A Modest Proposal and Other Satires
A Not So Modest Proposal
Jonathan Swift, author of “A Modest Proposal”, utilizes his mastery of satire, outrageous claims, and rhetorical devices; Satire is the use of irony and exaggeration to expose or criticize people’s stupidity, vices, and faults. Swift succeeds in discretely criticizing the contemporary politics and policies of England; policies that potentially, and were mainly blamed on, driving Irelands economy into a depression. Swift adopts the persona of a well-intentioned economist, suggesting that the poverty and famine in Ireland can be dealt with by selling children for food and clothing; As a result, Swift argues that not only will the income of the poor increase significantly, but as well the population will decrease proportionally. Swift provides much detail regarding the number of servings a child might provide, projecting the costs of each child sold and their profit, and he estimates the amount of population affected. Swift even suggests that the meat of children would be a delicacy to the English and wealthy Irish land owners.
Although, in reality, Swift denounces England with clever use of irony and metaphors; describing how the Irish can be rid of their useless, needy children by selling them at the “delicious” age of one year for food and their skin for clothing. Therefore, each child sold would be contributing back to Irelands depreciated economy. Swift purposely uses logical fallacies and a very “knowledgeable” tone to satirize England. Swifts persona, a well-meaning economist whose sympathy for the poor of Ireland leads him to suggest cruel and murderous solutions, completely undermining any thoughtful intent. With such outrageous thoughts as “a young healthy child well nursed is a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food.” Claims such as these catch the attention of the reader and shock them, but this is exactly what Swift wanted. By grossing out the “public” with shock factors, he had hoped they would take a second glance at the corrupt policies in place and hopefully reform it. Throughout “A Modest Proposal”, Swift discreetly uses this shocking rhetoric as political attacks against England, suggesting that England is the core of the poverty and saddened population. At one point in the essay, Swift describes how the meat of children could not withstand long voyages without spoiling, though he “could name a country which would be glad to eat up our whole nation without it.” Alluding to England and the “devouring” of Irelands resources.
Swifts use of a “knowledgeable” tone humorizes a very dark subject. Swift, with his economist persona, utilizes logos, presenting made up statistics to sound much more professional and credible. Giving such statistics as the number of children in Ireland, the number of children born per year, and the amount of money that could possibly be made from selling Irish children. Throughout the entire essay, Swift uses metaphors such as the comparing of physically eating a child, to financially
destroying Ireland. When Swift suggests that “20,000” children should be kept for “breeding” he is comparing them to animals. Overall, comparing how English authorities treat the Irish like animals. Although, Swift slowly shifts his tone from knowledgeable to serious throughout the essay, almost unnoticeably becoming a satire essay to a very serious politically driven one. Very clearly satirizing those who have proposed solutions that are solutions to economic issues, without fully considering the human cost involved. Swift shows the inhumanity of schemes that are based only on greedy principles. Although Swifts use of irony is very shocking at first sight, another glance over and understating the greater historical context, reveals Swifts great genius and subtlety; I strongly agree with Swift as, he shows a complete mastery over irony and sarcasm, shocking readers with the solution of infant cannibalism. While in doing so, Swift shows the hypocrisy of politics, and politicians that caused the depression of Ireland. Swift recognized a problem, and proposed an unorthodox solution using only his pen, paper, and sarcasm.
A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift and the Proposed Solution Poverty in Ireland
A Modest Proposal Essay
Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” begins with Swift’s ironic persona preparing the reader for his outrageous solution to the problem of poverty in Ireland. Swift’s dark satirical solution is to eat the Irish babies, which would bring in profit and decrease the surplus population of Ireland. Swift’s ironic persona uses appeals to ethos, logos, and pathos to prepare the reader for his ridiculous proposal.
In the opening paragraph of his proposal, Swift begins by referring to the children as burdens to their mothers who “instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in strolling to beg sustenance.” Swift’s satiric voice uses the word “strolling” as if begging was a nice and enjoyable task. The children then grow up to be burdens to their country by becoming “thieves for want of work, or leave their dear native country to fight for the Pretender in Spain, or sell themselves to the Barbados.” Swift describes the repeating cycle of poverty in Ireland; the parents are burdens to the country and their children will grow up with no other choice but to also become burdens to the country. The opening paragraph’s description of the poor in Ireland is an appeal to pathos. It gives a sympathetic approach to the poor and it makes the reader feel sympathy for the parents and the children of the poor.
Another appeal to pathos is made in paragraph five when Swift’s ironic persona brings up the voluntary abortions performed to avoid the expenses of supporting a child. The speaker says that preventing the “horrid practice of women murdering” their “poor innocent babes” is another great advantage to his scheme. This satirizes the fact that the babies are dying for nothing. It prepares the reader for his proposal because with the proposal of selling the babies to be eaten, the death of the babies will be useful and profitable. But without knowing the actual proposal, it is an appeal to pathos because Swift is saying that his proposal will prevent abortions.
In the second and third paragraph, Swift’s ironic persona gives the intentions of his proposal. He satirically understates the atrocious situation of poverty and says it is just a “grievance” and that whoever could come up with a simple solution to the problem would deserve “his statue set up for a preserver of a nation” as if they would care about a statue. He gives his intentions saying that his proposal will “provide for the children of professed beggars” and the children “who are born of parents in effect as little able to support them.” Swift makes an appeal to ethos and gives credibility to his proposal by saying that with his proposal, he is able to provide for all the children whose parents are not able to support them,
In paragraphs four and six, Swift’s ironic persona unsympathetically dehumanizes women and children by comparing them to livestock. Similar to how animals are priced, he calculates the cost of raising a child to a year of age and says that they must not be worth “above the value of two shilling.” He refers to women as “breeders” as if their only purpose in life is to produce children to be turned into food. Swift also assesses the population of the “breeders” and children born in Ireland as if the people were livestock. By dehumanizing humans and referring to them as animals, Swift makes an appeal to logos and is able to make a logical calculation on the worth and population of the Irish without regards to morality.
