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An Analysis of Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”

Satire as a form of discursive follow could additionally be correctly understood if it is contextualized within a selected tradition, establishment, attitude, or perception. It is only by placing the satire within a specific setting [as introduced by the weather talked about above] that a satire will garner the “non-linguistic parts covering the preparatory preconditions necessary for the development of satirical discourse” (Simpson 70). An instance of the satire as a type of discursive practice is evident, for example, in Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”.

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In the aforementioned work, Swift presents a scenario whereby the persona of his textual content urges the population on acts of cannibalism in order to reduce the issues attributable to Irish overpopulation. The persona starts his proposal with an initial description of his environment. He notes, “It is a melancholy object to those that walk through this nice town…when they see the streets…crowded with beggers of the feminine intercourse, adopted by three, four, or six kids, all in rags, and importuning every passenger for alms” (Swift 52).

It is necessary to notice that such an outline is characterised by the persona’s detachment towards his surroundings. Note for instance, the manner by which a two senses of the idea ‘object’ is used. The aforementioned passage thereby portrays not solely the persona’s ‘objective’ appraisal of his environment but in addition the persona’s ‘objectification’ of the people encompassed inside that space.

Such an objectification is additional evident in the following passage: Some persons of a desponding spirit are in great concern about the vast variety of poor individuals, who are aged, diseased, or maimed…But I am not in the least pained about that matter, as a result of it is rather well known that they are on a regular basis dying, rotting, by cold, and famine, and filth, and vermin, as quick as may be moderately anticipated.

(Swift 56)

The persona’s use of the 2 senses of object, on this sense, may be understood as a manner during which Swift portrays the irony evident within the context of the text. The irony is evident if one conceives of “A Modest Proposal” as a textual content which presents a delimited view of the world. As against a satire’s ironic presentation of a selected situation [in truth an ironic portrayal of a particular mindset], humor, then again, portrays the style in which worldly pursuits are given extra credence versus lofty ideals.

An instance of this is evident in Samuel Beckett’s writings whereby Beckett focuses the textual content to the significance of existence [as properly because the importance of the that means of existence] in relation to the odd objects. As against a satire which might current a bland ethnocentric perspective concerning racial discrimination, the emphasis on fashionable humor could be on the problematic construction of such ideas that enable racial discrimination to exist [e. g. opposition of black and white].

In line with this, Colebrook notes, “both irony and humor play off the gap between ideas and world” (241). The distinction, nonetheless, lies within the difference of presentation noted above.

Works Cited

Colebrook, Claire. Irony in the Works of Philosophy. Nebraska: U of Nebraska P, 2003. Simpson, Paul. On the Discourse of Satire: Towards a Stylistic Model of Satirical Humor. Philadelphia: John Benjamin’s, 2003. Swift, Jonathan. “A Modest Proposal. ” A Modest Proposal and Other Satirical Works. New York: Dover, 1996.

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