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A Modest Proposal

A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift
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Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal is one of the earliest and most seminal satirical essays written in English. Having as an original title “A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burden on Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick,” it expresses deep anger at the squalor and miserable conditions from which the Irish people was suffering in the eighteenth century. Swift ironically suggests that poor Irish families could sell their children to rich Englishmen as an ultimate solution to their miseries. The essay, which is generally characterized by a rather bitter, ironic and hyperbolic tone , provides details of how to convert the problem that Irish children represent into its own solution. He even dares to propose selling those children to meat markets to be served as food for the rich. He ironically gives a complete analysis about how this weird solution would help combat unemployment and overpopulation and boost the country’s economy. What is worth noting, however, is that Swift does not put all the burden on the shoulders of English rulers, rich men and Irish politicians. Indeed, the essay also represents a work of self-criticism where the Irish masses are equally blamed for not being able to help themselves.

Copyright Group; August 2013
7 pages; ISBN 9781780007281
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Title: A Modest Proposal
Author: Jonathan Swift