Satire In Jonathan Swifts A Modest Proposal

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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 …show more content…

At the time when Swift’s proposal was made, Britain’s dictatorial reign in Ireland had left the nation in poverty and disarray. Criticising a nation was much easier to do in a joking tone or be harder to read rather than direct and upfront. Swift wanted to discuss these issues and found by writing in satire he could have the readers’ attention in way that a seriously written piece could not reach. Satire is present when Swift convinces the audience that he is an empathetic individual introducing the proposal with a sophisticated and compassionate manner beginning in the sentence, "I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection (1)," luring the reader into a sense of false trust as he begins the descriptions of the poor in Ireland. The reader is led to believe at first that this is a serious essay however it is not until deep into the proposal the reader can see how Swift uses satire to propose his thoughts found in the sentence, “a young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled;” continuing on that, “no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricasie, or a ragoust (1).” By doing so the reader has no time to second guess the abnormality of the thought of a baby served as a fricasie or ragoust, which is quite

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