Jonathan Swift’s ironic persona in “A Modest Proposal” uses appeals to ethos, logos, and pathos to prepare the reader for his ridiculous proposal of eating babies as a solution to the poverty in Ireland. He makes appeals to pathos when he gives the description of the poverty in Ireland and when he brings up voluntary abortions. He makes an appeal to ethos when he gives the intentions of his proposal, and an appeal to logos is made when he makes calculations on the worth and population of the Irish.
The Success of a Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift and What it Meant
The Effectiveness Of “A Modest Proposal”
Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” was designed to horrify the Irish by suggesting the act of selling their children for slaughter and serving them as a delicacy on the tables of wealthy Englishmen in hopes of recognizing the depths of their penury. Swift was frustrated by the nonchalance of the Irish in the face of their treatment from the English; in such great poverty, the Irish sent their children into the streets to beg for coins (Swift). During the early eighteenth century, a religious struggle occurred between the English Protestants and the Irish Catholics. Protestant immigrants living amongst the Irish worked with other Protestants in England to create and pass laws banning Irish Catholics from serving in Parliament. Due to this ban, the Irish had no governmental representation and were at the mercy of the English, who were planning to crush Catholicism (Baker).
Jonathan Swift, an Irish clergyman, satirist, and author, lived from 1667 to 1745. Swift moved back and forth between England and Ireland several times in his life before finally settling down in 1713 as the Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin (“Jonathan Swift”). Swift wrote “A Modest Proposal” in 1729 out of frustration with the political and religious turmoil in Ireland. As the English took over the country, the Irish began to embrace their poverty and resign themselves to being slaves to the English (Lindquist).
Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” suggested Irish parents should sell their children as meat in an attempt to shock them into the realization of how detrimental their situation had become. After losing control of their country, the Irish became accustomed to living in poverty and being subservient to the English. Jonathan Swift looked down on the Irish because of how they allowed themselves to be dominated by England (Cummings). Prior to the English Protestants taking over the Irish Parliament, England and Ireland had been “set up as sister kingdoms by King John”(Baker).
In “A Modest Proposal,” Swift suggests that the English should be the ones to consume the Irish children because they had already taken advantage of the Irish and run their country into the ground to the extent that the English had little left to take from Ireland other than the meat from their youth. England essentially made Ireland their slave nation and had little reason left to not treat Irish citizens any better than livestock. Their rights had been taken away and given to English Protestants, and Ireland began to morph into a poverty stricken and compliant nation with no intention or means of changing their situation (Baker).
Swift’s satirical call to action failed in gaining meaningful success because of the state of the situation. The essay could not inspire rage because the Irish were already too broken. Irish Parliament had been taken over by English sympathizers who desired to strip the Irish of their rights. Without any hope for political reform or the return of their rights, many Irish families began to feel like they were trapped in a hopeless situation without the possibility of escape. After being repeatedly crushed and demoralized by England, most of the nation’s pride was erased and replaced by a despair that not even Jonathan Swift’s anger stricken essay could rouse them from (Baker).
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins Vs. a Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift
Contemplating A Modest Proposal
Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games and Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal both tell the story of a suffering land, and what characters do or could do to try and survive in the world the they are born into. Katniss and Peeta fight for their lives in the Hunger Games, while Swift solves Ireland’s internal problems by proposing that we use one-year-old babies as a food source. Both provide compelling arguments and plots, but what makes their argument so strong is that they bring their arguments into the real world through satire. They both highlight differences between different groups in their personalities and situations, and use parallels to the real world as a support. Collins and Swift approach the argument in different ways, but their impact is similar.
Jonathan Swift describes the plight of the Irish people in a way that makes the reader feel sympathy for them. However, Swifts solution to their problems is to sell babies, which has moral repercussions. Swift almost completely ignores any form of moral argument against his idea of selling babies as food. However, he does acknowledge one argument he has, which is that Britain might have an objection. He does not even consider the potential problem that Ireland’s population might decrease, and does not consider it a point of the argument.
We can incur no danger in disobliging England. For this kind of commodity will not bear exportation, and flesh being of too tender a consistence, to admit a long continuance in salt, although perhaps I could name a country, which would be glad to eat up our whole nation without it. (Swift)
Swift maneuvers the argument so that the only person who matters is England, but his use of satire in this matter highlight the Ireland’s plight in the face of England. The only problem England would consider relevant is whether the children from England would be sold too. Almost scornfully, Swift assures the country that the science of food preservation keeps their children safe, so they are allowed to partake in this idea without feeling guilty, portraying England as selfish and unscrupulous, despite their appearances.
Collins also introduces some form of misguided interests in the Hunger Games, especially amongst the people that populate the Capitol. Although the Hunger Games was meant as a tool to squash rebellion in the remaining 12 out of 13 Districts, it also served as a form of entertainment for the citizens of the Capitol, like Venia, Octavia, and Flavius.
…even though they’re rattling on about the Games, it’s all about where they were or what they were doing or how they felt when a specific event occurred. “I was still in bed!” “I had just had my eyebrows dyed!” “I swear I nearly fainted!” Everything is about them, not the dying boys and girls in the arena. We don’t wallow around in the Games this way in District 12. We grit our teeth and watch because we must and try to get back to business as soon as possible when they’re over. (Collins)
The people of the districts are forced to watch the spectacle, and must go back to work immediately so that they don’t starve, while Katniss’s stylists watch it for excitement. While their names beings reminiscent of the Romans, we get the first image of them watching gladiator fights and deriving pleasure from the suffering the contestants felt. However, their dialogue of the Games is similar to how we react to variety shows and reality television in real life. Collins implicates us as Swift implicates England as beings that are so removed from the suffering of less fortunate people, we can watch as atrocious actions are carried out with no moral scruples, as we are separated from the victims by a body of water or land or a television screen.
Besides the moral implications from both works, the authors also use their plots and language to target the disparity between the rich and the poor. Swift targets the prejudices against the poorer fraction of the Irish population that are forced by circumstance to work for the richer part of the population. He speaks of the carcasses of babies as being useful only to those in the society that can afford the luxury of having mostly useless things. The richer women can use the children’s baby soft skin for gloves, and the richer family would enjoy the delicacy of baby meat.
