Essays on A Modest Proposal

Essays on A Modest Proposal

An essay “A Modest Proposal” was written by Jonathan Swift. In this paper, he derides politicians for attempting to solve the food and hunger problem in Ireland. He makes his claim by first summarizing the state of poverty-stricken Dublin, then introducing his fabricated recommendation and finally listing counter-arguments. Swift’s purpose is not to institute an absurd proposal that had no sense, but rather a ridicule politicians, in order to prove that their methods in solving the country’s difficult situation were insufficient. He also criticizes the wealthy and the unhealthy lifestyle of citizens. His tone of compassion for the Irish people is severe as he includes grievances of their inability in dealing with their own problems. And he loves his country and people and wants to help them by showing politicians what they do wrong and what they should do instead.

In the essay “A Modest Proposal,” written by Jonathan Swift, the author acknowledges the condition of Dublin, Ireland. In the beginning line, the author states, “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, the cabin doors crowded with beggars of the females, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags, and importuning every passenger for an alms”. This line of imagery emphasizes the extent to which the destitution of the lower class has grown. By examining the masses, the author hopes to give a picture of the helpless state of some families. Ultimately, the vast majority of Ireland was not doing well in the late 1720s and the government was doing little to aid them and it was a huge problem.

In “A Modest Proposal,” Swift essentially parodies the style of solutions that had been proposed for Ireland. In line 59, the author states, “… and it is exactly at one-year-old that I propose to provide for them in such a manner, as, instead of being a charge upon their parents, or the parish, or wanting food and raiment for the rest of their lives, they shall, on the contrary, contribute to the feeding, and partly to the clothing of thousands”. This line displays Swift’s ridiculous proposal to eat babies. His proposition is significant because it is the true purpose of the essay which is satire. The idea of eating babies is completely horrific, which is precisely his point. Ultimately, Swift uses satire to reflect the incompetent and horrific decisions made by the politicians of his homecountry. Their decisions have not benefited Ireland at all.

In “A Modest Proposal,” the author asserts the options that the people of Ireland have. In line 192, Swift says, “ Therefore let no man talk to me of other expedients: Of taxing our absentees: Of using neither clothes nor, nor furniture, except what is of our own growth and manufacture: Of utterly rejecting the materials and instruments that promote foreign luxury: Of curing the expensiveness of pride, vanity, idleness, and gaming in our women: OF introducing a vein of parsimony, prudence, and temperance...”. This line shows all other stratagems that could be used against his absurd proposal. The list of viable solutions is essentially the author’s call to action for Irish citizens. Clearly, even though the Irish government cannot aid them does not mean they cannot aid themselves. But the role of the Irish government is crucial and Jonathan Swift wanted to show the government that they should change their ways of operating to help citizens.

Jonathan Swift’s “The Modest Proposal” was not written to encourage people to feast on innocent babies as it was obvious satire from his end. The purpose of Swift’s paper was to make fun of Dublin's politicians and show them that the solutions they had put into place were not efficient at all. After Swift’s essay, Dublin citizens were able to walk away with open minds and a better understanding of how they could solve their problems and help themselves. And although the people alone can only do so much, Swift was successful in satirizing politicians and people in charge. Dublin's government probably took notice and attempted to fix the mistakes they made.

Read More
We've found 56 essays on A Modest Proposal

Essay examples

Essay topics


Satirical Elements In A Modest Proposal

Many mistake t for only being used as a mean to make mockery and turn a serious situation into a humorous one. It is actually applied to get us thinking and to help us understand the point from which the satirist is coming from. One …

A Modest Proposal
Words 1143
Pages 5
Imitation of Jonathan Swift’s Satire Modest Proposal

AP English 7 October 12, 2012 The solution(Imitation of Jonathan Swift’s Modest Proposal) It is sad thing to see our learning environment; the place where we come to play sports, meet people, have a good time, learn many interesting things as a place where drugs …

A Modest Proposal
Words 350
Pages 2
A Modest Proposal Essay

Jonathan Swift writes a satirical passage to criticize the England government on their lack of participation in helping the hungry citizens during the years of drought they are experiencing. In his overly exaggerated proposal, he uses an abundance of features of style, voice, and organization …

A Modest Proposal
Words 56
Pages 1
Haven’t found the relevant content? Hire a subject expert to help you with
Essays on A Modest Proposal
$35.80 for a 2-page paper
Get custom paper
essays on topic icon
Satire of Modest Proposal

Satire at its Finest A masterful satire, this is what Jonathon Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” is. The writing is used to construct a misunderstood proposal that comments on the social hardship of Ireland while blaming the government’s incompetence as well as the morals of the …

A Modest ProposalFallacyLogos
Words 953
Pages 4
A Modest Proposal: Overview

The implied thesis in Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal is of course not really what the author is seriously suggesting. The essay is in fact meant as a satire to present social issues about the Irish. (more…)

