Jonathan Swift was a well known pamphleteer, in his writing he was very satirical. For some of these he decided to remain anonymous. ‘A Modest Proposal’ is an example of this, written in 1729, it was written for the intention to shock in a satirical manner. Swifts intentions were to provoke a reaction towards the rich. Jonathan Swift wrote ‘A Modest Proposal’ to show people the situation that was happening in Ireland at the time such as starvation. This down-fall on Ireland was happening because of the unfair laws which had been set by Britain.
Swift believed that eating your own children would save you money. Swift was angry that the Irish did not have the same rights as the British, for example the Irish weren’t allowed to export goods because of the British rulings. Swift is inspired by the suffering that is happening in Ireland and that makes him write ‘A Modest Proposal’; it was mainly written to provoke a reaction towards the rich people of Britain. Jonathan Swift writes his ‘A Modest proposal’ pamphlet in a satirical style.
It must clearly be understood that Swift’s ideas aren’t those of entire truth; his points are there to be persuasive in a satirical manner. ‘A Modest Proposal’ is straight forward and rational-but his matter of fact style makes it more shocking. He explains and justifies his ideas very clearly and dismisses other people’s opinions: ‘maturely weighed the several schemes of other projectors, I have always found them grossly mistaken in the computation. ‘ This portrays that he dismisses ideas of other people, and whatever people may of though is now reversed around on them.
He uses statistics to justify his ideas clearly ‘I calculate there may be two hundred thousand people whose wives are breeders. ‘ This interprets to us that he has done some research. Swift repeatedly uses offensive language by referring to humans as ‘breeders’ and describing the people of Ireland dwelling in a kingdom. For example ‘The number of souls in this kingdom being usually reckoned one million and a half… ‘ He thinks humans are like animals and he also thinks it is ok to eat humans; this idea is purposely used by Swift to shock.
It is difficult to separate the narrators voice and Jonathan Swift’s because he wants to stay discreet and he is anonymous throughout this pamphlet until we realize that we have been fooled the narration in ‘A Modest Proposal is actually a character- a twist of Swifts imagination. Swifts true feeling come out through paragraph thirty one; when he starts to speak about England ‘perhaps I could name a country which would be glad to eat up our whole nation without it’. This is aimed directly to England and he explains his hatred towards some English, especially landlords.
We find out about Swift’s satirical character when he says ‘But to myself, having been wearied out for many years with offering vain, idle, visionary thoughts, and at lengthy utterly despairing of success I fortunately fell upon this proposal. ‘ The narrator incur here that he spent years of his life on other silly ideas and then he came up with the idea of cannibalism; which he expressed by giving aids such as statistics and calculating facts. The narrator is a fictional character, paragraph 31 shows the satires of his writing.
The narrators job is to persuade the Irish to think about there actions, like there relationship with their neighbour country. He dislikes some British for his own personal reasons and this pamphlet wants gives emphasis on this. Swift uses many persuasive devices such as emotive words, tripling, shock tactics and also farming imagery. Swifts use of tripling is written through this pamphlet, and example of this is ‘fair, cheap and easy’ Listing in threes is proven to be more effective than listing in twos or fours. Swift also uses emotive words such as ‘additional grievance’ or ‘humbly’.
He uses such words like this because they are more effective than using standard words with the same meaning. The shock tactics and farming imagery he uses are words such as ‘stewed, roasted, baked or boiled’; these can be very offensive as he is referring to humans as a cooking method and this personally shocked me. In Swift’s structure of ‘A Modest Proposal’ in his exordium he firstly introduces his character and the problems which are occurring in Ireland on an everyday basis therefore this shows us his personal opinion right from the start. He is also explaining a hidden agenda, which he is un-raveling as he continues his pamphlet.
In Swift’s narration he describes the problem of rich people getting richer and the poor getting poorer and the plight of Ireland’s starving peasants. Swift’s conformation is proved when he uses statistics and he it looks like he’s actually studied the problem. Swift refutes other opinions but making sure his ideas are clear and concise, he also makes sure he dismisses other peoples objections ‘I have maturely weighed the schemes of other projectors’, he explains here that he has thought about other ideas from different people, but they just don’t seem to add up.
Swift has an effective conclusion, he uses a good rhetorical device; ‘First, as things now stand, how will they be able to find food and raiment for a hundred thousand useless mouths and backs’. This clearly is not supposed to have an answer to it and is used to good effect. He also thinks that before anyone puts wont their own ideas he will have a two reasons for them not to justify there ideas; his two reasons are strong and valid. This would shock readers as he explains himself in paragraph thirty one, now in thirty two he has strong feasible reasons for no one else to come up with suggestions.
To conclude Swifts satire suggestions are still able to shock in the twenty first century and his satire is still effective even after paragraph thirty one. He shocks the readers throughout and his persuasion is realistically believable. His parody and satirical manner still definitely has the power to shock in this day and age. To summaries Jonathan Swift’s ‘A Modest Proposal is a pamphlet written for the people of Ireland for preventing the children of the poor people in Ireland from being a burden to their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the public.
The most shocking thing about ‘A Modest Proposal’ is that all of his proposal-his whole piece of writing is based on fiction not fact and the narrator is an imaginary character created by Swift. Swifts whole idea is backed up by his research from statistics and to conclude his proposal is one simple idea for making the Irish children useful so that their parents and the government don’t have to look after them. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Jonathan Swift section.