I have reckoned upon a medium that a child just born will weigh 12 pounds, and in a solar year, if tolerably nursed, increaseth to 28 pounds. 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 title to the children.
Swift talks of the babies’ weights as a convenient way of judging their value to the society as food, as we often talk of fish. A fish of 15 pounds catches a higher price than a fish of 10 pounds. He then furthers the idea of the rich dehumanizing the poor by emphasizing how the parents have already been devoured, in terms of resources, opportunities to create a better life for themselves, and their current states of being. As baby meat may become a delicacy, it makes sense that the landlords would be the main consumer.
The blame that Swift tacks on to the landlords of Ireland are paralleled with the blame that Collins pins on the citizens of the Capitol for how they live as opposed to the squalor of the Districts. When Katniss dines with Cinna during their first meeting, she highlights every aspect of the meal that she is eating, and sees if she can make that same meal for her mother and sister.
I try to imagine assembling this meal myself back home… I can’t even guess what’s in it. Days of hunting and gathering for this one meal … would be a poor substitution for the Capitol version. What must it be like, I wonder, to live in a world where food appears at the press of a button? How would I spend the hours I commit… to sustenance if it were so easy to come by? What do they do all day, these people in the Capitol, besides decorating their bodies and waiting around for a new shipment of tributes to roll in and die for their entertainment? (Collins)
While the Districts can barely scrape up edible food for themselves, the Capitol never hungers, and never has to work to maintain their standard of living, at least not to the point that the District people have to. The food the Capitol consumes is processed and packaged to a farther extent that you can press a button to get rid of your hunger. In our case, we can go to a McDonalds or a Restaurant and choose what we want from a menu to have it delivered to our table steaming hot. On the other hand, people in developing countries can barely scrape together resources to make a meal, let alone one that is cooked to perfection and made savory by oils and spices we import from the developing countries. The United State’s wasteful living is almost a replica of the Capital siphoning resources from the rest of Panem for their own entertainment.
Both Swift and Collins place blame on us, the readers, as well as real life groups in better positions then others in general for passively watching the problems of others, and proposing solutions that may seem to help even if they are morally reprehensible in some way, as long as we ourselves are not affected. Swift uses numerous references to figures and statistics to show the effectiveness of a solution and to mask the moral reprehensibility of his suggestions. His suggestions are outrageous, but he ruthlessly points out that if we were to walk away from this solution, we would get morals mixed up in the matter, and eventually come up with no solution at all, and the problem would continue, and therefore, as the harbinger of this cure-all solution, he should receive a medal for his efforts. Collins doesn’t use facts and numbers, but she develops her characters throughout the story, and uses the interactions to show how different people in the Capitol and people in the Districts are, and why they act the way they do. The people of the Capitol don’t know any better as they were bred into this life of luxury, to the point where if you were to put them in the Districts, they would die. The rest of Panem lives in fear of dying from starvation, so they’re mindset is much more practical, and many would never be able to imagine living a wasteful life.
From the two authors, we can piece together social problems that plague the real world both today and centuries ago, as we take advantage of other groups and societies for their resources, and even though we are sympathetic to their suffering, we would never once consider giving our own comforts away so that they may have a chance at what we had. We just resign ourselves to watch their fate passively, and continue on with our own lives. Their works bring to light the fact that we push away the true major problems of the world out of selfishness and fear, and offer a chance for self-reflection and possible reformation.
Review of a Modest Proposal and Usage in Society
The poor has always been on the bitter end of society. They always needed someone to stand up for them and be able to empower them. Jonathan Swift’s purpose in his essay “A Modest Proposal” was to draw attention to the impoverished population of Ireland and find social change. However, Swift made it in a creative way by using sarcasm and satire with his approach. Through this unique style, readers will be intrigued and attracted to ponder about the written literature.
Although this was intentionally written for the Irish population in the 1700s, this could also apply to the present, as the population rises, inflation happens, and resources become scarce. As the rich get richer, they blame all the problems in their society towards the poor. They abuse them through harder labor, taking their land, and making their lives miserable. The poor becomes even more powerless than before. The rich become even more greedy and neglect the ones who are inferior to them.
Jonathan Swift employs pathos to appeal to the readers’ emotions to hook them to listen to his strange proposal. He uses plenty of rhetorical irony, sarcasm, metaphor, and satire to persuade the abusive upper echelon to think about what they are doing and find a solution to put an end to their tyranny.
Swift starts with rhetorical irony by proposing to eat all the children of Ireland to “save Ireland.” He wants to kill the children so that others will have better lives. He uses metaphor by personifying them and describing them like food such as “delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked or broiled” (Swift 410). Simile was also used by Swift as he tries to compare the children to sheep, black cattle, swine and other farm animals (411). The impression leaves the readers with shock because of the morbid words that Swift uses. Swift does not mean the words literally but he is trying to draw attention to the problem. The rich have been taking advantage of the poor by hoarding all the food, land, and money. Social welfare was disregarded and the lives of the poor did not matter to them.
Swift uses another simile by comparing the description and the characteristics of a pig to a fat child. He says that it is “No way comparable in taste or magnificence to a well-grown, fat, yearling child, which roasted whole will make a considerable figure at a lord mayor’s feast or any other public entertainment” (414). He describes how delightful it is to eat a child and one can even eat it in feasts; thereby, enjoying its scrumptious taste with company. He illustrates it as something that is perfectly acceptable socially and will soon become a norm in their culture.
Eventually, Swift ends with powerful pathos:
“I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the public good of my country, by advancing our trade, providing for infants, relieving the poor, and giving some pleasure to the rich” (416).
He was trying to construct a dramatic ending by playing around with emotions. He says that he has no personal interest in this and simply wants everybody to succeed and have a better life which in reality, if taken literally, it will make things even worse. If they follow Swift’s proposal by disregarding the poor, Ireland will be paralyzed economically because there will be no one to do the important jobs that the poor people do.
