Modest Proposal By Jonathan Swift: Problems Of Ireland

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At this time period the people of Ireland were suffering from poverty. England was a huge powerhouse and controlled Ireland as a country. After seeing what was happening to society around him Jonathan Swift was motivated to write “A Modest Proposal”. Swift wanted to make England realize what they were doing but also inspire everyone in Ireland. Swift’s message was a strong approach and he was very successful in doing so. He used satirical techniques and persuasive appeals, like pathos and logos, to speak to the people.

First Jonathan swift used pathos and irony. Once he explained what his solution was, he list several advantages, “it would increase the care and tenderness of mothers toward their children” (Swift 183). The audience can see the irony because how would eating children make a mother more loving? Eating these babies would mean that more would be killed. This appeal is supposed to make the poor people have a different outlook on this horrible life they’re living and also help the rich see the torture they are putting these people through. Secondly Swift gets his appeal across by using diction. He begins explaining how tasty the children would be, “A young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled…” (Swift 178). Swift makes this seem like a great idea, but immediately you can see the sarcasm behind it all. Jonathan Swift wants to spark a change in the people of Ireland and let everyone see the reality.

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Swift used logos, imagery and exaggeration to help persuade the readers. He begins to talk about the weight of the children and says, “…a child just born will weigh twelve pounds, and in a solar year if tolerably nursed increase to twenty-eight pounds” (Swift 179). Since this country is starving as a whole be exaggerates the weight of the babies to catch everyone’s attention. Swift uses irony again to say, “supposing that one thousand families in this city would be constant customers for infants’ flesh, besides others who might have it at meetings, particularly weddings and christenings…” (Swift 183). These celebrations are supposed to be a happy time and christenings evolve babies. Eating a baby while celebrating one is a little bizarre. Everyone should be having happy celebrations and swiftly makes it finally register in all their minds.

Jonathan Swift’s techniques are effective because it makes the people of Ireland and the reader think about what is really going on. For the rich people hoped it would make them realize all the things they are doing wrong and make them want to fix everything. To get his point across he used pathos, diction, logos and irony to make the problems clear. Coming up with a silly idea like eating babies is an odd but smart way to struck the people. Swift used this to his advantage and it works. With hard work, love and strong community it will lead to a better life for all. 


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