A Modest Proposal: Conflict And Analysis Of Stylistic Techniques

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In A Modest Proposal, the author vents his escalating aggravation at the incompetence of Ireland’s legislators, the pretence of the affluent, the oppression of the English, and the filth and squalor in which Swift perceives several Irish people living. Though A Modest Proposal laments the miserable condition of an Ireland nearly entirely subject to England’s abuse, it also displays the author’s complete disgust at the Irish public’s apparent incapability to activate on their own behalf. Without justifying any party, the paper reveals that not just the English but also the Irish themselves. and not simply the Irish office-bearers but also the common people are accountable for the state’s terrible condition. His sympathy for the desolation of the Irish people is a strict one, and he adds a critique of their ineptitude in handling their own difficulties.

This paper begins inoffensively by launching the narrator as a responsible resident honestly concerned to the Irish underprivileged people, whose misery he explains in touching detail. Most readers no doubt see the tone of this narrator extraordinarily familiar: Like an official, societal scientist, or board chair, he establishes himself as subtle, well-informed, and self-assured in his skill to solve a grave problem by lucid analysis.

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The reader’s confidence in the narrator disappears swiftly after the first few sections, though, as the author engineers one of the most appalling moments in all of English fiction. The book, simply offered and conscripted at great length, contends for the several benefits of the Irish folks nurturing their kids as food to be vented at great return to the landowners through the realm. Far from being perplexed by this submission, as the reader certainly is, the narrator remains to envision himself as a neutral patriot delivering his nationals a real-world and nearly incredibly effective means to alleviate poverty, over-population, and an unfavourable balance of commerce with England. (Swift 254)

Party-political pamphleteering was a chic hobby in author’s day, which saw huge numbers of territories and papers proceeding political views and propositioning remedies for Ireland’s financial and societal evils. The author’s track mimics the style and technique of these, and the ugly satire of his own explanation discloses his own anguish at the failure of all this paper journalism to attain any real development. His article objects the complete inefficacy of Irish party-political management, and it also counters the orientation of several modern activists toward fiscal utilitarianism. Though author himself was a perceptive financial philosopher, he frequently stated disdain for the application of allegedly scientific administration concepts to humanitarian purposes.

In the essay, Swift employs techniques such as satire, sarcasm, and irony to ridicule the Irish administration of his time. The essay was a strong communal commentary. At the time there was huge hand wringing over what to do about the multitudes of the deprived in England, mostly London. Author presents a very rational solution to the issue. The answer was definitely, absurd. After reading author’s work of art, I could not believe how explicit and outrageous it would be. At times I was disgusted in the way he expresses his emotions. He does this in a letter ironically suggesting that they trade the kids of the poor to the richer families, as this will offer food, clothing, and will reduce the populace. Through the letter he employed noteworthy details as to how they should go about consuming the children, handling them as nothing more than a new sort of cattle. The letter terminates with a totally different tenor when the Swift clarifies the ridiculousness of his suggestion and in its place proposes something a bit more practical like the rich abandoning some of their luxuries. Author’s irritation at what he perceived as the wicked financial and political guidelines of the Irish and English administrations, and he used the presumed voice of the economist. He used huge quantity of detailed, literalized similes, and sarcastic and cynicism techniques to overwhelming impact. Swift’s essay has been judged as an unmatched work of linguistic brilliance, and it attains new readers further critical consideration up until now author discloses all of the weird comments and thoughts he has been deliberating about are all a hilarious way to mock about the way the administration is governed and how they are not helping the awful state of the nation.

Satire is an additional approach author used, he stated “The skin of which artificially dressed, will make admirable gloves for ladies, and summer boots for fine gentlemen” (286). He is signifying that wealthy people have an objective and have the strength to realise their desires without any restrictions. Author expresses all of his agony for the beggars and as a reader it displays that it’s all about position. On additional note, Author in fact used the kids as satire, by embellishing and melodramatically grabs the reader’s consideration, such as boiling and fermenting of the kids would solve all the difficulties. This is an exposé of how author encourages the reader on how to help the rich out. Going back, he needs something complete. Maybe this satire isn’t articulated as a second person, or someone else’s speech, probably what author’s tenor in this essay is fury and exasperation. Since no one is doing anything about it, in his brain he might as well propose “Eating children”. This typical poem is phrased entirely humble and the most rational thing in the world. It’s not to charm us, but to replace this expression “should reduce their outgoings” with “should eat their babies” and it’s just one more “op-ed” paper ‘that’ is what makes it satire. The affluent actually kept getting obese whereas the meagre kept starved. Author specified that instead of expending cash on smuggling meat, they should consume their own kids and as a consequence to control the populace and deliver their own food instead of dependent on importing. Yes, this is disgusting, but this is precisely Author’s intents, by grossing out the community, he expected to have them take an additional look at their civilisations and with a bit of luck improve it. It is ridiculing the society, mainly the wealthy and at the same time signifying an odd solution to an awfully physical problem that was apparent in London. As a matter of fact, Swift expected to convey a social revolution with his “modest proposal”.

