Diction In A Modest Proposal

Words: 1564
Pages: 7

An Anglican priest well known for his political pamphlets, Jonathan Swift, in his essay “A Modest Proposal” addresses the over population of poor people having children and its effects on Ireland. Swift’s purpose is to induce anger in the readers by making an outrageous proposal to deal with the poor population of Ireland. He creates an ironic tone in order to point out the horrible living conditions in Ireland to the wealthy landowners who are exploiting them. Swift begins his essay by emphasizing the how bad the living conditions are in Ireland. He appeals to the emotions of the reader by saying “It is a melancholy object to those who walk through this great town or travel in the country…” (752). Swift creates a dark diction through the use of melancholy instead of just saying it was sad. He also uses similar sequence of words like “when they see the streets, the roads, and cabin doors, crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children all in rags…” (752), and “…helpless infants: who as …show more content…
He then argues that no one can complain about it because nothing else is being done. He emphasizes this repeating “Therefore I repeat, let no man talk to me of these and the like expedients, till he has at least some glimpse of hope that there will ever be some hearty and sincere attempt to put them into practice” (758). Swift is frustrated when saying this and is implying that Irelands needs to take responsibility for themselves to stop letting the wealthy landowners from exploiting them. Swift ends his “modest proposal” with a bit of irony by mentioning that “I profess, in sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary work…” (759). Swift is mocking the wealthy land owners because they don’t want to do anything other than exploit the poor for more