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a modest proposal rhetorical essay

Rhetorical Analysis Essay: A Modest Proposal By Jonathan Swift

Juxtaposition in a modest proposal.

In the passage, “A Modest Proposal”, Jonathan Swift utilizes satirical strategies as a tool to express his concerns to his audience. Swift does this to persuade his audience to understand where he is truly coming from. Throughout the passage, Swift protests bad behavior of the culture of poor people and the conditions of the economy. Additionally, he talks about the brutal situations of how the British are treating the Irish. Swift presents his thoughts by using logos, juxtaposition, and satirical comments in order to allow others to comprehend the current situation from his perspective.

Rhetorical Analysis: A Modest Proposal

The Irony of Modesty: An Analysis of a Satirical Speech “A Modest Proposal” written by Jonathan Swift in 1729 begins by deploring indigent Irish families who struggle tirelessly to make an honest living for their large families. This speech pivots on an satirical structure with its use of rhetoric that utilizes the form of ethos, an appeal to the reader's sense of ethics and moral values held throughout Irish society. Pathos, an appeal to invoke countless emotional responses from the readers, and logos, the appeal of logic-statistics that the above subject carries to persuade an audience by reason. By using doublespeak, Swift alludes to different types of rhetoric used throughout this speech such as ironic positive slanting, charged language and even satire to exaggerate and expose the stupidity people exemplify when offering solutions regarding the political issues Ireland was dealing

Satire In Jonathan Swifts A Modest Proposal

This essay will be analysing a close reading of Jonathan Swifts ‘A Modest Proposal,’ focusing on the literary technique of satiric meaning and the effects this has on the overall message including references to the definition of satire from Murfin and Ray. The use of Satire is present in Jonathan Swifts ‘A Modest Proposal’ since it involves “using irony, wit, and sometimes sarcasm to expose humanity's vices and foibles (Murfin and Ray 251),” which we can identify predominantly in the dialogue of the text. The essay will be anaylsed through referring to one set reading provided by Barbara Bengels ‘Swifts modest proposal’ and how Swift uses the proposal to discuss the “Children of Poor People (in Ireland) Being a Burden to their Parents, or

Analyzing The Essay 'A Modest Proposal' By Jonathan Swift

Imagine living in 1700 Ireland with no modern technology, no running water, no electricity, nothing. Now visualize being neglected by the English tyranny, thus living in poverty and starvation; struggling to make ends meet. Unfortunately, this horrible event occurred back in 1729, and to bring awareness to the difficulties that Ireland was facing, author Jonathan Swift wrote a satirical essay called A Modest Proposal. To prove his theory, Jonathan Swift creatively incorporated modes of persuasion into his writing to convince that the Irish were being treated poorly by the English.

Ethos Logos In A Modest Proposal

Throughout “A Modern Proposal,” Swift makes it a point to use ideas and terms that dehumanized people and their children. This causes the essay to make the reader feel uncomfortable and slightly detached from the world. It appeals to the moral side of people. Many people use this kind of method when writing in order to make the readers feel more sentimental. When people feel more sentimental towards a cause, they are more likely to stand up and stop being so

Rhetorical Devices In A Modest Proposal

1729, a Papist infected Ireland was being devoured by the taxes that the British placed on them. The taxes were turning into what once was a glorious place into ruins. Jonathan Swift, an Englishman and Irish sympathizer, realized that someone had to do something to wake up the British. This lead to the creation of A Modest Proposal, a pamphlet heavy with irony and juvenalian satire, which was how Jonathan Swift planned on compelling the British to do something about the poor situation in Ireland. His use of rhetorical devices gets his point across in an effective and powerful way.

Analysis Of Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal

Jonathan Swift uses rhetorical devices, logical, ethical, as well as emotional appeals to highlight the difference between Swift’s satirical attitude and the narrator’s serious attitude concerning poverty and starvation. These various articles and different exerts from “A Modest Proposal” show the misleading content of the proposal in order to save Ireland and help them become a free country

Rhetorical Devices In Jonathan Swift's Modest Proposal

Swift shapes the text in a satiric way to portray to his audience his point of view on the topic at hand, and with the use of sarcasm Jonathan Swift mocks upper-class people who are affected by the overcrowding and poverty in Dublin. The usage of a satiric tone and sarcasm help Swift develop solutions to contemporary social problems that will work. In the “Modest Proposal”, written by Jonathan Swift, diction is a key rhetorical device in this piece, because of the way Swift portrays his thoughts through satire. Diction is the style of speaking or writing determined by the choice of words by a speaker by or a writer, Swift’s audience sees his diction as inhumane because of the way he proposes solutions to the world’s problems, such as in paragraph twenty one where he