Swift sarcastically illustrates how the less fortunate are thrown around and are at the disposal of the rich just like food or commodity. He even said that they can be sold and fortune can be made out of them:
“Thirdly, Whereas the maintenance of 100,000 children from two years old and upward, cannot be computed at less than 10s. a-piece per annum, beside the profit of a new dish introduced to the tables of all gentlemen of fortune in the kingdom who have any refinement in taste. And the money will circulate among ourselves, the goods being entirely of our own growth and manufacture” (413).
The poor are imperative to society. They do all the hard and important jobs such as farming, gathering food, fishing, construction, and all the other laborious activities and yet, they get treated harshly. Ireland will be in trouble all the more without them because no one will do their crucial tasks.
Swift’s words were very enjoyable but at the same time full of meaning. It serves as a wake-up call on how to treat those who are less fortunate. The rhetorical devices used were clever and wise that one’s eyes will be opened throughout the essay. At the end of the day, Swift highlights how selfish mankind can be. People tend to discriminate those below them and take advantage of them knowing that they cannot fight back. Swift took the helm and stood up for those being maltreated by proposing a message to the upper class through the use of rhetorical devices.
Brief analysis of “A modest proposal” by Jonathan Swift
“A modest proposal” by Jonathan Swift is an ironical piece of writing as it seems to me, because of the discussion of the “modest” way of dealing with poverty and unemployment problem in Dublin, Ireland. The satirical way of representing ideas by Swift is appreciable as initially he shows sympathy for poor people by stating that they are beggars and do not have enough money to raise their children. So, there is an urgent need to take a solution for the welfare of “Commonwealth” (21). His proposal lies in the most cruel way of parents killing their children by selling them and getting money in return.
Their wards will be then, cooked and eaten up like a dish. He supports this idea by the fact that these children, if not sold, still have a bad future and will be “disposed of by their parents” (23) and he believes it is a good way. Although he knows that most people have objection with his ideas and they that they are morally wrong, he defends by saying that he is working for the betterment of the country.
Swift further strengthens his proposal by saying that it has many “advantages” (25). Firstly, it would decrease the number of “papists”, which here, according to me, is his best satire. Secondly, it would be beneficial to cooks as they will prepare tasty dishes. Moreover, it will make marriage a desire, not “enforced by law” (25).
Several other merits include he money earned by parents and the financial gains to the state. This is a good deal according to Swift and he supports his ideas by highlighting the figures or numbers of children killed or produced and mentioning amount of money earned. It seems that he is himself unaware of the fact that he is practising the “horrid practice” of killing, of which he accuses the other parents. In the epilogue, this writing has an ironical point of view and Swift states his statements with surety because he believes he himself has no benefits as he has no children.
Rhetoric Means of Argumentation Used to Persuade
On the surface, Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” (1729) suggests that the most convenient method for dealing with the starving children of Ireland is to convert them into useful — and edible — members of society. His horrid proposal recommends “plumping” babies up until they reach the age of one, and then selling them as food for the rich. Swift then concludes that implementing this project will do more to solve Ireland’s social, economic, and political problems than any measure previously offered. Beneath the surface of the essay, it seems that Swift is venting his aggravation towards the Irish people for their inability to take action on their own. He is covertly claiming that the Irish must come up with a logical way to better their weak economic situation, so that the poor are not “eaten alive.” Throughout, Swift uses careful rhetoric in his writing to argue for his overt proposal. He effectively exploits the three rhetorical appeals known as pathos, logos, and ethos throughout the piece to make his bizarre idea seem convincing and logical.
These three persuasion tactics, also titled the “artistic proofs” by Aristotle, date back to ancient Greece and are used to convince and persuade an audience: all three are now established as crucial techniques in the art of rhetoric. Pathos is the Greek word for “experience” and “suffering,” and it is used to manipulate a reader’s emotions by raising sympathy or stirring anger. Logos is the Greek term for “word” and is used to convince readers by means of logic and reason. Ethos is the Greek word for “character,” and it is used to convince readers that the author is credible and reliable. Johnathan Swift was thoroughly trained in classical rhetoric at Kilkenny School and Trinity College, Dublin (Beaumont). Therefore, it is not surprising that he is able to exploit these methods in an effective manner.
Swift begins to implement his rhetorical techniques and control the readers by manipulating them with pathos. He “Illustrates the dominance of his rhetorical method over his subject matter” (Rogal), by raising sympathy. The first sentence of the essay reads, “It is a melancholy object to those who walk through this great town or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads, and cabin doors, crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags and importuning every passenger for alms.” Here, Swift has already activated the emotions of the audience, and his readers are beginning to feel sorrow for the misfortune of the poor. He continues to control his readers with a strong statement, “There is likewise another great advantage in my scheme, that it will prevent voluntary abortions, and that horrid practice of women murdering their bastard children, alas!” Now, not only has he continued to captivate the readers with sympathy, but he has also invoked an anger that will cause them to support him.
As important as Swift’s use of pathos is his ongoing delivery of factual information, or his use of logos. Logos is commonly developed by constructing a logical argument; naturally, most of Swift’s persuasive piece is a significant illustration of logos. He shares precise information and specific statistics throughout the essay to support his proposal. For example, throughout his fifth paragraph he makes a few calculations, stating, “The number of souls in this kingdom being usually reckoned one million and a half, of these I calculate there may be about two hundred thousand couple whose wives are breeders; from which number I subtract thirty thousand couples who are able to maintain their own children…” This is one of the many statistical surveys that Swift offers during his proposal. His well-presented information makes his argument seem very logical, thus influencing his audience immensely.
