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 Publick, commonly referred to as A Modest Proposal, is a satirical essay written and published by Jonathan Swift in 1729. Satire is often strictly defined as a literary genre or form; although in practice it is also found in the graphic and Performing arts In satire human An essay is usually a short piece of writing It is often written from an author's personal point of view. Jonathan Swift (30 November 1667 Swift appears to suggest in his essay that the Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling children born into poverty as food for rich gentlemen and ladies. Ireland (pronounced /ˈaɾlənd/ Éire) is the third largest island in Europe, and the twentieth-largest island in the world
Swift goes to great lengths to support his argument, including a list of possible preparation styles for the children, and calculations showing the financial benefits of his suggestion. He uses common methods of argument throughout his essay, such as appealing to the authority of "a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London" and "the famous Psalmanazar, a native of the island Formosa" (who had already confessed to not being from Formosa in 1706). An appeal to authority or argument by authority is a type of argument in Logic called a fallacy George Psalmanazar (1679?- May 3 1763) claimed to be the first Formosan to visit Europe. Taiwan ( Taiwanese: Tâi-oân/Tāi-oân (historically 大灣/台員/大員/台圓/大圓/台窩灣 is an Island in East Asia. Swift couches his arguments in then-current events, exploiting common prejudice against Papists and pointing out their depredations of England. Papist is a term usually disparaging or an Anti-Catholic slur referring to a member of the Catholic Church. After enumerating the benefits of his proposal, Swift addresses possible objections including the depopulation of Ireland and a litany of other solutions which he dismisses as impractical.
This essay is widely held to be one of the greatest examples of sustained irony in the history of the English language. Irony is a literary or Rhetorical device, in which there is an incongruity or Discordance between what one says or does and what one means or Much of its shock value derives from the fact that the first portion of the essay describes the plight of starving beggars in Ireland, so that the reader is unprepared for the surprise of Swift's solution when he states, "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. A stew is a combination of Solid Food Ingredients that have been Cooked in Water or other water-based liquid typically by Simmering Baking is the technique of prolonged Cooking of Food by dry heat acting by conduction, and not by radiation, normally in an Oven, Boiling (also called ebullition) a type of Phase transition, is the rapid vaporization of a Liquid, which typically occurs when a liquid Fricassee (sometimes spelled Fricassée) is typically Poultry, but other types of White meat can be substituted The term ragout ( French ragoût) can refer either to a main-dish Stew or to a Sauce for Noodles or other starchy foods "
Readers unacquainted with its reputation as a satirical work often do not immediately realize that Swift was not seriously proposing cannibalism and infanticide, nor would readers unfamiliar with the satires of Horace and Juvenal recognize that Swift's essay follows the rules and structure of Latin satires. Cannibalism (from Spanish es ''caníbal'' in connection with cannibalism among the Antillean Caribs, also called anthropophagy (from Greek ἄνθρωπος Infanticide is the practice of someone intentionally causing the death of an Infant. Quintus Horatius Flaccus, ( Venosa, December 8, 65 BC - Rome, November 27, 8 BC known in the English-speaking world as Horace Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis, known in English as Juvenal, was a Roman Poet active in the late 1st and early 2nd century AD author of the
The satirical element of the pamphlet is often only understood after the reader notes the allusions made by Swift to the attitudes of landlords, such as the following: "I grant this food may 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 extends the metaphor to get in a few jibes at England’s mistreatment of Ireland, noting that "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. "
In the tradition of Roman satire, Swift introduces the reforms he is actually suggesting by deriding them:
|“||Therefore let no man talk to me of other expedients: Of taxing our absentees at five shillings a pound: Of using neither clothes, nor household 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: Of learning to love our country, wherein we differ even from Laplanders, and the inhabitants of Topinamboo: Of quitting our animosities and factions, nor acting any longer like the Jews, who were murdering one another at the very moment their city was taken: Of being a little cautious not to sell our country and consciences for nothing: Of teaching landlords to have at least one degree of mercy towards their tenants. The Sami people are the Indigenous people of northern Europe inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of northern Sweden, Norway The Tupi people is one of the main Ethnic groups of Brazilian indigenous people, together with the related Guaraní. Lastly, of putting a spirit of honesty, industry, and skill into our shop-keepers, who, if a resolution could now be taken to buy only our native goods, would immediately unite to cheat and exact upon us in the price, the measure, and the goodness, nor could ever yet be brought to make one fair proposal of just dealing, though often and earnestly invited to it. |
Therefore I repeat, let no man talk to me of these and the like expedients, 'till he hath at least some glympse of hope, that there will ever be some hearty and sincere attempt to put them into practice.