Imagery In Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal

Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” is a very interesting take on how the Irish government should cure the famine that the country was then facing. However, the entire proposal was completely bizarre, and the whole point of the essay was to bring attention to the idea that they needed a solution to the all the problems they were experiencing but the proposal was definitely not it. He even had a strongly developed plan as to how his proposal would work which makes the reader feel as if he is serious about selling children, eating them, and using their skins as a fashion accessory; however, ultimately this proposal was not his true goal. Jonathan Swift skillfully used different styles of writing, such as imagery and irony, to show why the

Critical Analysis Of Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal

Critical Analysis of Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” In the work entitled “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift, the theme of social injustice is enhanced by the use of verbal irony to convey a charged message. The ambiguous title and introduction to Jonathan Swift’s masterpiece does little to prepare the reader for shocking content revealed later in the text. Swift’s work is powerful, poignant and persuasive because it strikes at the heart of the modern readers ethics, as it likely would have done for the author’s contemporary audiences. Jonathan Swift’s 1729 masterpiece is a satirical metaphor centered around the pervasive assertion, “the English are devouring the Irish.” Jonathan Swift gives a more comprehensive exordium concerning his work stating that is it “a modest proposal for preventing the children of poor people in Ireland, from being a burden on their parents and country, and for making them beneficial to the public (Swift 1199).

A Modest Proposal Rhetorical Analysis

There are so many ways to take everything and there are multiple responses to them as well. Responses, while they may be normal, can also challenge the status quo of the time period. In the essay “A Modest Proposal” Jonathan Swift challenges the status quo of the time and place in which it was written by coming up with outrageous ideas, using sarcasm and satire, and coming up with actual ideas that would change life forever. During Jonathan’s time, no one would ever think about children being the economic problem or even eating the children. He threw out these ideas that were completely different but could solve the problem.

Rhetorical Devices Used In A Modest Proposal

In the satirical short story, “A Modest Proposal,” Jonathan Swift depicts the immoral treatment of the Irish by the imperial power, Britain. The 18th century brought great frustrations to Ireland in that the people were being oppressed by imperialism, which led to poverty and hunger. Swift satirically proposes a solution for Ireland’s problems by using a variety of rhetorical techniques: twisted humor, irony, and metaphor. Swift suggests that the only way to save Ireland from overpopulation and poverty is to kill the children of the poor families and serve them to the nobility of Ireland. Swift goes so far as to think of recipes and ways to make the skin into gloves and handbags.

Gulliver's Travels Rhetorical Analysis

Not every citizen has always enjoyed the right of freedom of speech. In Gulliver’s Travels, a highly debated book, the author Jonathan Swift, was accused of using too much satire to speak out against the English government and society. Satire is “the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.” (Dictionary.reference.com). Swift insulted the British government, society, and other important matters within England. Swift used satire to expose the shortcomings within England. He did it this way so he wouldn’t be put in jail. Although some may argue Swift used too much satire, in this case, he was able to point out wrongdoings of the English.

Satire In A Modest Proposal By Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift is an enlightenment thinker that uses satire in his writings to bring awareness to the political power and mistreatment of the people of Ireland, ‘‘he was angry or in a fit of despair over Ireland 's economic condition’’(DeGategno). Swift uses satire throughout his proposal, by suggesting to the people of Ireland that they should harvest the little children of the poor. Swift stated that by making ‘‘Them Beneficial to the Public", Ireland would be in a better circumstance. Swift proposed that the poor children 's guardians should give birth to however many number of children as would be possible and offer them for sustenance. Instead of Swift addressing the issue straightforward, Swift used Satire ¬¬¬¬which employs irony sayings- one thing while meaning its opposite—in order to present an argument.

A Rhetorical Analysis Of Swift's Political Proposal

Of the six advantages Swift enumerates, one might consider the sixth as the most sardonic since it is absurd for a mother to breed their own child to a heavy weight for economic gain. Also, the description of the relationship between husbands and wives improving since men would no longer beat their wives because they view them as cattle raising their profit. Moreover, Swift’s ridiculous proposition that an advantage would be the competition between parents to produce the “the fattest child to the market”. Swift uses the essay to satirize both his subject and his political proposal by using irony to resolve the issue of the Irish people’s economic struggle. His immoral proposal shocks the readers and forces them to think about the issues Ireland was facing specifically the tyranny of the upper class.

