A modest proposal summary essay

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a modest proposal summary essay

A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift

Last night my daughter asked me to watch what passes for comedy to pre-teens on Nickelodeon; a show low on laughs but high on laugh track. Its Halloween week and of course the thematic drum of cheap scares and slutty costumes (those of you dads that have 11 year old girls know what it is like to take a knee at the end of the show to have a side-bar chat about this topic alone) plays large when midway through the episode a six year old girl dressed like a failing barrister circa 1735 comes firing on stage screaming at her parents because they got her a Jonathan Swift costume instead of the requested Taylor Swift. This is where I wanted to pause live TV to tell my daughter about the original Swift, about A Modest Proposal - how our current American culture screams for someone like him to write about our never-ending race problem, our soul sucking capitalism-at-any-cost, our failed PAC-fueled political system. But my daughter is 11, I am 45, its late on Saturday night and I dont have it in me. I watch the Jonathan Swift girl rant and rave and I drool thinking about delicious Irish babies in a white wine sauce.
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A Modest Proposal Context Summary

A Modest Proposal

A Modest Proposal begins by lamenting the sad fate of the poverty-stricken Irish who have to spend all their time looking for food to stuff in their kids' mouths. Luckily, the author has come up with an excellent way to put the brats to good use: raise them as food for wealthy citizens. Really, it all makes perfect sense. If you aren't entirely convinced right away, he proceeds to spell out the benefits. It's all good, because only , Irish children out of the population will be set aside for dinner.

The author argues, by hard-edged economic reasoning as well as from a self-righteous moral stance, for a way to turn this problem into its own solution. His proposal, in effect, is to fatten up these undernourished children and feed them to Ireland's rich land-owners. Children of the poor could be sold into a meat market at the age of one, he argues, thus combating overpopulation and unemployment, sparing families the expense of child-bearing while providing them with a little extra income, improving the culinary experience of the wealthy, and contributing to the overall economic well-being of the nation. The author offers statistical support for his assertions and gives specific data about the number of children to be sold, their weight and price, and the projected consumption patterns. He suggests some recipes for preparing this delicious new meat, and he feels sure that innovative cooks will be quick to generate more. He also anticipates that the practice of selling and eating children will have positive effects on family morality: husbands will treat their wives with more respect, and parents will value their children in ways hitherto unknown.

A Modest Proposal and Other Satires contains six satirical pieces, the most famous being "A Modest Proposal," in which Swift ironically suggests that the people of Ireland should eat their young. A Tale of A Tub , a religious satire, is the longest piece in the work; not only does Swift parody the three Western branches of Christianity their history, their excesses their hypocrisy , but he also parodies trends in literary, philosophical, and medical thought. A father, representing God, has three sons, each representing one of the branches. They work hard to reinterpret their father's will in order to get the results they want as they spruce up their coats, until finally it is time for reform and the difficult task of undoing the baubles caught up in the coats. The Ancients definitely have most of the advantages, but some Moderns do fairly well, particularly those who make best use of the enduring value of ancient writings. The story, which reads a lot like Homer's Iliad , ends unfinished, with two of the modern critics stabbed to death.

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The essay suggests that the impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food to rich gentlemen and ladies., The essay is a satire on the heartless attitudes of the Irish gentry toward the poor of the nation and suggests in a very straight-forward manner that the poor children of the country be sold to the rich landlords as food. He suggests that the poor children be kept by their parents for the first year of their lives, during which time they are to be fattened up and then sold at the market to be butchered and eaten by the wealthy landlords.

Toggle navigation. A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift. This essay, written by Jonathan Swift in , is a satire in which he outlines suggestions for helping the poor people of Ireland in ridiculous ways. Although the problem he describes is real, he chooses to deal with it in a mocking manner because the government is not taking the poverty issue seriously or doing anything to relieve the problem. He hoped that this essay would grab their attention.

Topics: Summary. His radical proposal of having babies to feed to the public and stimulate the economy, is his proposal to the public, but is not the heart of the essay. This radical proposal that takes on an alternate message is what classifies the piece as satire. Adding to the satire, Swift refers to women as breeders that can boost the despairing economy by having children that can be killed at one year old and be fed to the people of Ireland. His use of hyperboles, metaphors, irony, and sarcasm greatly influenced the message.


  1. Somerville D. says:

    A Modest Proposal and Other Satires Summary | GradeSaver

  2. Vollasitbi says:

    A Modest Proposal Summary

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