14 September 2013
A Modest Proposal A Modest Proposal was written by Irish author Jonathan Swift and publish as a print in 1729. His proposal is very well known because of the creative way he utilizes satire. The satirical elements enhance the point he is trying to make, and grab people’s attention. From the reader can tell his purpose, audience, genre, stance and media.
Authors can have many purposes for writing an essay, article or book. In A Modest Proposal, Jonathan Swift has one very obvious purpose. His purpose in writing his essay was to address the issues of poverty in Ireland during the time period. His purpose is obvious in the first paragraph because he describes the sad sight of “these mothers, instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in strolling to beg sustenance for their helpless infants” (Swift). He describes this “melancholy” sight of Irelands streets being filled with beggars, which implies that is the topic he wishes to address. Throughout his essay he illustrates an elaborate plan to end the poverty in Ireland. His audience is not as clear as his purpose. Swift’s target audience is the upper classes of England and Ireland. He addresses these people as his audience because he feels they are to blame for the poverty in the lower classes in Ireland. He wants to show the upper class that they need to find a solution to all of the poverty and he does this by criticizing them. He does not do this directly, but he sometimes lets his true feeling show through. In one paragraph he writes about the elderly poor. He satirically explains that nothing needs to be done for them “because it is very well known that they are every day dying and rotting by cold and famine, and filth and vermin, as fast as can be reasonably expected” (Swift). This point is meant to criticize the conditions of the cities in Ireland due to the heavy taxation from the English. Ireland is in so much debt that they cannot break away from England. This relationship causes Ireland to be very dependent on England. The reader must dig a little deeper to find the audience Swift was writing for. He does not directly address them, which calls for some detective work on the reader’s part. The genre of this essay would be a proposal. Swift identifies a problem and offers a solution, even though this solution is satirical and illogical. His proposal includes designating certain women as “breeders” who will then birth children that “contribute to the feeding, and partly to the clothing, of many thousands” (Swift). Swift wants to use the children of poor family as food and clothing for