He uses common methods of argument throughout his essay, such as appealing to the authority of "a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London" and "the famous Psalmanazar, a native of the island Formosa" (who had already confessed to not being from Formosa in 1706).Swift couches his arguments in then-current events, exploiting common prejudice against Papists and pointing out their depredations of England.Wittkowsky counters that Swift's satiric use of statistical analysis is an effort to enhance his satire that “springs from a spirit of bitter mockery, not from the delight in calculations for their own sake.”Charles K.
He uses common methods of argument throughout his essay, such as appealing to the authority of "a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London" and "the famous Psalmanazar, a native of the island Formosa" (who had already confessed to not being from Formosa in 1706).Swift couches his arguments in then-current events, exploiting common prejudice against Papists and pointing out their depredations of England.Wittkowsky counters that Swift's satiric use of statistical analysis is an effort to enhance his satire that “springs from a spirit of bitter mockery, not from the delight in calculations for their own sake.”Charles K.Tags: How To Assign Ip Address To ComputerEmerald Research PapersDissertation Writing S For WomenHigh School Creative Writing S 2012Cuckoo Essay Flew Nest One OverDorothy Parker Essay Topics
After enumerating the benefits of his proposal, Swift addresses possible objections including the depopulation of Ireland and a litany of other solutions which he dismisses as impractical.
Even today, readers unacquainted with its reputation as a satirical work often do not immediately realize that Swift was not seriously proposing cannibalism and infanticide.
It is no longer true, as it was in Swift's time, that any educated reader would be familiar with the satires of Horace and Juvenal, and so recognize that Swift's essay follows the rules and structure of Latin satires.
The satirical element of the pamphlet is often only understood after the reader notes the allusions made by Swift to the attitudes of landlords, such as the following: "I grant this food may be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for Landlords, who as they have already devoured most of the Parents, seem to have the best Title to the Children." Swift extends the metaphor to get in a few jibes at England’s mistreatment of Ireland, noting that "For this kind of commodity will not bear exportation, and flesh being of too tender a consistence, to admit a long continuance in salt, although perhaps I could name a country, which would be glad to eat up our whole nation without it." In the tradition of Roman satire, Swift introduces the reforms he is actually suggesting by deriding them: Therefore let no man talk to me of other expedients: Of taxing our absentees at five shillings a pound: Of using neither clothes, nor household furniture, except what is of our own growth and manufacture: Of utterly rejecting the materials and instruments that promote foreign luxury: Of curing the expensiveness of pride, vanity, idleness, and gaming in our women: Of introducing a vein of parsimony, prudence and temperance: Of learning to love our country, wherein we differ even from Laplanders, and the inhabitants of Topinamboo: Of quitting our animosities and factions, nor acting any longer like the Jews, who were murdering one another at the very moment their city was taken: Of being a little cautious not to sell our country and consciences for nothing: Of teaching landlords to have at least one degree of mercy towards their tenants.
Critics differ about Swift’s intentions in using this faux-mathematical philosophy.
Edmund Wilson argues that statistically “the logic of the "Modest proposal" can be compared with Marx's defense of crime in which he argues that crime takes care of the superfluous population”.Furthermore, “in the mercantilist view no child was too young to go into industry.” Wittkowsky reminds us that in the “Age of Swift” the “somewhat more humane attitudes of an earlier day had all but disappeared and the laborer had come to be regarded as a commodity.” Swift's essay strikes at the heart of this view of the human being as a number or commodity. Landa focuses on Swift’s critique of the popular and unjustified maxim of eighteenth-century mercantilism that “people are the riches of a nation.” Swift however, Landa argues, is not merely criticizing economic maxims but also addressing the fact that England was denying Irish citizens their natural rights and dehumanizing them by viewing them as a mere commodity. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist contains a letter in which he uses A Modest Proposal's satire technique against the Vietnam War.A Modest Proposal is a classic essay, included in many literature programs as an example of early modern western satire. Thompson writes a letter to a local Aspen newspaper informing them that on Christmas Eve he was going to burn a number of dogs, and hopefully any humans they find, using napalm to protest the burning of Vietnamese people occurring overseas.This essay is widely held to be one of the greatest examples of sustained irony in the history of the English language.Much of its shock value derives from the fact that the first portion of the essay describes the plight of starving beggars in Ireland, so that the reader is unprepared for the surprise of Swift's solution when he states, "A young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout." Swift goes to great lengths to support his argument, including a list of possible preparation styles for the children, and calculations showing the financial benefits of his suggestion.Swift was especially insulted by projects that tried to fix population and labor issues with a simple cure-all solution.to try and prove the utter ridiculousness of trying to prove any proposal with dispassionate statistics.Most critics have been reluctant to analyze the targets of Swift’s A Modest Proposal because of a misreading of Swift’s intentions.According to Wittkowsky, critics wrongly assumed that A Modest Proposal targeted conditions in Ireland, One of Swift’s overarching targets in A Modest Proposal was the can-do spirit of the times that led people to devise a number of illogical schemes that would purportedly solve social and economic ills.Lewis argues that the speaker uses “the vocabulary of animal husbandry” (Lewis 138) to describe the Irish.Once the children have been commoditized, Swift’s rhetoric can easily turn “people into animals, then meat, and from meat, logically, into tonnage worth a price per pound.” (Lewis 138) Swift uses the Proposer’s serious tone to highlight the absurdity of his proposal.