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A Modest Proposal Jonathan Swift

1 Pages 349 Words

Written in complete parody, Jonathan Swift addresses the issue of dealing with the poor in Ireland in his satirical work, “A Modest Proposal”. During a time when a caste system was a basis for government, and when the English who governed Ireland held Catholicism in disdain, Swift clearly threw stones with his essay.

The author begins by blaming the existence of the poor for the hardships of the kingdom; this is complete irony, since it would be the existence of the government (as it were) that caused the hardships of the poor during this time period. In essence, the author is blaming the government and the politicians of murder by starvation of the poor due to heavy taxation. While it allowed the landlords and owners of the property, that the poor work so hard to cultivate, escape the heavy taxation, and only imposing what would amount to a token payment when compared equally with the taxes required of the poor. Swift even goes so far as to suggest that the way of life and suffering that is imposed on the poor is so bad, that they would trade an early, or easy death for the life the poor currently live.

The reader is next drawn into a theory of being able to solve the problem of the overwhelming poor by saying that they can be “useful members of the commonwealth” (52). Going a step further, Swift states that his method will be easy in comparison to the high cost of caring for these individuals as proposed by others. And finally Swift reveals his theory to be the sale and consumption of the young infant stock of the poor. To be able to see the faces of the politicians as they read these words for the first time. The utter irony, and sadism they must have felt, being compared to such perverse actions.

It is probably safe to say that Swift threw more than a few stones with this essay, but more likely he directed a landslide toward the ruling government of that time....

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