Throughout the piece, Swift also proves that he is a credible source by displaying his character and establishing himself as the “projector” of his modest proposal, thus demonstrating proper use of ethos. The persona that he assumes is “humane, self-confident, reasonable, competent, and somewhat exhausted in his attempts to improve his native kingdom” (Beaumont). He exemplifies his humanity in the opening words of the essay by raising pity for the poor children of Ireland, and by sharing that he feels sorry for them. He is also very humble throughout his proposal, stating, “I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection” (Swift). Swift’s narrator not only exhibits his humility, but also his fair-mindedness throughout his piece. He proclaims, “After all, I am not so violently bent upon my own opinions as to reject any offer proposed by wise men, which shall be found equally innocent, cheap, easy, and effectual” (Swift). The last example of Swift’s proper use of ethos is that he shows sincerity and unselfishness in his closing paragraph. He writes, “I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the public good of my country…” These examples display Swift’s character, and they encourage the audience to believe that he is reliable.
Although Swift uses pathos, logos, and ethos in his satire to discuss his apparent proposal, he also uses these persuasive techniques as well as underlying irony to argue what his work is actually about: the need for a logical solution to solve Ireland’s tragic economic state. By illustrating his outrageous plan to sell impoverished babies for food, he actually sheds light on the deeper issue at hand. Even the title, “A Modest Proposal,” suggests that what he is proposing is refined and timid, when in reality it is absurd. Swift captures the reader’s attention and directs the reader’s moral compass through this elaborately ‘modest proposal.’
Works Cited Beaumont, Charles Allen. “Swift’s Classical Rhetoric in A Modest Proposal.” Georgia Review 14.3 (Fall 1960): 307-317. Rpt. in Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800. Ed. Thomas J. Schoenberg and Lawrence J. Trudeau. Vol. 101. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Literature Resource Center. Web. 28 Mar. 2016. “Home – Ethos, Pathos, and Logos, the Modes of Persuasion ? Explanation and Examples.” Home – Ethos, Pathos, and Logos, the Modes of Persuasion ? Explanation and Examples. N.p., 2015. Web. 28 Mar. 2016. Johnson, Maurice. “The Structural Impact of A Modest Proposal.” Bucknell Review 7.4 (May 1958): 234-240. Rpt. in Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800. Ed. Thomas J. Schoenberg and Lawrence J. Trudeau. Vol. 101. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Literature Resource Center. Web. 28 Mar. 2016. Rogal, Samuel J. “The Timelessness of A Modest Proposal.” English Record 18.4 (Apr. 1968): 48-53. Rpt. in Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800. Ed. Thomas J. Schoenberg and Lawrence J. Trudeau. Vol. 101. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Literature Resource Center. Web. 28 Mar. 2016. Swift, Jonathan. “A Modest Proposal.” The Literature Network. Jalic, Inc.2016. Web. March 2016.
Critique Review: A Modest Proposal
One of the outstanding piece in the literature world, “A Modest Proposal” is known for its absurd usage of words as well as mockery and humorous nature to depict the problem of poverty in Ireland. Written in the perspective of a concern and empowering economist, this satirical essay promotes the solution of selling the children of the poor for food of the wealthy people. Jonathan Swift is the man behind the satire, “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” which is commonly known as “A Modest Proposal”.
Written and published anonymously by Swift in 1729, it was originally printed in the form of a pamphlet. Taking inspiration from the unfair economic and political policies of the Irish and English government, Swift was able to write an incomparable work of rhetorical brilliance. Swift’s homeland, Ireland, was a country that had been controlled by England for almost 500 years. Just like other colonies, the rights of the Irish people were severely limited in obtaining power in the government office, owning real estate, getting an education, and advancing themselves.
These lead to the migration of most Irish people to foreign lands such as America. Most of those who remained in Ireland lived in poverty. They were bound to face the worst conditions such as illness, starvation, prejudice and even death. Using the happenings in his homeland, Swift mocks the authority of the British officials through writing a proposal which appears to be suggesting that the Irish should sell their children as foods for the rich gentleman and ladies in order to eradicate the poverty. He also argues that other benefits from his proposal were a reduction in the population and increase in the income of the poor. He also suggested that the meat of the children should be considered a delicacy to English people as well as Irish landlords. This type of meat is highly recommended to be consumed during special occasions and feasts. To develop his peculiar thesis, Swifts provides detailed paragraphs in order to project a comprehensive proposal to the readers. He also showed detail mathematical calculations of the cost of upbringing the child to the estimated portion of the population where money can be generated. Highly dependent on the persona of the economist, Swift was able to construct an image of cruel society which aims for the sympathy for the poor. As he continues to expound his arguments, the nature of the essay was becoming murderous in a sense of upbringing the idea of cannibalism.
Though brutality was prominent, he was able to incorporate some humor in the development of his ideas. He was also able to rationally presented his arguments to support an irrational proposition. For the structure of the essay, Swift used the standard format- introduction, body, and conclusion. In the opening, the author stated his thesis statement as well as the problem which as the reprehensible economic and social conditions of the Irish people which prevents them from giving an adequate care for their children. The thesis was further developed in the body with the use of details and persuasive words. As for the conclusion, he restated the main benefits that one could acquire in his proposal. He also provided a brief explanation with regards to the superiority of his proposal when compare to other poverty remedies. The irony was the dominant figure of speech in Swift’s satirical essay.
Throughout the body and conclusion of “ A Modest Proposal”, Swift made his arguments with irony, stating the opposite of what he really means. He provides a positive development for the predicament of the Irish people. He compares them to animals in order to point out that Irish people deserve a better treatment from the British government instead of treating them as animals. Sarcasm and irony were properly maintained and used in his essay. Not only that, the irony was evident at the end of his essay where Swift stated that the proposal would not affect him since his wife cannot produce any children anymore and that his children were grown up men. This indicates that the author wanted the readers do not agree with him and the idea of cannibalism. Instead, he wants the readers to find a more practical solution to the problem of poverty. Since the proposal was ironic itself, the voice of the essay was also ironic. Aside from that, Swift also uses other techniques for his satire such as understatement, hyperbole, and juxtaposition.
The absurd thesis was used by Swift in order to attack the English government and the Irish politics. The themes emerging from the proposal were exploitation of the supreme government and the prejudice of the colony. Swift’s satire describes the brutality of the British officials through imposing unfair laws, high tax charges, and other injustice acts which resulted in oppression felt by the people of Ireland.