More about Rhetorical Analysis Essay: A Modest Proposal By Jonathan Swift


Essay on Rhetorical Analysis of a Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift

John swift's a modest proposal.

In Jonathan Swift’s satirical work, A Modest Proposal, the reader is presented with a horrible concept using extremely effective language and logos; Swift uses strong speech, rational tone, and complex grammar to convince readers that eating children will solve all the problems in 19th century Ireland. Swift’s overall goals in his pamphlet, however, is not to actually encourage eating babies, which is why it is of satire, but is instead to raise awareness of Ireland’s conditions for living, failing political figures, and the tyranny brought by England.

Irony In A Modest Proposal

The way he puts in detail about the way killing babies because he wants the reader to fall in disgust in what is being said; Swift wants the reader think this proposal is grotesque; Swift wants the reader to think and agree that this is the most disgusting thing that they have every read; Swift also wants the reader to think about what is going. He wants the reader the know that there are people suffering and there is something that should be done about it. He wants the reader to come up with an alternative, something better to save the Irish. He even challenges the reader to do so, saying "Therefore I repeat, let no man talk to me of these things and like expedients, till he has at least a glimpse of hope that there will be ever so hearty and sincere attempt to put them in practice,", (p.30). He says this to let the reader think about the many alternatives instead of the consumption of innocent children. He even gives reasons that the killings of the babies will be beneficial for his

Essay about A Modest Proposal, by Jonathan Swift

Irony is a beautiful technique exercised to convey a message or call a certain group of people to action. This rhetorical skill is artfully used by Jonathan Swift in his pamphlet “A Modest Proposal.” The main argument for this bitingly ironic essay is to capture the attention of a disconnected and indifferent audience. Swift makes his point by stringing together a dreadfully twisted set of morally untenable positions in order to cast blame and aspersions on his intended audience. Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” employs despicably vivid satire to call for change in a world of abuse and misfortune.

Exploring the Concept of Satire in A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift, and Top of the Food Chain by T. Coraghessan Boyle

In “A Modest Proposal,” Swift is offering an outrageous solution to the problems of human misery. He proposes that people should start eating babies, and using them for everything that they are worth on a daily basis. Swift creates a pamphlet and states six reasons as to why this is a brilliant idea. He states that money wouldn’t be wasted on food, the number of Catholics would be reduced, it would be great inducement to marriages, there would be more food so the economy would increase, poor tenants would have money for their landlords, and it would be an improvement for the tavern business. Swift wants everyone to know how badly the Irish people are being treated by the English. He wants to change the reader’s point of view through this sarcastic satirical pamphlet.

Satire Modest Proposal Essay

Swift’s development of the absurd proposal for eating young children so that “the poorer tenants will have something valuable” or that there “would be constant customers for infants flesh” is enhanced by numerous examples of biting irony. Such irony exists even in the title: “A Modest Proposal.” Upon reading the text, the audience can agree that Swift’s proposal is far from modest and such irony servers to enrage and puzzle the readers to the point that they question why he would be using such shifting, ironic diction. Swift’s use of absurd logic to his proposal supplements the effectiveness of verbal irony, since no one would believe that children should be eaten to improve “in the art of making good bacon”. The aforementioned examples illustrate Swift’s craftiness and the use irony to almost mock the audience. In true Juveliean fashion, such techniques are designed to arouse the reader to anger and suspicion of what is trying to be said. A satire based on the Horatian type wouldn’t use such blatantly offensive irony. Rather, the tone of voice would be “gentler, more good humored and sympathetic” (“Horatian Satire”).

Satire, Humor, and Shock Value in Swifts' A Modest Proposal Essay

Indeed the proposal to eat the poor is a shocking statement, but what adds to the shock value is the delivery. For example, take the last statement regarding a fricassee. This statement is not necessary for the point, but it certainly adds to the appalling nature of the quote. The sarcastic nature puts Swift so far above the poor subjects that it evokes an extremely humorous response. Swift digresses and uses sarcasm numerous times in the essay, to emphasize truisms in a manner that tries to be less than direct, but has the ultimate effect of clarity. For example Swift proposes that some one of the uses for the children would be to

The Satirical Nature of Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal Essay example

Furthermore, Swift also creates a strong argument throughout this essay, with the use of logos; appealing to logic and his use of statistics. Swift states that the “number of souls in this kingdom…of these I calculate there may be about two hundred thousand couples who wives are breeders”; furthermore proposing that an infant can be sold for “two shillings per anun” and “with eight shillings net profit the mother will also benefit and be fit for work to produce another child.” Another quote that implies the reader of his logic and reason , is when he states in these lines that an infant’s flesh can be seasoned throughout the year “with a little pepper or salt…especially in the winter.” He also states that the carcass