Most well known critics have been reluctant to analyze the targets of Swift’s A Modest Proposal because of a misreading of Swift’s intentions. According to Wittkowsky, critics wrongly assumed that A Modest Proposal targeted conditions in Ireland, instead of its true target, the “set of theories and attitudes which rendered such conditions possible”. 
One of Swift’s overarching targets in A Modest Proposal was the can-do spirit of the times that led people to devise a number of illogical schemes that would purportedly solve social and economic ills. Swift was especially insulted by projects that tried to fix population and labor issues with a simple cure-all solution.  A memorable example of these sort of schemes “involved the idea of running the poor through a joint-stock company”. A joint stock company (JSC is a type of business entity it is a type of Corporation or Partnership.  In response, Swift’s Modest Proposal was “a burlesque of projects concerning the poor”, that were in vogue during the early 18th century.
A Modest Proposal also targets the calculating way people perceived the poor in designing their projects. The pamphlet targets reformers who “regard people as commodities”.  In the piece, Swift adopts the “technique of a political arithmetician“ to try and prove the utter ridiculousness of trying to prove any proposal with dispassionate statistics.
Critics differ about Swift’s intentions in using this faux-mathematical philosophy. Edmund Wilson argues that statistically “the logic of the "Modest proposal" can be compared with Marx's defense of crime in which he argues that crime takes care of the superfluous population”.  Wittkowsky counters that Swift's satiric use of statistical analysis is an effort to enhance his satire that “springs from a spirit of bitter mockery, not from the delight in calculations for their own sake”. 
Charles K. Smith argues that Swift’s rhetorical style persuades the reader to detest the speaker and pity the Irish. Swift’s specific strategy is twofold, using a “trap” to create sympathy for the Irish and a dislike of the narrator who, in the span of one sentence, “details vividly and with rhetorical emphasis the grinding poverty” but feels emotion solely for members of his own class.  Swift’s use of gripping details of poverty and his narrator’s cool approach towards them creates “two opposing points of view” which “alienate the reader, perhaps unconsciously, from a narrator who can view with "melancholy" detachment a subject that Swift has directed us, rhetorically, to see in a much less detached way”. 
Swift has his proposer further degrade the Irish by using language ordinarily reserved for animals. Lewis argues that the speaker uses “the vocabulary of animal husbandry” to describe the Irish. Once the children have been commoditized, Swift’s rhetoric can easily turn “people into animals, then meat, and from meat, logically, into tonnage worth a price per pound”. 
Swift uses the proposer’s serious tone to highlight the absurdity of his proposal. In making his argument, the speaker uses the conventional, text book approved order of argument from Swift’s time.  The contrast between the “careful control against the almost inconceivable perversion of his scheme” and “the ridiculousness of the proposal” create a situation in which the reader has “to consider just what perverted values and assumptions would allow such a diligent, thoughtful, and conventional man to propose so perverse a plan”. 
Some scholars have argued that “A Modest Proposal” was largely influenced and inspired by Tertullian’s Apology. Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, Anglicised as Tertullian, (ca While Tertullian’s Apology is a satirical attack against early Roman persecution of Christianity, Swift’s A Modest Proposal addresses the Anglo-Irish situation in the 1720s. James William Johnson believes that Swift saw major similarities between the two situations.  Johnson notes Swift’s obvious affinity for Tertullain and the bold stylistic and structural similarities between the works A Modest Proposal and Apology.  In structure, Johnson points out the same central theme; that of cannibalism and the eating of babies; and the same final argument; that “human depravity is such that men will attempt to justify their own cruelty by accusing their victims of being lower than human”.  Stylistically, Swift and Tertullain share the same command of sarcasm and language.  In agreement with Johnson, Donald C. Baker points out the similarity between both author’s tones and use of irony. Baker notes the uncanny way that both authors imply an ironic “justification by ownership” over the subject of sacrificing children—Tertullian while attacking pagan parents, and Swift while attacking the English mistreatment of the Irish poor. 
When taking up Jonathan Swift's pamphlet, A Modest Proposal, Robert Phiddian in his article "Have you eaten yet? The Reader in A Modest Proposal" focuses on two aspects of the piece: the voice of Swift and the voice of the Proposer. Phiddian stresses that a reader of the pamphlet must learn to distinguish between the satiric voice of Jonathan Swift and the apparent economic projections of the Proposer. He reminds readers that “there is a gap between the narrator’s meaning and the text’s, and that a moral-political argument is being carried out by means of parody”. 
