Face. Jonathan Swift Essay

Submitted By briannasn1695
Words: 833
Pages: 4

Brianna Nichols Nichols
1
Professor Armour­Hileman
English 1101
02 December 2014
Rhetorical Essay

For over 500 years, Ireland had been under English control. Due to the English trade restrictions and constant stripping of the country’s resources, Ireland experienced a period of economic and social downfall. This affected many of the Irish citizens, causing them to suffer famine and become poor (609). In order to revive the nation’s economy, Jonathan Swift proposes in his “A
Modest Proposal”, for the country to resort to cannibalism by using children as meat for consumption. By raising and selling the children as cattle, it would help Ireland combat overpopulation and unemployment; generating economic growth for the nation. The purpose of his proposal was to show the English parliament the “moral injustice” which they were responsible for creating. Swift was effective in his satirical argument by using sarcasm and irony to inspire a call for action for Ireland.
In his essay, he states it cost “two shillings” to raise a child until its “one year of age”. Swift also states that the “babies” that are used for meat and clothing are worth “ten shillings”, suggesting that the children are better dead than alive. The children,to the author, are worthless when they are alive because the parents constantly have to provide food and other necessities for them to survive. If the parents sell their children for consumption, they will be able to make a profit of
“ten shillings” thus being able to obtain a comfortable lifestyle. “Whoever could find out a fair,

Brianna Nichols Nichols
2
Professor Armour­Hileman
English 1101
02 December 2014
Rhetorical Essay cheap and easy method of making these children sound and useful members of the commonwealth would deserve so well of the publick, as to have his Statue set up for a preserver of the nation” (6..). The author literally does not want a statue in honor of his outrageous proposal, but instead mocks the system for being the source of Ireland’s state of poverty. Many
Irish women resort to abortions due to the fact that they were too poor to care for a child.
Jonathan Swift states that cannibalism will help “prevent voluntary abortions”. However,
“sacrificing poor innocent babies” for clothing and food source is not only abortion but homicide, which contradicts the authors statement. His sarcasm helps point out how members of the ruling class waste more money on a meal than what it costs to feed and clothe an Irish child.
Swift's “Modest Proposal” is far from humble: It’s horrifying and absurd to even consider eating a human­­especially a child. Swift shows that he is very sympathetic towards the poor and believes that they are not the cause of their impoverished lifestyle. In the beginning of his argument, he states: “It is a melancholy object to those who walk through this great town...when they see the streets...crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four or six children...importuning every passenger for an alms”(609).The use of the words “helpless” and
“forced” makes the reader feel very apologetic for the conditions the people of Ireland have to

Brianna Nichols Nichols
3
Professor…