Summary Of A Modest Proposal By Jonathan Swift

In his argument, he presents a great appeal to pathos when he shocks his entire audience, and proposes such an outrageous proposal appalling everyone who reads his pamphlet. However, he takes his satire too far and ends up showing his lack of ethos and appeal to moralistic logic creating gaps in his argument that keep his argument from reaching its purpose and influencing the majority of his audience. Swift’s over use of sarcasm shows his lack of credibility to those parties he insults. Even though his argument is satirical, he only shows one side of logic disregarding moral logic that society enforces leading his audience to focus more on how he could even propose such an idea than how they are to help the poor. Moreover, Swift never directs his audience on what to do next about the situation of the poor and instead uses his satire to show what should not be done leaving his audience with no clue what to do next. However, Swift’s article presented a solid claim in pathos centered on his shocking satire and how to deal with the poor and used the appeal of satire to influence his readers to look into the situation and how to help the

Overpopulation and Poverty in Ireland in A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift

This piece written by Swift may be satirical and a horrendous idea to the common people, it would fix the problems that Dublin is having. By selling off their newborns, which they can’t afford anyway, they can make quite a bit of profit, helping with the poverty problem. Soon, they won’t have to worry about the little thieves running around because all of the children that have been stealing will have grown up and there won’t be any new children coming into the business. Lastly, with the new generation being butchered and devoured, there would be a rapid decrease in the

Analysis of Johnathan Swift´s A Modest Proposal Essay

A Modest Proposal was written in 1729 by a man of the name Johnathan Swift. This is a piece of early satire. He writes this to insult the early government system and mocks the heartless attitude that they have against the poor. He does this by writing a proposal that absolutely is outlandish and unthinkable, starting by addressing the current issue. “FOR PREVENTING THE CHILDREN OF POOR PEOPLE IN IRELAND FROM BEING A BURDEN TO THEIR PARENTS OR COUNTRY, AND FOR MAKING THEM BENEFICIAL TO THE PUBLIC” (Swift 1).

Rhetorical Devices In Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal

Throughout Swift’s content, he uses rhetorical devices such as pathos, logos, and ethos. Jonathan Swift intelligently uses pathos to play a huge roll on people’s emotion in an effort to convince them of the legitimacy of his argument, “… and butchers we may be assured will not be wanting, although I rather recommend buying the children alive, and dressing them hot from the knife, as we do roasting pigs,” (689). Logos appeals to the logical thinking of the audience is introduced in support of his case. Swift gives the logical portion by using numbers to show how many unfortunate babies would meet their demise yearly, “… the hundred and twenty thousand children, already computed, twenty thousand may be reserved for breed, whereof only one fourth part to be males… one male will be sufficient to serve four Females. That the remaining hundred thousand may at a year old be offered in sale,” (689). Ethos was shown when he talked to high authority people about the situation, “Infant's flesh will be in season throughout the year, but more plentiful in March... For we are told by a grave author, an eminent French physician… there are more children born in Roman Catholic countries about nine months after Lent,”

Irony in Swift's A Modest Proposal Essay

Overall, Swift is also using irony by relating this unheard of cruelty to babies to cruelty animals. He suggests that buying children alive and “dressing them hot from the knife as we do roasting pigs” (411) is the best way to serve them. This was intended to tell the audience that the Protestants are basically treating the Catholics like animals with no regard to life. This carefully crafted technique lets the reader see how malicious the Protestants are actually being, and that they are killing Catholic babies alive by ruining any chance at a good life. Swift did not actually mean for people to go out and cook babies like pigs to get the most satisfactory, he simply meant that if you are going to treat them like pigs, you might as well eat them like pigs. If the people of Britain can’t see that through adults, maybe

Analyzing Jonathan Swift's 'A Modest Proposal': A Satirical Surprise Ending

Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" can be said to have a satirical surprise ending, even though the reader is well prepared for it based on the tone and style of Swift's writing and any prior knowledge of the author's intentions. Swift's final solution to the problem of overpopulation is for the poor to sell their children as food for the rich. He introduces this proposition quite early into the document "A Modest Proposal," which is why the ending is not so much as a surprise as it is an intriguing rhetorical argument. The reason why the ending might seem surprising is that it seems as if Swift may indeed be presenting a realistic argument of what can be done about overpopulation, in spite of all evidence to the contrary. A reader not used to inferring messages based on tone or style might be forgiven to misread the beginning of Swift's document. For example, a person who has never heard a sarcastic tone could very well believe that Swift was being serious; in which case the reader would continue to view Swift's proposal as reasonable and either consider him a monster or a genius. Generally, Swift uses the surprise ending to alert the readers to the absurdity of the original problem that reveals social injustices and inequities. One of the biggest surprises in Swift's document is when he states, "I can think of no one objection, that will possibly be raised against this proposal, unless it should be urged, that the number of people will be thereby much lessened in the