The lack of action of the Irish people was also a theme of the satire. Swift also expresses his concern with the Irish people who cannot act with a firm resolution to improve their situations. In terms of words chosen for the title of his essay, Swift was able to give a preview of style and nature of his essay. By using the word ‘modest’, he was able to mock the false modesty of existing pamphlet during his time. Having the word ‘modest’ is the title for a satire is outrageous for satire is known for its mockery and immodest nature. This alone can intrigue people into reading his work.
Overall, Swift was able to successfully used satire as a vessel to convey his perspective with regards to the social issues emerging during his time. With the use of irony, humor, and exaggeration, he was using an outrageous concept, selling children for food, to deliver a message. The persona of an economist, abundance of detail, and ironic techniques were the key elements used by the author in order to create a piece with devastating effect. A Modest Proposal is an outstanding example of satire.
Evaluation Proposal: Hillingdon’s Language for Life Session
According to GOV.UK (2014) that there is an overwhelming number of families who are seeking high-quality, targeted services. Based on their report, Children’s Centres are reaching over 90% of families most in need. The data shows that the centers are showing their best and are effective in reaching out to families and other service users in need. The former Minister of Education and Childcare Elizabeth Truss quoted “The governments’ clear that children’s centers have a vital role to play in making sure families get the help they need by offering a wide range of local, flexible services so they can choose what works best for their family.” Based on the statutory guidance of Early years (under 5s) foundation stage framework (EYFS), Section 1 provides clear role description of what providers must do. They should ‘work in partnership with parents and/or carers, to promote the learning and development of all children in their, and to ensure they are ready for school’. Thus, early years providers must monitor and ensure the success of the child’s development by following the EYFS guidelines to benefit the child’s future needs (Department of Education 2017).
With the growing demand for service, the local government in Hillingdon with the effort of their Early Inclusion Team work together with the Speech and Language Therapy Service, they collaboratively develop a practical approach to help parents to learn the skills needed to support their children with Speech Language Communication Needs (SCLN). The Language for Life Session is a programme that is designed to support and promote children’s speech and language development because of the effectiveness and practicality of the program to all service user (parents and children), since then, it was established as one of the services available in the health pathways and Children’s Centres (Foundation Years 2015a).
The program begins with each Children’s Centre assigned a ‘project lead’ who will join an accredited speech and language course, Elklan (https://elklantraining.worldsecuresystems.com/), and other short courses in helping parents to discuss child development. The project lead joins a speech therapy session in child assessment where they can able to learn various techniques, strategies, and activities used by speech and language therapists. The lead develops skills in ‘modeling’ and ‘teaching language development to parents. At the end of the course, they will be provided with a ‘six-week curriculum pack’ to assist them in organizing the ‘Language for Life’ programme together with parents. Every session, parents will be able to observe and learn how their child communicates and to know the support they should provide to help develop their child’s needs. By working together with the Children’s Centre lead, each parent will be provided with a developmental plan which suits their child’s assessment. The parents will be hands-on to practice it during the session and even at home. Parents have an opportunity to give feedback on the development and effectiveness of the learning targets given to them (Foundation Years 2015b).
Based on the report, 90% of children who joined in the programme has been assessed higher achievement compared to the other developmental assessment tool. Because of the positive outcome, 17 out of 18 Children’s Centre are providing the service to the community. Every session has accommodated between 3-6 families with a strong commitment to the programme. In addition, more families are joining in other Children’s Centre activities and services (Foundation Years 2015c).
In this evaluation proposal, I will be using the ‘Social Capital Model’ which will give a clearer picture on how the institutions (service providers) could connect to the community (service users) to have effective collaboration. Living in a modern society, we face a lot of challenges dealing with our day-to-day activities thinking how are we going to start and end our day with full satisfaction. As an individual, I cannot operate and live just by myself. I need people who could share my likes and dislikes, a family which I could count in times of trials, neighbors where I could mingle and a community to share significant opportunities. But because of the increase in cultural and social heterogeneity (the quality of being diverse and not comparable in kind), we face hurdles to meet our respective expectations and values with positive effect. This concept was presented by Putnam (2007) about the significance of a more diverse, multicultural society for ‘social capital’. He emphasized that social capital comes in many forms, not just any services that can be interchanged with others for satisfying their obligation. He stressed that not all social networks have exactly the same effects, whereas, networks can really affect our ability to get things effectively, but there is no assurance to be socially beneficial if we depend solely through networks. This might be controversial when we connect diversity and the success of the collaborative work of the community and local authority, but then, people who reside in a diverse community have a tendency to withdraw from collective life, to distrust their neighbours, regardless of their ethnicity and even from close friends, to expect worst from their community.
The big question is, how can we be comfortable in diversity? we are living in a cultural-diverse community. We are taught by social psychologists and sociologist that if we are living in a lesser social distance it is easier for us to trust one another, built confidence and create a feeling of common identity, closeness, and common experiences. In contrast, when the social distance is great, community distinguish and treat others as different. However, he pointed that some evidence implies that if levels of social capital are greater, instances of ‘children grow up healthier, safer and better educated, people live longer, happier lives, and democracy and the economy work better’ (Putnam 2000, Section IV cited Putnam 2007). In addition, he also highlighted ‘trust’ as an important component of social capital (Putnam et al. 1993, p.170 cited Scrivens and Smith 2013).
