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Analysis Of A Modest Proposal By Jonathan Swift Essay

In A Modest Proposal, Swift vents his mounting aggravation at the ineptitude of Ireland's politicians, the hypocrisy of the wealthy, the tyranny of the English, and the squalor and degradation in which he sees so many Irish people living. While A Modest Proposal bemoans the bleak situation of an Ireland almost totally subject to England's exploitation, it also expresses Swift's utter disgust at the Irish people's seeming inability to mobilize on their own behalf. Without excusing any party, the essay shows that not only the English but also the Irish themselves--and not only the Irish politicians but also the masses--are responsible for the nation's lamentable state. His compassion for the misery of the Irish people is a severe one, and he includes a critique of their incompetence in dealing with their own problems.

Political pamphleteering was a fashionable pastime in Swift's day, which saw vast numbers of tracts and essays advancing political opinions and proposing remedies for Ireland's economic and social ills. Swift's tract parodies the style and method of these, and the grim irony of his own solution reveals his personal despair at the failure of all this paper journalism to achieve any actual progress. His piece protests the utter inefficacy of Irish political leadership, and it also attacks the orientation of so many contemporary reformers toward economic utilitarianism. While Swift himself was an astute economic thinker, he often expressed contempt for the application of supposedly scientific management ideas to humanitarian concerns.

The main rhetorical challenge of this bitingly ironic essay is capturing the attention of an audience whose indifference has been well tested. Swift makes his point negatively, stringing together an appalling set of morally untenable positions in order to cast blame and aspersions far and wide. The essay progresses through a series of surprises that first shocks the reader and then causes her to think critically not only about policies, but also about motivations and values.

Essay on Rhetorical Analysis of a Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift

639 Words3 Pages

Johnathan Swift wrote Modest Proposal with the idea to better humanity.. When you first read it you miss what the true message is. You think “Man this guy is a monster!” or “He’s sick!”, but once you reach the end the true meaning of the proposal hits you. When Jonathan Swift wrote a Modest Proposal he tried to get his audience to see the problem by taking it and providing an unethical and inhumane solution then using rhetorical devices to bring out people’s emotions. Of the many devices he used the one that brought out my emotions and that stuck out the most was his constant metaphor of comparing or “labeling” children as stock or the bodies as carcasses. He does this on multiple occasions throughout this proposal. On one occasion he…show more content…

Johnathan Swift wrote Modest Proposal with the idea to better humanity.. When you first read it you miss what the true message is. You think “Man this guy is a monster!” or “He’s sick!”, but once you reach the end the true meaning of the proposal hits you. When Jonathan Swift wrote a Modest Proposal he tried to get his audience to see the problem by taking it and providing an unethical and inhumane solution then using rhetorical devices to bring out people’s emotions. Of the many devices he used the one that brought out my emotions and that stuck out the most was his constant metaphor of comparing or “labeling” children as stock or the bodies as carcasses. He does this on multiple occasions throughout this proposal. On one occasion he said: For instance, the addition of some thousand carcasses in our exportation of barreled beef, the propagation of swine’s flesh, and improvement in the art of making good bacon, so much wanted among us by the great destruction of pigs, too frequent at our tables; which are no way comparable in taste or magnificence to a well-grown, fat, yearling child, which roasted whole will make a considerable figure at a lord mayor’s feast or any other public entertainment. (Swift 6)
Also at “…mare in foal, their cows in calf, their sows when they are ready to farrow; nor offer to beat or kick them (as is too frequent a practice) for fear of a miscarriage.” (Swift 6)
In the first quote he compares the “carcass” to the well-known image of

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