Essay on Analysis of A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift

His use of diction relating to livestock as well as his cold, calculated tones and constant appeals to foreign authority mirror and comment upon the elite?s absurb rationalization for their abuse and exploition of the dredges of society. He constantly likens beggers to animals, even comparing children to ?sheep, black cattle or swine? and even speaking of them interms of ?fore and hind quarter?s. His tone is so disturbingly uninvolved and methodical that he is able to calculate exactly how many meals a baby will serve and even pictures cannibalism as a socially acceptable occurence when ?entertaining friends.? Throughout the piece Swift constantly seeks to jusify his proposal by mentioning the suggestions he has received from his influential friends in foreign countries. This illustrates that the narrator?s mind is even farther removed from the immediate crisis and famine. As people read through the passage, Swift is able to sneakily encourage people to question the authority of their elitist leadership.

Essay on A Modest Proposal: Satire at Its Best

Swift is outraged by the savage, inhuman acts of the Irish people and blames the British oppression. The proposal itself is a symbol of the British oppression. The mere fact that anyone would fatten up human beings like livestock and devour them is preposterous, yet the British oppression devours and consumes the Irish people in a different kind of way.

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a modest proposal rhetorical essay

Johnathan Swift’s Use of Rhetorical Devices in a Modest Proposal

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a modest proposal rhetorical essay

Kerri-Anne Bross

Jonathan Swift's Use of Satire to Get His Message Across

 When most people have a problem with the way something is being done they come right out and say it in a straightforward way. Jonathan Swift tries a different approach in order to show his displeasure with the way that Ireland is being run and the countries lack of ideas on how to solve the social issues that are affecting it. Jonathan Swift, an 18th century satirist and essayist, wrote the essay “A Modest Proposal” as a satirical way to show people that they have not come up with relevant or working ideas to solve social issues such as abortion, overpopulation, and poverty. Through his horrifically sarcastic idea of cannibalism to solve the problems of Ireland he is able to get his point across. Throughout the essay he genuinely convinces his readers to consider cannibalism, all the while stating relevant facts that make you think about the social issues that he is addressing.

 Jonathan Swifts essay “A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public” (248) is full of sarcasm, irony, and mockery. Swift immediately starts to address the issue of poverty in Ireland by talking about the poverty stricken families with many children. He states that “whoever could find out a fair, cheap, and easy method of making these children sound and useful members of the commonwealth would deserve so well of the public as to have a statue set up” (249). He then follows this up by saying “it is exactly at one year old that I propose to provide for them, in such a manner as, instead of being a charge upon their parents, or the parish, or wanting food and raiment for the rest of their lives, they shall, on the contrary, contribute to the feeding and partly to the clothing of many thousands” (249). At first everyone is horrified by reading this, which they obviously should be since he is suggesting cannibalism, but as Swift continues he speaks more of the positive outcomes that could come from this. Although it is not yet obvious at this point in the essay, Swift is not being literal with his suggestion. His words drip with sarcasm. He speaks about how these babies would provide food for the people of Ireland, as well as clothes since the skin could “make admirable gloves for ladies, and summer boots for fine gentlemen” (251). He makes his readers believe that he genuinely trusts that farming these poverty stricken children will solve the issues of overpopulation, hunger, poverty, and many more. Through these satirical, yet logical, comments, he is proving his thesis that no one has had relevant ideas that could help solve the numerous social issues that have been crippling Ireland.

 Another way he uses satire to prove his point is when he is talking about how this system will actually help solve the issues of abortion and marriage. He speaks about how this will decrease abortion rates because women will value their children as a source of income rather than a burden that will cost them more money that they do not have. Also, Swift states that “men would become as fond as their wives, during the time of their pregnancy, as they are now of their mares in foal, their cows in calf, or sows when they are ready to farrow” (253) since their wives are now carrying their source of income. This is obviously satirical because he is referring to those families like they are farm animals and not actual people. He is mocking how the rich see the poor as nothing more than animals crowding the streets. Swift also states that this plan will help lower the domestic abuse rates in Ireland. The plan would lower these rates because men will see their wives as a source of income and will do their best to care for them so that their babies will be plump and ready for sale. Swift is being sarcastic of course. He does not actually see these people as animals or as a source of economic benefit. He does not really believe that the women should breed for money and that men will care for them better because they are no longer their wives but their income. He may be sarcastic with his ideas but at this point it is still difficult to tell. Once again, he is stating all logical points that could actually solve the problems of Ireland while being cynical and sarcastic, all while proving his point that Ireland needs help.

