Rhetorical Devices In A Modest Proposal

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Most people would agree that we should do whatever we can to get rid of poverty and starvation, but what if one of the solutions is unusual? Jonathan Swift does just that in “A Modest Proposal” where his narrator proposes the idea to eat one-year old babies as a solution to get rid of starvation and poverty. This literary work shocked the people of Ireland in 1729, just as Swift planned. The actual purpose for this gruesome essay, however, was too allude to England’s poor treatment of Ireland. In “A Modest Proposal” the narrator’s proposal and attitude, and Swift’s purpose and attitude are contrasted using rhetorical devices and the appeal of logos. Ireland in 1729 was not only struggling through an economic depression but a famine as well. …show more content…

The narrator makes himself seem more formal by using such word choice as “breeders” (Swift 3). This makes them appear less human and more like they are just products or animals. The objective is to dehumanize the people as much as possible to make it like slaying animals for food. Another example of the narrator using word choice is when he states, “I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection” (Swift 4). By using the word “humbly,” he appears more businesslike and proper. This sentence also sets him up for getting his point across, while staying objective towards the topic. Although the narrator’s proposal is outlandish, his formal attitude helps to make it seem more reasonable, but what was Swift’s actual purpose for writing “A Modest …show more content…

Swift is satirizing Americans by saying that is where his narrator gets the idea from. It makes it seem like Americans have been doing these monstrous acts and are okay with it. Swift and his narrator do share some beliefs, for example the narrator states, “For first, as I have already observed, it would greatly lessen the number of Papists, with whom we are yearly over-run, being the principal breeders of the nation, as well as our most dangerous enemies” (8). Swift and his narrator both agree here with their feelings towards the Papists, whom they satirize due to their disbelief in birth control. This proves that Swift is not just trying to call for reform from the English, but to call for reform from his country. Swift’s attitude throughout “A Modest Proposal,” although satiric, is for the soul purpose of achieving his goal of reform for his

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