While Swift’s proposal is therefore obviously not a serious economic projection, George Wittkowsky, author of "Swift’s Modest Proposal: The Biography of an Early Georgian Pamphlet," argues that it is nevertheless important to understand the economics of Swift’s time in order to fully understand the piece. Wittowsky argues that not enough critics have taken the time to directly focus on the economics of Swift’s historical situation within which A Modest Proposal was written. He states that "if one regards the Modest Proposal simply as a criticism of condition, about all one can say is that conditions were bad and that Swift's irony brilliantly underscored this fact".  According to Wittkowsky that has been the understanding most critics have settled with over the years of reading Swift's proposal. On the other hand, Wittkowsky states that it is beneficial for the reader to be familiar with the economics of mercantilism and the theories of labor in 18th century England in order to fully understand the background of A Modest Proposal. He explains that with the start of a new industrial age in the 18th century it was believed that “people are the riches of the nation,” and there was a general faith in an economy which paid its workers low wages—high wages meant workers would work less.  Furthermore, “in the mercantilist view no child was too young to go into industry. ” Wittkowsky reminds us that it is important to remember that in the “Age of Swift” the “somewhat more humane attitudes of an earlier day had all but disappeared and the laborer had come to be regarded as a commodity”.  We can better understand Swift’s satirical cannibalistic proposal when we take into account this idea in his time of the human being as a number or commodity.
Louis A. Landa presents Swift’s A Modest Proposal as a critique of the popular and unjustified maxim of mercantilism in the eighteenth century that “people are the riches of a nation”.  Swift presents the dire state of Ireland and shows that mere population itself, in Ireland’s case, did not always mean greater wealth and economy.  The uncontrolled maxim fails to take into account that a person that does not produce in an economic or political way makes a country poorer, not richer.  Swift also recognizes the implications of such a fact in making mercantilist philosophy a paradox: the wealth of a country is based on the poverty of the majority of its citizens.  Swift however, Landa argues, is not merely criticizing economic maxims but also addressing the fact that England was denying Irish citizens their natural rights and dehumanizing them by viewing them as a mere commodity. 
A Modest Proposal is included in many literature programs as an example of early modern western satire. Satire is often strictly defined as a literary genre or form; although in practice it is also found in the graphic and Performing arts In satire human It also serves as an exceptional introduction to the concept and use of argumentative language, lending itself well to secondary and post-secondary essay courses. Outside of the realm of English studies, A Modest Proposal is a relevant piece included in many comparative and global literature and history courses, as well as those of numerous other disciplines in the arts, humanities, and even the social sciences.
It has been emulated many times as well. In his book A Modest Proposal (1984), evangelical author Frank Schaeffer emulated Swift's work in social conservative polemic against abortion and euthanasia in a future dystopia that advocated recycling of aborted embryos and fetuses, as well as some disabled infants with compound intellectual, physical and physiological difficulties. Frank Schaeffer (born August 3 1952) is an American Author, Film director, Screenwriter and Public speaker. Conservatism is a term used to describe political philosophies that favour Tradition, where tradition refers to various religious cultural or nationally defined An Euthanasia (literally "good death" in Ancient Greek) refers to the practice of ending a life in a painless manner A dystopia (from the Greek δυσ- and τόπος alternatively cacotopia, kakotopia, cackotopia, or anti-utopia) is the vision of a society Recycling involves processing used materials into new products in order to prevent the waste of potentially useful materials reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials reduce An embryo (from Greek:, plural, lit "that which grows" from en- "in" + bryein "to swell be full" is a multicellular A fetus (or foetus or fœtus) is a developing Mammal or other Viviparous Vertebrate, after the Embryonic stage and (Such Baby Doe Rules cases were then a major concern of the pro-life movement of the early 1980s, which viewed selective treatment of those infants as disability discrimination. The Baby Doe Law or Baby Doe Amendment is the name of an amendment to the Child Abuse Law passed in 1984 in the United States that sets forth specific criteria and Overview See also Ethical aspects of abortion Pro-life individuals generally believe that human life should be valued either from conception or Implantation )
The game Orphan Feast on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim website is loosely based on A Modest Proposal. Adult Swim, (usually stylized swim with its signature square Brackets, is an adult-oriented Television network sharing channel space with Cartoon
The show Sealab 2021 also references A Modest Proposal by the character of Jodene Sparks.
In Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist, which contains hundreds of private letters written by Thompson over the years, contains a letter in which he uses A Modest Proposal's satire technique against the Vietnam War. Hunter Stockton Thompson ( July 18, 1937 &ndash February 20, 2005) was an American Journalist and Author, most The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, or the Vietnam Conflict, occurred in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia Thompson writes a letter to a local Aspen newspaper informing them that, on Christmas Eve, he was going to use napalm to burn a number of dogs and hopefully any humans they find. The City of Aspen is a Home Rule Municipality that is the County seat and the most populous city of Pitkin County, Colorado, United Napalm is the name given to any of a number of Flammable Liquids used in Warfare often jellied Gasoline. This letter protests the burning of Vietnamese people occurring overseas.