 Swift speaks about the economic values of his plan as well. He states that “the nation’s stock will be thereby increased fifty thousand pound per annum, besides the profit of a new dish, introduced to the tables of all gentlemen of fortune in the kingdom…and the money will circulate among ourselves, the good being entirely of our own growth and manufacture” (253). Swift is convincing his readers that this plan really could get the country out of the economic slump that they are in. He’s stating that the economy in Ireland is so bad that this horrible, but logical, idea could actually fix it. By making people think, he is proving his point about all the social issues that have arose in the country.

 Throughout the essay Swift is also taking shots at the rich of the country and how they walk all over the poor without even thinking of helping them. He shows this point, through his witty satire, when he was talking about using the children for food. Swift mocks the landlords of the country when he states “I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best titles to the children” (250). Swift is talking about how landlords will take everything that the poverty stricken have, so why wouldn’t they also have the rights to their children as well?  At the end of the essay, Swift makes sure to point out that he “[has] no children by which [he] can propose to get a single penny; the youngest being nine years old, and [his] wife past child-bearing age” (255) thus proving the satirical nature of the entire essay. Once he states that he can no longer participate in his plan his readers start to realize that the entire essay was full of sarcasm, satire, and mockery. Once his readers realize this they also start to recognize all the social issues that he is addressing and how he is stating that if no one can come up with a better plan than Ireland is doomed.

Through Jonathan Swifts satirical wisdom he is able to get his point across about many social issues such as poverty, hunger, abortion, marriage, and overpopulation. His essay on the benefits of cannibalism was able to show people that no one has come up with effective or logical ideas to solve any of these issues. He convinces people that cannibalism could solve Ireland’s problems and by doing so he shows them that no one has come up with a better idea to solve these social issues. Instead of addressing the issue directly, Swift used witticism to state his views on the subject and was very effective in doing so.

Works Cited

Swift, Jonathan. “A Modest Proposal.” Fields of Reading: Motives for Writing . Eds.

Nancy R. Comley et al. Boston: Bedford/St.Martins, 2010. 248-255

Rhetorical Analysis Of Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal

a modest proposal rhetorical essay

Show More In 1729, Jonathan Swift wrote, “A Modest Proposal”, a satirical proposition, in response to the more modest but equally ridiculous proposals that had previously been sincerely proposed by others. “A Modest Proposal” was meant to criticize the Irish people, mainly the upper class, for their logical but callous approach to the poor. While poverty appears to be the obvious reason for his motivations, it seems he is also satirizing the current attitudes and viewpoints of the wealthy Irish citizens. He is able to use a combination of a reason-based approach and set a tone of humor and slight disgust to appeal to the patriots, the religious, the rich, the commoners, and the beggars of Ireland . Swift keeps the tone of the paper formal and logical, …show more content… Swift’s diction is particularly important for setting and invoking an emotional stage and forming his credibility with the audience, giving him the credibility he needs in his logical arguments. Swift cleverly uses pathos, ethos, and logos to successfully persuade his audience of their absurdity in their approach to dealing with the Irish commoners and poor. For Swift, careful diction and tone allow him to successfully use pathos in persuading his audience. Swift uses three distinct tones to create a neutral persona while making himself into a patriotic, Irish-loving narrator; someone that is relatable and could be trusted. The first sentence of “ A Modest Proposal ” sets all three tones: despairing and sympathetic, annoyed and condescending, and patriotic. He begins the passage with a melancholy image, setting the tone for an impoverished town, …show more content… Throughout the passage, Swift uses calculations he made to not only prove his credibility as a narrator but the credibility of the proposal. In one particular section, Swift lists the six advantages to his proposal. In this list, Swift is able to continue his appeal to every citizen of Ireland. He criticizes the papists, offers money to the poor, shows the economic gain, the relief of burdens on poor families, the refinement of the meat in recipes for the wealthy, and a social improvement for the commoners and poor. The proposal of eating infants seems less absurd, and in fact, it would greatly help improve Ireland. After all, if Swift was not quite informed of the subject and of other proposals and willing to consider all other proposals if his proposal was not sound and also the best option for Ireland, then he would have no reason to introduce and share it. “A Modest Proposal” was Jonathan Swift ’s satirical proposition on how Ireland should solve its economical and hunger problems. Swift was able to convince the readers of his pamphlet that while it may seem absurd, the idea of consuming infants could truly be advantageous for Ireland. Through his tone, diction, and careful word choice, Swift was able

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A Modest Proposal

Introduction of “a modest proposal”.

