A Summary of Swift's "A Modest Proposal"

546 WordsMar 11, 20153 Pages
Jonathan Swift, author of “Gulliver’s Travels and clergyman for the Church of England in Dublin, Ireland, writes a letter in 1729 to the people of Ireland due to his annoyance with the community and the community member’s habituation under English rule. Creating a persona throughout the satirical essay and publishing the pamphlet anonymously, Swift diverts the attention from himself, while the offended people of Ireland. Although published anonymously, the author soon became apparent. The author credited was none other than Jonathan Swift due to his obvious style of writing and education shown through the writing. Swift ultimately identifies throughout the text that there is a problem of poverty and starvation in Ireland that needs to actively be dealt with. Through the persona that Swift creates, a proposal is presented to help society that includes infanticide and cannibalism. The narrator of the text supports the idea of killing babies by stating, "A very worthy person, a true lover of his country, and whose virtues I highly esteem, was lately pleased in discoursing on this matter to offer a refinement upon my scheme." The advantages that Swift includes in the text are decreasing the amount of Roman Catholics to make room for more Protestants, offering tenants assets to pay landlords, keeping the money in Ireland, benefitting parents from their children in terms of payment, caring from the men towards their “breeding stock” wife, men will be more caring toward their wives and consider them a “breeding stock” wife, and assisting in preventing abortions. Swift uses satirical humor in hopes of stimulating a response from the people of Ireland. Although the text should not be taken as a literal translation, the text should be taken as an indirect translation. Swift’s ultimate goal in writing “A Modest Proposal” is to awaken Ireland and to relieve

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