s social/political/economic satire is as relevant today as when it was written. Hopefully, the circumstances which prompted this work won’t return, but the outlook derided in this text is prevalent all the same.
Satire – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/satire
Swift, J (1729) A Modest Proposal. Retrieved form: http://www.victorianweb.org/previctorian/swift/modest.html