Hicks 1 August 16, 2012 Can we decrease homelessness? The essay “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift is a brutal satire in which he suggests that the poor families should kill their young children and eat them in order to eliminate the growing number of starving citizens. At this time there was extreme poverty and a wide gap between the poor and the rich, the tenements and the landlords. Throughout the essay Swift uses satire and irony as a way to attack the indifference between classes.
Swift is not seriously suggesting cannibalism; he is trying to make known the desperate state of the lower class and the need for a social and moral reform. Although this essay was written in the 1700’s we still have the same issues of homelessness and poverty in today’s modern society. Anna Quindlen Pulitzer Prize award winner author of “Our Tired, Our Poor, Our Kids,” states “Today the average homeless woman is younger than ever before, many have been in foster care or in shelters herself and so considers a chaotic childhood the norm” (345).
Quindlen talks about the cycle of homelessness and poverty three hundred years after swifts essay. Smith goes to extreme measures to explain his new plan to raise the economic wellbeing of his country. He explains “what age is too young and what age is too old, in order to eat the Hicks 2 tenants children when they are at their prime juiciness. He also gives a list of suggestions on how to cook them. A 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 ragout. (350-352). Although he suggests to sell and cook the homeless babies. Swift is trying to point out the fact that reforms that would be practical and beneficial to the people are being overlooked for the convenience of the rich. Melanie Scheller author of “On The Meaning Of Plumbing And Poverty,” writer for North Carolina Independent Weekly, state’s “My family was visibly and undeniably poor. My clothes were obviously hand-me-downs, I got free lunches at school, I went to the health depertment for immunizations” (356).
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Like swift Schellar emphasizes on what being in poverty and homeless is like. “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 an alms. These mothers, instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in strolling to beg sustenance for their helpless infants” (349).
They are trying to get people to understand that not every homeless person has a way to get out and go find work so they can go find work and provide for their families. Hicks 3 Peter Singer author of “The Singer solution to world Poverty,” an Australian-born philosopher and bioethicist, states “poverty, hunger, illness, and lack of shelter, these are the things that plague a majority of the people of the world and yet most of us are not even aware of it” (359).
He believes that prosperous people should donate all of the money not needed for the basic requirements of life to organizations meant to help those less fortunate that are homeless and/or in poverty. Life swift he is trying to find a way to help those whom need it. Swift says “with neither house nor clothes to cover them from the inclemencies of the weather, and the most inevitable prospect of entailing the like or greater miseries upon their breed forever” (353). Both Singer and Swift feel the need to help those less fortunate and want other people to know that they can help.
The hole meaning is to try and get people to understand that not everyone is as well of as them, that not everyone can just go off and get a job so they can provide for their families and that is why they end up in poverty and homeless. Swift says “ 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” (353).
If Swift was around today I believe he would be a great president for the United States of America and that he would actually make a great difference to those in poverty and homeless. Hicks 4 Works cited Ackley, Katherine Anne. Perspectives on Contemporary issues, 4th ed. Boston: Wadsworth, 2006. Print. Quindlen, Anne. “Our Tired, Our Poor, Our Kids. ” Ackley 344-346. Scheller, Melanie. “On The meaning Of Plumbing And Poverty. ” Ackley 354-357. Singer, Peter. “The Singer Solution To World Poverty. ” Ackley 358-362. Swift , Jonathen. “ A Modest Proposal. ” Ackley 348-353.
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