Questions on Swift’s “a Modest Proposal”

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The purpose of Swift's satirical essay is to call attention to the problems that were being experienced by the people of Ireland. He wanted the English to realize what they were doing and to put in place reforms that would solve the problems they had helped to cause. So that is the purpose of the essay and what he is trying to reform. Narrator’s purpose: suggests that the Irish should sell their children as food to reduce the overpopulation and poverty. These two ideas overlap at the end of this essay where Swift goes on to list a bunch of ideas. He talks about things like trying to get the people to use only things that are made in Ireland, or trying to get them to quit fighting amongst themselves. He again provides facts and numbers to indicate all the advantages and intelligence of his plan which could improve the economy of Irland. Also, near then end of his essay, beginning at paragraph twenty-eight, Swift insults nearly everyone. Putting in his final comments about the Catholics, landlords, other Irish citizens unwilling to help. These two purposes diverge when Swift as a narrator becomes very cold and rational about his plan. He goes on to describe how the child would be nursed and eaten using facts, statistics, and progresses to making outrageous proposals and acting as if they are completely innocent which was truly not what he wished to implement. 2. If you define "the reader" as the government officials, then he was trying to get their attention so that they would do something about the problem. He tries to imply that he has an expert source that would support his overall idea to eat children. He provides evidence of discussion with merchants regarding the prices of what the different proportions of the child could yield for the profit of the poor. He also later cites a time in history when after young persons had been put to death; their
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