A Modest Proposal is an essay written by Jonathan Swift . The full title of the essay is ‘For preventing the children of poor people in Ireland, from being a burden on their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the publick’ and is commonly known as ‘A Modest Proposal’ in its short form. It was published in 1729 anonymously. The essay is labeled as the best example of a juvenile satire , directing its arrow of ironic strictures on the existing personalities and figures of his times. The essay revolves around his suggestion of poor Irish children to be sold for food for the elite class of that time in a very mockingly serious mood . The hyperbolic suggestion, sometimes, evokes highly reprehensible emotions amongst the readers.

Summary of “A Modest Proposal”

The reason is that they have already devoured several parents in their greed for more and that they deserve to take lead in this work. He also suggests that by doing this, they would be becoming a source of increasing profits for a considerable number of mothers. He further goes on by mocking the Catholic church that the Catholics produce more children than the Protests who were ruling the country since they are against the birth control that was introduced during that time even though there’s a spike in overpopulation and poverty . If such people, he argues, prove their ability in doing business, they can use the hide and other parts of the children to sharpen their business skills such as they can prepare gloves and shoes from their hide or sell it in the market. Calling his suggestion “innocent, cheap, easy and effectual” Swift states that he has no personal interest involved in this proposal as he has no child and that his wife, too, has passed the child-bearing age.

Major Themes in “A Modest Proposal”

Writing style of “a modest proposal”, analysis of literary devices in “a modest proposal”  , related posts:, post navigation.

A Modest Proposal Rhetorical Analysis

Jonathan Swift’s paper, A Modest Proposal, describes the social challenges confronting his world and makes the outrageous recommendation that children be killed to address the issue of overpopulation. As absurd as this idea may be, Swift sincerely persuades readers to consider cannibalism while using rhetorical devices to make the reader consider the social problems that he is tackling. In the story A Modest Proposal, the speaker successfully persuades the reader of the importance of addressing societal issues such as abortion, hunger, and overpopulation. He accomplishes this with the use of statistics and sarcasm. As well, the author establishes himself as a credible speaker for the social problems facing his country. To start with, Jonathan Swift uses factual statistics to illustrate the problem of overpopulation in his country. For instance, he states that over 100, 000 parents cannot adequately take care of their children which leads to malnourished children and increased crime rate since these children resort to rime at a young age (Swift 6). In his argument, Swift does not see the need of having so many children in society if the economy cannot sustainably meet all their needs. It is no wonder he suggests that they should be sold to the slaughterhouse and though this suggestion sounds inhumane, it illustrates the urgency of the need to control population growth in the country (Ramler et al. 363). Besides, by suggesting that each parent will get a profit of shillings 8 per annum, Swift illustrates the amount the country could save by controlling overpopulation and therefore contribute to sustainability in the country (Swift 23). In supporting his argument, Jonathan Swift uses sarcasm by suggesting that some body parts of the child are good for human consumption and even goes further to suggest that on certain occasions such as during festivals, the body parts will be high on demand (Swift 12). This idea is ridiculous in that the children’s body parts will be both a delicacy and used for making ornaments. Secondly, he applies sarcasm in suggesting that Ireland should solve its economic problems (Ramler et al. 362). Jonathan suggests that if the poor people were food, they would raise revenues for their country through exporting excess children to other countries. Thirdly, Swift computes the price of each child as shillings and states that no gentleman would refuse to give shillings 10 to get the carcass of a good fat child (Swift 14). The use of sarcasm but the author is aimed at evoking anger and bitterness among the citizens and their government so that they look for a lasting solution to overpopulation. Besides, Jonathan establishes himself as a person who has the moral authority and the knowledge to suggest solutions to problems facing his country. To do this, he presents a well-researched statistical data as an illustration that he understands the extent of over population (Ramler et al. 357). As well, he points the effects of overpopulation such as increased poverty and crime in society. As well, he declares that he has no personal interest in suggesting the solutions but his intentions are purely for the good of his country (Swift 33). By illustrating his credibility, Jonathan successfully persuades the reader on the need to improve the living conditions of the poor by addressing the social problems in the country. In conclusion, Jonathan effectively convinces the reader on the urgency to solve social problems such as abortion, poverty, and overpopulation. He does this through the use of statistics, sarcasm and establishing himself as an authority on the social issues facing his country.