A Modest Proposal
Words 37
Pages 1
Reflection Essay on A Modest Proposal

Assignment #1: Surprise Ending in The Modest Proposal Syreeta Bruster Professor Lynn Wilson World Cultures II – HUM 112 November 12, 2012 A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift is a satirical story with lots of sarcasm. This proposal was written to shock or force the …

A Modest Proposal
Words 664
Pages 3
A Modest Proposal

Short Story Analysis A Modest Proposal Jonathan Swift once remarked, “We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another” (Conditions). 1729 was a time where both economic and religious struggles raged between Ireland and England. Jonathan …

A Modest Proposal
Words 1190
Pages 5
A modest proposal Analysis

A modest proposal BY green0784 A Modest Proposal In his satirical essay “A Modest Proposal,” Johnathan Swift examines treatment of the poor in Ireland during the eighteenth century: “l have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London; that a young …

A Modest Proposal
Words 588
Pages 3
Orwell and Swift

One of the techniques they have common is that both of them are using satire. After comparing Orwell and Swift essay, I believe that Swift uses satire more effectively than Orwell does. At first, Swift uses his title more effectively than Orwell. Second Swifts statements …

A Modest ProposalHuman NatureIrony
Words 656
Pages 3
Crime and Violence

If there is one event that haunts this writer to this day, it was the time when he talked with a crime victim, whose fear in the eyes was staggering. (more…)

A Modest Proposal
Words 30
Pages 1
A Modern Modest Proposal

It is a truly depressing matter to witness the complete and utter destruction of Haiti. Since the earthquake, the nation has being slowing withering away. The people that inhabit the land are suffering terribly and enduring the most brutal conditions. Tent cities, populated by close …

A Modest ProposalHaiti
Words 974
Pages 4
Modest Proposal and Twin Towers Terract

These terrorists not only threaten the people they hostage, but also the citizens of the place where they held the crime, because this means that anyone could be a victim. An example to this is the bombing of the “Twin Towers” of the World Trade …

A Modest Proposal
Words 865
Pages 4
A Modest Proposal: Cannibalism

I feel that Jonathan Swift’s piece of work could be used and interpreted different with each and all audiences alike. There is a whole bunch of information to interpret. How Swift, looks at children not as individuals, but as animals used to be sold to …

A Modest Proposal
Words 950
Pages 4
A Modest Proposal Critical Essay

Belliveau Patrick A00156136 ANGL 1042 November 7, 2011 As much the same as different “A Modest Proposal” is an unrealistically conceived attempt to find an easy, cheap and fair way to convert the starving children of Ireland into “Sound and useful members of the common …

A Modest Proposal
Words 695
Pages 3
Jonathan Swift- a Modest Proposal

Jonathan Swift, a celebrated name during the eighteenth century, was an economist, a writer, and a cleric who was later named Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. Although Swift took on many different roles throughout his career, the literary form of satire seemed to …

A Modest ProposalIrelandPoverty
Words 1302
Pages 5
Essay about A Modest Proposal

In “A Modest Proposal”, Jonathan Swift takes aim at the common perception of the poverty stricken class in Ireland in the 1700s. Swift’s solution to the problems of economic strife faced by the lower class is to resort to infanticide and cannibalism upon the first …

A Modest Proposal
Words 55
Pages 1
check icon

Find extra essay topics on Essays on A Modest Proposal by our writers.

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 Publick, commonly referred to as A Modest Proposal, is a Juvenalian satirical essay written and published anonymously by Jonathan Swift in 1729.
Originally published



Satirical essay


Text: A Modest Proposal at Wikisource

Frequently asked questions

What Is A Modest Proposal Satirizing
A Modest Proposal is a work of satire, which means it uses humor to make a point. In this case, the point is that the English government's treatment of the Irish poor is inhumane. Swift suggests that the way to solve the problem is to sell the poor children as food for the rich. This is obviously not a serious solution, but it highlights the heartlessness of the government's policies.
What Is The Author's Purpose In Writing A Modest Proposal
The author's purpose in writing a modest proposal is to present a plan for solving the poverty and overpopulation problem in Ireland. The author's proposal is that the poor should be encouraged to sell their children as food for the rich. The author believes that this will reduce the number of poor people, as well as provide a source of income for the families who sell their children. The author also believes that this plan will reduce the crime rate, as well as improve the overall health of the Irish people.
What Is The Real Thesis Of A Modest Proposal
The real thesis of A Modest Proposal is that the poor in Ireland should be sold as slaves to the rich in England in order to improve the economic situation in both countries. This is a controversial solution, and the narrator is not completely serious about it, but he does believe that it would be an effective way to reduce poverty.
Why Did Swift Wrote A Modest Proposal
There are a number of reasons why Jonathan Swift wrote A Modest Proposal." First, Swift was a political writer and "A Modest Proposal" is a political satire. Second, Swift was concerned about the plight of the poor in Ireland and wanted to bring attention to their conditions. Third, Swift believed that the only way to improve the conditions of the poor was through economic reform. Finally, Swift wrote "A Modest Proposal" as a way to attack the British government's policies toward Ireland."

Save time and let our verified experts help you.

Hire writer