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A Modest Proposal Rhetorical Devices

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In the text, “A Modest Proposal”, the author Jonathan Swift uses multiple different rhetorical devices. Hyperbole is definitely one rhetorical device that Swift uses throughout the text. This rhetorical device is a great exaggeration of fact, used whether for serious or comic effect. This clearly is used by Swift in his writing and using this rhetorical device makes the reader more engaged in the text and it just overall makes it more exciting to read. Swift says, “These mothers, instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in strolling to beg sustenance.” This is clearly an exaggeration of the truth and swift does this multiple times throughout his text. In this quote, Swift claims that mothers are stuck in one position that is begging for sustenance, this is clearly an exaggeration of the truth. Therefore, hyperboles are clearly one of several rhetorical devices that Swift uses throughout the text.

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Throughout “A Modest Proposal”, Jonathan Swift the author, uses irony as a rhetorical device. Now this is a much more broad rhetorical device that he uses because the writing as a whole shows irony less than specific quotes. Irony is a method of humorous or sarcastic expression in which the intended meaning of the words is the opposite of their usual meaning. That being said, irony is definitely arguable the most obvious rhetorical device that Jonathan Swift uses in the text. The text shows irony because he literally claims that families should eat their children as a solution to prevent them from having to take care of them. Swift claims that this is a fair, cheap, and easy Method. This is clearly irony because this is obviously not a good thing to do, and it wouldn't solve the problem of not being able to provide for your children.

In “A Modest Proposal”, the author Jonathan Swift uses emotional words as a rhetorical device. This is a quite obvious rhetorical device that Swift uses because he uses it often throughout the text. Emotional words are simply the use of words likely to engage strong emotions in the audience. One example is from the beginning of the text, Swift says, “I think it is agreed by all parties, that this prodigious number of children in the arms, or on the backs, or at the heels of their mothers, and frequently of their fathers, is in the present deplorable state of the kingdom”

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A Modest Proposal Rhetorical Devices. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 5, 2024, from
“A Modest Proposal Rhetorical Devices.” Edubirdie, 27 Sept. 2022,
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A Modest Proposal Rhetorical Devices [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 27 [cited 2024 Mar 5]. Available from:
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