May. 24th, 2014

One must ask why Jonathan Swift is so misanthropic after reading his "modest proposal". Such cruel and barbaric of an idea, expressed through utmost confidence, proposed to be the solution to Ireland's social issues in the early 1700. However one must also realize that by taking such a cynical, dark and gruesome approach to solving these issues, Swift is purposefully pointing out the ridiculous and terrifying nature of the situation at the time. It is critical of him to use satire in this very proposal.

Many had different opinions about this particular piece for its over the top, outrageous attempt at verbal irony in order to call attention to the situation. He could have simply written an essay somewhere along the line of "Britain you stink, and here's why:..." and then goes on listing 10 different things and issues that are being caused by the British government as harsh and inhumane control policies over Ireland. But what would his reader's reaction be, they would read it, probably agree with it since they suffer what was listed on a day to day basis, and then move on with their lives because there aren't any discussions or suggestions going on.

Also, being an economist of some sort himself, he structured his writing around factual evidence to support his idea, making it sound plausible by the end of it. He first started off with simply stating the issues and his one-size-fit-all solution to them. Then he went onto the details of every issues from the most prominent ones such as economic and population problem to the tiny little ones like domestic violence and family planning and clearly state out how simply "eating babies and using them as an extra resource" would solve all of it. By being so ridiculous and absurd but at the same time plausible and logical, he made his point in how horrible it was for the Irish workers.

In addition to that, he used his crazy argument as a pivot point to ridicule the other simpler solutions out there that could have also solved the problems a long time ago but because of greed, pride and the absence of empathy and sympathy.

If you were the target of this proposal, those in control, responsible and capable of changing the situation of Ireland at the time, how would you feel after reading this text?

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Duy Nguyen

June 2014

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