Cited Works Remler, Dahlia K., Don J. Waisanen, and Andrea Gabor. “Academic journalism: A modest proposal.” Journalism Studies 15.4 (2014): 357-373. Swift, Jonathan. A Modest Proposal. Penguin UK, 2015.

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Rhetorical analysis - a modest proposal.

            In the seventeenth century, people made habit of distributing political pamphlets in Ireland to promote intellectual ideas. Many people threw these pamphlets away and did not pay attention to them. In 1729 Jonathan Swift, author of "A Modest Proposal," devises this proposal to show how bad and backwards the social class and general state Ireland was in. His proposal was that the infants of the desolate and poor should "contribute to the feeding, and partly to the clothing, of many thousands" in order to improve the standard of living and economy in Ireland (Swift). .              Jonathan Swift's reasoning behind this proposal is that many women were having children that they were unable to care for. He says that this proposal would make the infants, "beneficial to the public" (Swift). This proposal also addresses the horrible conditions in which the people were living in at the time. Swift blames the politicians for the deplorable conditions due to the lack of apathy presented in the decision making process, in fixing the conditions. In "A Modest Proposal", Swift uses rhetorical exaggeration, sarcasm, and insincerity to express his aggravation with papists, politicians, and the poverty stricken citizens of Ireland at the time. In order to make his argument more effective, and to get his message across, Swift uses the rhetorical devices of logos and ethos. .              Jonathan Swift employs the use of logos to help him throughout his proposal. In The History and Theory of Rhetoric, logos is defined as an account, or a clear and logical explanation, or an argument. Swift makes a very logical and persuasive argument that the Irish should eat their children. Swift makes a case that by feeding on the infants of the poor after they reach one year of age, the country would be solving several major issues the country is facing. By eating the babies they can reduce the number of children that the poor people have to support, the men would not beat their pregnant wives because the children they are carrying are valuable like a foal or calf, and by selling the infants as food the economy will be improved.

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1. satirical analysis - a modest proposal.

a modest proposal rhetorical essay

In Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal," Swift argues that the Irish might improve their national economy and poverty if they sell their children as food for those who are well to do. ... One of the rhetorical devices used by Jonathan Swift in "A Modest Proposal" was irony. ... Therefore, the use of irony in "A Modest Proposal" was to show that since the wrong or complete opposite idea was put up, everyone should understand that none of what is being suggested should actually be taken literally. ... A third rhetorical device used by Swift in his essay was un...

2. Analysis of A Modest Proposal

a modest proposal rhetorical essay

Summary "A Modest Proposal" is a satirical essay written by Jonathan Swift to mock and criticize the degradation of Ireland's society during a period of economic decline. ... Analysis During the late seventeenth century, Ireland was placed into a state of economic and social decline. ... Disgusted by the backwards state of Ireland and its social classes, author Jonathan Swift constructs a ridiculous proposal in his satirical essay "A Modest Proposal". ... In his essay "A Modest Proposal", Swift proposes an irrational solution to Ireland's problems, which...

3. Analysis of A Modest Proposal

a modest proposal rhetorical essay

Jonathan Swift, author of "A Modest Proposal," takes advantage of the overlooked pamphlets, and constructs a ridiculous proposal. ... He also states that his proposal would make the babies "beneficial to the public". ... In "A Modest Proposal", Swift effectively uses insincerity, sarcasm, and rhetorical exaggeration to reveal his annoyance of politicians, papists, and overall citizens of poverty-stricken Ireland in the late seventeenth century. ... Jonathan Swift not only uses rhetoric to dehumanize the children throughout the proposal, but he engages his sarcasti...

4. Is "The Modest Proposal" a successful piece of writing?

a modest proposal rhetorical essay

In the case of Jonathon Swift's "The Modest Proposal", the piece is a satire, and so we must first find out what satire is. ... The story itself is ironic since no one can take Swift's proposal seriously. ... Therefore, before an analysis can continue, one has to make the assumption that this is strictly a fictional work and Swift had no intention of pursuing his proposal any further. ... I believe that Swift's "The Modest Proposal" is an extremely successful piece of writing. ... The main rhetorical challenge of this bitingly ironic essay is capturing the attention of an ...


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