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Analytical Essay on A Modest Proposal: Use of Sarcasm and Satire

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Its normal to believe that if you have only grew in good living conditions and don’t know anything better, then you’ll automatically assume everyone else must also have good living conditions. When you first encounter someone who didn’t live well you would think that it’s because of something they did. This has been a common thing from the beginning of time and is still common today. “A Modest Proposal” published by Johnathan Swift in 1729 is set in Ireland where the population increased “… from less than 2 million in 1700 to nearly 5 million in 1800.” (Tim Lambert). The Irish families suffered and from Britain’s power to legislate over them. Several laws made against them like the Act of 1704, stated that “Catholics could not buy land. They could not leave their land to a single heir, and they could not inherit land from Protestants.” (Tim Lambert).

The title , “A Modest Proposal” displays sarcasm in itself. It dismisses and undermines the reality of Irish living by comparing the worth of children to the worth of a common meal. Paragraph four, Swift explains his solution, which is unexplainable. He thinks the solution to save the Irish population is to kill Irish babies. Swift also proposes that the babies should be eaten to feed the country and to clothe thousands. The paper does a good job of showing how morally and ethically wrong the British can be and showing how the Irish choose to react to it.

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Swift used Juvenalian satire to explain the problems of the Irish and how they were really their own enemy. In the first words of the essay, “It is a melancholy object to those who walk through this great town…”(Swift ) Instead of addressing the feelings of the oppressed, he says how it is depressing for the people not suffering to see them begging.Mothers, unable to work for their livelihood, ‘are forced to employ all their Time’ struggling for food.(Swift )

“…it will prevent those voluntary abortions, and that horrid practice of women murdering their bastard children” (Swift ).A sarcastic statement that judges them on their religious choices. Irish people are traditionally Catholics who do not believe in abortions which explains why they have such large families. Some have an abortion, to avoid feeding another human being. Families that do a good job of saving and taking care of their money can provide them with more things of their liking and can contribute to the well being of the community.

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Analytical Essay on A Modest Proposal: Use of Sarcasm and Satire. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from
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