A Modest Proposal

“A Modest Proposal,” is a Juvenilia sarcastic essay published incognito by Jonathan Swift in 1729. He suggests that the poor Irish might simplify their economic difficulties by offering their infants as food for rich ladies and gentlemen. This satirical exaggeration mocks the attitude of the heartless to the poor and also the British policy toward Ireland in general. The key tenacity of using satire is to make the readers create solutions to the issue under discussion (Johnson)

In the article, the author has employed pathos has a way to convince his audience. In applying pathos, he used the article to catch attention to the kind of abuses that were inflicted on Irish Catholics by the wealthy English Protestants. He held the opinion that England was oppressing and exploiting Ireland. Most of Irishmen worked in ranches belonging to Englishmen who charged rents that were unaffordable to many Irish. Therefore, many families who were farmers were almost living in starvation. He also assumes the persona of a disturbed economist who proposes that, for Ireland to combat the overpopulation and poverty, the poor should sell their children to the wealthy as food. He adds that selling children as food will reduce not only the population but also increase the income for the poor. In coming up with this offensive thesis, Swift offers full detail, projecting the costs of rearing a child, approximating the affected portion of the population, and even providing definite ideas concerning the number of pieces a child can provide. During this article, Swift’s satire counts on the character of the economist, an apparently well-meaning idealistic whose sympathy for the poor causes him to suggest a remedy of brutal cruelty. His opinions, rationally offered, support a profoundly irrational proposition, and their shocking callousness fundamentally challenges their compassionate intention.

Regarding this article, critical evaluations of another author’s work can be used in future in that it gives guidelines on how to use satire and the different modes of persuasion in passing critical information when writing articles.