As we move on to the third method ‘sarcasm’, was significantly engaged all over in the rhyme. In the first section of the essay, Author employed the words sadness, tears and disappointment and grievance to empathise with the underprivileged people while reading and come into view to comprehend their circumstances, gradually gaining the readers assurance in preparation for his scandalous proposal (283). When he referred out his offer to reduce Ireland’s populace, he only looks at the constructive purpose in his idea. He is displaying that he’s serious about his proposal by producing evidence and statistics, which displays that he has planned the predicament for an extremely long time. This proposal is written ironically to demean the attitude of the man-made rebellion that perceived people as being a product to be subjugated; in addition, the attitude that the rate of people established was beyond the rate of food growing so that there could never be sufficient food. Author indicates “a year old presented in sale to the peoples of class, and wealth, counselling the mother to let them suck plentifully, so as to nurture them desirable, and plump for a good table. A kid will make two dishes at a function for friends and family” (285). His absurd scheme is to fatten up the kids and feed them off to the richest. Reading that part, this made me become aware of author’s extreme view is to point out where the reader should be feeling this is intolerable and we must put a break to this ridiculous. This method displays a lot of resentment which clutches our attention and wanting to read more of his outrageous language. Author references ludicrousness quite frequently, he stated that the wives will be handled better now that they are having kids to vend on the meat marketplace by their spouses. He exemplified the wives as cattle, and now that they are a basis of revenue, the spouses will treat them well, as they do their cows, livestock, chickens (284). This is weird with the concept not discovered in the passage that a partner is extremely alert with his wife and a reformed man when she is with the kid, since in her abdomen is his own family, and he wouldn’t dare cause his own flesh and blood damage. Though, Author implied a conflicting idea to attack the men living in hard fiscal conditions that are harsh to their wives.

After discussing it over, I have come to appreciate that only a right mastermind could write something as sensitive and truthful and be taken seriously. All his methods used seek the readers’ self-assurance and make him look practical and genuine in a sarcastic way. He shocked the reader by signifying toddler anthropophagy as an answer to communal and poverty issues in Ireland. In doing so, Author highlights the distinction, playing a vital role in traditional irony, as well as the duplicity of the officials he’s looking to blame. As readers, he needs us to distinguish “how can we save Ireland?” (Clark) Author accomplished to make it sensible, by employing several methods, such as; satire, irony and sarcasm. He employed a lot of overstatement to highlight his arguments and beliefs, revealed through his satire and metaphors. Humans are more than just cogent beings; we count on feelings and reliance. Author offered a cultural censure; he obviously believed that things such as trust, feeling, and faith help our human reason in coming at truths. Without them, there would be no concluding cause and hope for redemption as there is no sense of data to show heaven, we would never adore, kinsfolks could expire and we would not care, and life itself would lack what makes humanity so spectacular, and that is sensation. Author recognized an issue and was able to offer a resolution “in a silent way”. (Quintana) Some were censuring the meagre or the rich. Author was able to highlight the mistakes of both groups by merely using these three techniques.

The most strongly sarcastic feature of this essay is somewhat apparent. The modest proposal is definitely anything but modest: It is violent, scary, possibly even silly. But other delicate satires and satiric targets may be ignored if the narrator is merely sacked as a profligate madman. Most significant, Swift symbolises him as lucid and scheming in order to display that these qualities are unsafe when taken to an extreme: Individuals who trust on hypothetical reason to resolve problems might end up thinking the absurd rather than following what should be more usual and gentle impulses of mutual sense and empathy, and those who treat persons as numbers relatively than as living beings, recall how often the narrator in the paper calculates and quantifies are only one small step away from making it cooler to killing them.


  1. Swift, Jonathan. A Modest Proposal and Other Prose. Barnes & Noble Publishing, 2004. 254-300
  2. Swift, Jonathan. ‘A modest proposal for preventing the children of poor people from being a burthen to their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the public.’ Child and Youth Care Forum. Vol. 24. No. 1. Kluwer Academic Publishers-Human Sciences Press, 1995.
  3. Quintana, Ricardo. The mind and art of Jonathan Swift. Methuen, 1953.
  4. Clark, Herbert H., and Richard J. Gerrig. ‘On the pretence theory of irony.’ (1984):


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