15 September 16, 2013
“A Modest Proposal”: Rhetorical Analysis
Johnathon Swift, the author of “A Modest Proposal”, is disgusted in seeing the amount of children who are poor begging on the streets of London. Therefore, he comes up with an outlandish proposal in hopes to persuade the country to start considering a realistic possibility. He focuses his proposition on Ireland because the problem is inside their country. “…it is of a much greater extent, and shall take in the whole number of infants at a certain age, who are born of parents in effect as little able to support them, as those who demand our charity in the streets,” says Swift. In this quote, Swift’s proposal is revealed and it explains his idea of eating the children once they reach a certain age. It also states that every child whose parents cannot support them will be eaten, not just the beggar’s children. The author used this text to express the importance of the poverty and hunger of the country and thinks his proposal is for the better of Ireland. Swift provided support to his outlandish proposal by using numerous appeals and examples. Swift ensures positive recognition and credibility throughout “A Modest Proposal.” The only reason Swift wrote this was to try and find a solution to the problem that his country was facing, which was poverty and hunger, because he cared about the less fortunate and wanted a better country. Swift intended his article for the audience of the people of Ireland, hoping that they too would care about the less fortunate and also come up with a resolution. In the following quote, Swift uses an example to connect with the audience by talking about a problem they all face in everyday life, “…who walk through this great town, or travel in the country, 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, and importuning every passenger for an alms.” Swift is making a very valid point stating that the beggars that cannot even support themselves have up to six children that they need to take care of that beg alongside them. Swift feels that this is an obvious problem that needs to be taken care of and by giving his gruesome proposal, he figured that the people of Ireland would then try to figure out a reasonable solution. Swift also implies emotional appeals to his argument. Whenever Swift proposes that everyone in Ireland eat children, he is appealing to their morals as human beings by asking the question if it’s right for these poor children to starve to death or should they result to cannibalism for the betterment of society. It is a tough decision for the parents because they want to better the country but they would not want their children to be forced to be eaten. “A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends, and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt, will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.” (Swift) In this quote, Swift describes a child as being a meal with multiple details. The quote also shows how the hunger problem can be eliminated by stating the amount of people a plump baby could feed. Swift using such a gruesome proposal brought the attention to more people because the thought of eating a toddler should have an emotional effect on any human. Swift’s use of satire and graphic language made “A Modest Proposal” an effective article. His proposal not only stated that people turn to cannibalism but he went into very great details with his idea. Swift had exact numbers planned out and also what good would come to his country if the population followed thru with his idea.