Studies show that people who participate in the planning of the community services provide positive and effective impact to meet the needs of the community. When treating the people (service users) as ‘partners’ it will create a strong foundation that such locally based partnership initiatives ‘ensure the social stability and cohesion without which economic growth and structural adjustment will be obstructed’ (Bagley and Ackerley 2006). In this sense, decisions related to the needs of the local community is not only taken from ‘professionals’ own perspectives but also from people (parents) who involved in the service provided by the local authority. This is important not only to encourage service users to work collaboratively but also to improve their quality of life. I understand that when the community will cooperate with the local authority it will be an advantage to them to get the services that they need. Also, when we involve ourselves to be part of the community it will give us confidence and trust in the local authority. Furthermore, civic engagement will create a strong relationship with the local community, the reputation of one another will result in trust and people are more likely to behave accordingly. We need to be ‘active and involved’ members of the society, there is more social value in working together with local agencies (Putnam cited Scrivens and Smith 2013). Additionally, there are people in the community who possess positive mindset when it comes to collaborative working. This trait will provide an impact towards achieving a certain goal, together with empowerment even few individuals could make things happen. It will also make a ripple effect for others to collaborate, ‘overcome passive and active resistance to change, and remove organizational obstacles to progress’ (Freeth 2001).
For this section, I would like to highlight the significance of inter-professional working in developing an effective service to the parents, which are the service users. Also, the parents’ roles to achieve the objectives of the programme. The theoretical perspective has given us the concept that despite having a multi-cultural and socially diverse society we could still attain our aims by actively involved within the community. By multi-agency working, it improves the service delivery not only that it also impacts the professionals, service users, and on agencies. In this manner, professionals have positive view of multi-agency work ‘being rewarding and stimulating, increased knowledge and understanding of other agencies, and improved relationships and communication between agencies’. Service users will benefit the access to services, it would be lesser hustle and appropriate referral, and a better focus on prevention and early intervention. While agencies develop more positive ‘interagency relationships and benefited from improved communication between agencies’ (Atkinson et al. 2007).
In view of the literature above, the following research questions have been formulated:
How do the Children’s Centre and service users work collaboratively in the course of the ‘Language in Life’ programme?
This question will evaluate the partnership of the parents and professionals towards meeting their objectives. It will also be going to assess the center’s approach to connect with their service users. It will investigate on how knowledgeable the service users on their roles. There is evidence indicating misunderstanding between the parents-relatives and health professionals having different aims for the child. Even parents-relatives feel that they are excluded from the process of the treatment (Rose 1997 cited Jakobsen and Severinson 2006). It is emphasized that highly qualified professionals could provide a better way in handling parents’ concerns in terms of the appropriate approach and understanding compared to those who are ‘less well qualified’ (Jakobsen and Severinson 2006). In addition, when service providers are showing a positive attitude and encourage parents to participate in the process of their children’s’ development it will increase their confidence. In contrast, when the service providers are impassive to the family’s needs and failed to recognize or accept family decision (Rosenbaum et al. 1988; Dunst et al. 1988 cited King et al. 1998).
What are the factors that make inter-professional working effective and beneficial to the ‘Language in Life’ programme?
This question will find the reasons why multi-agency work could provide a positive impact on service. It is an argument pointed up by D’Amour et al. (2005) that inter-professional collaborative work is not only a ‘professional endeavor’, whereas it is a ‘human process’. Interagency professionals may not fully cooperate if all of the efforts will be just for the service users’ advantages. It is reasoned out that many other factors affect the framework of collaboration. On the other hand, many service users claimed to receive insufficient service from different professionals due to lack of communication and cooperation (London Borough of Greenwich, 1987; DoH 1994 cited Freeth 2001). It encourages interprofessional and multi-agency collaborative working to minimize further incidence in the future (Home Office 1991; Lowe and O’Harra, 2000 cited Freeth 2001). It will also provide information from the different professional perspective based on each role and background. It will help to find a resolution to any issues and dilemma surrounding inter-professional working.
The potential participants in this research are the center project lead and 6 parents whose children are enrolled in the programme. A speech and language therapist, health visitor, and early years professionals who are assigned to check Uxbridge Children Centre. One on one semi-structured interview will be used to collect the data which will be audio recorded. It is recommended by Harrell and Bradley (2009) that semi-structured interviews are frequently used to have an in-depth investigation into the research and to carefully understand the answers given by the participants. There will be two different sets of interview questionnaire which based on the research questions, the first, is for the Children Centre’s project and parents. While the second set is for the multi-agency professionals. It will be conducted in the center’ meeting room. Ideally, one participant will be scheduled each day but if there will be additional time and other participants are willing to be interviewed on that day, then they will be catered. In the timetable, it will be suitably organized in order to provide a convenient schedule to all parents and professionals.
The projected timescale of the of the data collection will be arranged for 2 weeks. The interviews will be carried out every after each class session of the programme to fit the participants’ availability.
One of the significant ethical issues that may occur in the evaluation is the status of the individual who will be part research. A change of policy was implemented by the British Psychological Society (1193 cited Wolfendale 1999) that a person involves in the research should no longer be called ‘subjects or even ‘objects’ but the term ‘participant’ or ‘co-researcher’ is way better and carry out a sympathetic meaning. It also produces a better sense of willingness from the people on and with whom research is undertaken. The ethics should be careful to be considered when accessing children’s cases and talking to parents about the service. Also, the access to the children’s data should follow appropriate procedure. Thus, there is a stern consideration in gathering the data regarding children’s sensitivity issues. There should be a presence of constant respect throughout the procedure that may affect any racial-ethnical or social concerns. Moreover, besides getting the consents from the professionals, there are instances that additional consent should be required from the center’s management committee and specific departmental heads from the local authority that may have concern for conducting the study. In addition, Wolfendale (1999) stressed that it is very important to consider the personal and private aspects of the participant that might influence or compromise the process of the research and the ‘researcher-researcher relationship’. The parents and their children, and professional’s identities would be kept confidential and they would have the right to withdraw before or after and even during the course of the interview.
