Swift wrote “A Modest Proposal” under a pseudonym, so
who is the speaker here? I feel the “speaker” here is a protestant and most likely a member
of the upper class Irish society.
Discuss the tone of the piece. Pull examples from the text to
support your discussion. Swifts tone in “A Modest Proposal” is ironic and extremely cynical
in nature. This becomes very apparent when he says “young healthy child well
nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food,
whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will
equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragoust.” (Line 30 Swift) Proposing the idea
of committing cannibalism on young children.
As you know, effective argumentation appeals to logic (logos),
ethics (ethos), and emotions (pathos). Please discuss how Swift uses all three
appeals and how these tools impact his purpose. Swift uses logos by showing
all of the analytical evidence of why his argument would be sound and why he
supports it. Swift uses ethos by drawing on the ethics of the listener or
reader when he states the reasons that we can do something and we should do
something. Swift uses pathos by drawing on the emotions of the listener or
reader when he states the people he is trying to help and all of the hardships
Explain the irony in Swift’s title, “A Modest
Proposal.” Swifts title is ironic because modest means having or showing a
moderate or humble estimate of one’s merits, importance, etc. However,
proposals of cannibalism and similar actions are outlandish and completely
immoral to any sane person.
Where does this essay fit on the continuum (Horatian to
Juvenalian)? Explain and support your position. This essay
fits more towards the Juvenalian side of the continuum because Juvenalian
satire is bitter and ironic criticism of contemporary persons
and institutions that is filled with personal invective, angry moral
indignation, and pessimism.
A Juvenalian satirist is much more likely to see
the target of his satire as harmful to society. Swift not only criticizes the
Irish people for doing nothing for themselves, but he also
reveals the hypocrisy of the wealthy and the tyranny of the English.
Why is “A Modest Proposal” an effective satire? What
techniques does Swift use effectively? Support your answers with examples from
the text. Swift effectively uses satire and irony to make his point known. His
descriptions and proposition of cannibalism are grotesque in order to make his
audience question their own morality. It begins with the title, which is
ironical in itself, nothing about Swift’s proposal is modest. This produces question
and surprise from the audience, effectively winning their interest. His use of
satire allows him to more harshly get his point across, while also provoking
the audience to ridicule the Irish. Adding statistics to support his assertions
only furthers the possibility of his proposal being possible, and could
effectively convince his audience of it to some degree.