A Modest Proposal

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Persuading Everyone Jonathan Swift’s satire is effective in persuading readers to think critically about their society. In A Modest Proposal, he vents his mounting frustration about the incompetence of the English politicians, the hypocrisy and immorality of the wealthy, and the pitiful situation of the Irish beggars. Throughout the essay, his logical examples, structure, sarcasm and diction, and pathetic imagery combine to manipulate and entrap the reader into accepting the absurd solution of eating babies to assuage Irish penury. To begin A Modest Proposal, Swift exploits the reader’s capacity for pity. Swift’s vivid description of the condition of the poverty-stricken beggars immediately captures the reader’s attention. Also, the image of the beggars, calls for the reader to recreate his thoughts on society. For example, Swift opens his essay by saying that the streets are “crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children” (52). Children walking around the streets of Ireland is certainly a cause for thoughts of reform. The futile circumstances of Ireland entrap the reader to continue reading for the solution. Because Swift immediately describes the pitiful streets of Ireland, the reader is encouraged to be sympathetic. In addition, Swift introduces the “helpless infants, who as they grow up…turn thieves”, to present an unorthodox idea of young children working (52). Evidently, any child forced working at a young age is a very pitiable depiction. By mentioning the thieves, Swift pushes sympathy to its limits, as the children are forced to mature at a young age. Because the children are exposed to crime at such a young age, Swift, again, is coercing the reader further into the essay. The present dilemma influences the reader’s overall judgment on society because he is forced to recognize the horrid conditions of Ireland. Swift’s

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