There are several possible concerns about the successful completion of this study. Firstly, both parents and the professionals are unwilling to take part in the interview. Participants may have difficulty arranging their convenient schedule especially for parents who have most of their time with their children as well as the multiagency professionals who have a specific time frame to visit the center. It may be discomfort for other professionals considering the loss of time in their work hours. There is also a concern that participants will not show up on the day of the interviews. Organizing timetable should be prepared to provide a convenient appointment to all participants,
The data from the interviews comprise of the parents and the center’s project lead perspective towards a successful partnership. In addition, it also includes the view of professionals that are involved in the programme related to multi-agency collaborative working. In analyzing the data, I will be using ‘Thematic Analysis’ where qualitative data from the interviews will be coded and labeled according to the criteria being evaluated. The audio recording of the interview will be transcribed even though it will be time-consuming it will be the best way to familiarize the data collected (Riesmman, 1993 cited Braun and Clarke 2006). It will give us a clearer understanding of the early stages of analysis. Furthermore, the transcript will be double checked back again from the original audio recordings for ‘accuracy’ (Braun and Clarke 2006). Afterward, I will produce initial codes which could help organize significant groups from my data (Tucket 2005 cited Braun and Clarke 2006). I will be using IBM SPSS Statistics 23, which the university provided a free software, to help me code the data. The next procedure will be searching for themes, I will be using mind maps to help me organize and come up with suitable themes to defined and named.
The outcome of the analysis could give us the standpoint of the parents and the centers about their obligation to support the children’s needs through the ’Language for Life’ program. It will provide clearer understanding that even though social diversity is present as one of the challenges in collaborative working it would not become a significant reason to achieve the programme’s objectives. Furthermore, the data will enable to deliver a resolution for interagency professional’s issues in regard to collaborative working and give emphasis to promote empowerment to multi-agency. The effort of this evaluation is to present the importance of mutual understanding between the service providers and the community. Multicultural society could hinder the success in improving the quality of service among local authorities, nevertheless, in a society who proactively collaborative with each other, it will result in a higher social value.
Analysis of “A Modest Proposal” Written by Jonathan Swift
In its simplest manner, community is defined as a grouping of people in an area who share similar characteristics; this could include socio-economic status, religion, race, and even past trauma. Communities are important, because the typically invoke a sense of belonging, togetherness, and support. They can become dangerous when they attempt to ostracize all others who do not look, think, believe, or act like they do. In spite—although sometimes because of the outside world, communities go through cycles of hardship and regeneration. Under the intense periods of pressure these communities will either band together or tear each other a part in an innate sense of self preservation. In Johnathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal he presents an idea that is not so modest, and even malicious in its existence. While serving as a satirical piece, it provides an hyperbole that has withstood the test of time. Written in 1729 when the Irish were in need of a solution to a food shortage despite having an excess of mouths to feed. The timing of his ‘modest’ proposal was detrimental to the survival of the entire community because not only was he discussing a shortage of supplies (food, sanitation, etc.), he was also discussing the carelessness shown towards the poor. It is here that he chooses to point out the lack of community—where there is no support or togetherness.
He begins his essay by giving the reader and authentic look at what the community they share looks like. While most see it every day, it had simply become the way things were. By simply setting the scene in the opening paragraph he is making sure there is no confusion about the main issue in his work. He states “it is a melancholy object to…see the streets, roads, and cabin doors crowded with beggars of the female sex followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags and importuning over every passenger…” (Swift, 174). While this illustrates the struggle of the mother to provide for her children, it also depicts the generational poverty that is being taught to her offspring, as well as the callousness of those who continue to pass them by. It is here that he presents his ‘modest proposal’, which suggests that at a year old these babies of beggars should be sold, fattened, slaughtered, cooked, and fed to the community like cattle. To any sane person this would be such a heinous act that it would absolutely destroy the idea of community, and potentially lead to chaos, confusion, and civil war. In this manner, the idea of community is both built up and destroyed in this body of work.
From one perspective Swift has given a whole new outlook on the idea that all life is purposeful and full of meaning. He explicitly states the only outcome for these children is to become beggars like their parents, or thieves, or slaves to another country. By following his proposal, these children would be providing the gifts of sustenance and continuance. They would be sustaining an entire community of people with their bodies (lives), while also supplying their parents and/or families with income. If one were to look at his proposal as a legitimate one, they would be overwhelmed by the sense of purpose he has given to these newborn children.
On the other hand, the idea of community here is presented as bleak and limited in upward mobility because such a large portion of its population is unable to sustain themselves. He draws attention to the stark, grave differences between the wealthy and the lower class in this essay, which speaks volumes that there are two to three sections within one community—which implies that there is no community at all. He begins to utilize the word breeders (175) someway through the essay, which dehumanizes the poor even more. Prior to anyone agreeing or supporting his proposal he has already stripped the humanity, autonomy, and position within the community from the poor families (mainly the women).
It is here, and with great ease, that he begins to describe the different, “delicious” kinds of meals that these infants can serve as for those fortunate enough to be able to afford them. The entire body of work does a wonderful job at exploiting the divide between ‘us and them’—the wealthy and the poor. It is satirical in the hyperbole, but very much real in the sarcasm used to chastise all of the illogical manners in which others had tried to solve the economic, social, and emotional burden of poverty and the great economic divide. He is attempting to show what it looks like when the community chooses itself over the individual. Rather, he is depicting the potential outcome in sacrificing the those who are draining the resources of the community, instead of implicating the make-up of said community. His making fun of the lack of moral judgements is beneficial, because it causes those who do look down on the poor to question who they are. While they would quickly defend themselves in saying they would never take the life of a child to sustain themselves, he challenges them with the idea that they already are by not sharing their wealth and/or providing logical, equitable solutions.
This body of work illustrates how easily society can overlook the importance of the individual in the community. How one could decide to slaughter, boil, and devour one person’s child over another is sure to unfair and unjust. In a very overarching manner, community in this work is established by presenting those reading with a moral dilemma. Swift intentionally calls into question the morals of those who are not poor, by making them see that the less fortunate and their families deserve an equal chance at surviving and thriving in life. In the end he makes a mockery of truly sensible solutions to the inequality in the Irish land but deems them too “innocent” to truly be effective. When in actuality the things he refuses to hear, such as just treatment of tenants, patriotism, and self-servicing, are viable means of reestablishing a sense of community where everyone feels connected.
Swifts proposal helps to establish community because (in the end) it satirically proposes methods in which a community is supposed to interact and support itself. He promotes ideas that are heinous and egregious in hopes of sparking commitments to community uplifting.