Satire by Swift: A Modest Proposal

Introduction

The unforgettable satirical essay “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift is an example of an extremely powerful satire. “It was published in 1729 as an anonymous author’s essay in a pamphlet first” (Go, p. 775). The essay had painted a live picture of the tremendous poverty of Irish people in the early eighteenth century. Swift has lashed at several sectors of people directly related to and responsible for this disgraceful situation of Ireland and the inability of the political authority to do anything constructive and effective for the population living in utter distress. The language throughout has been amazingly controlled but extremely sharp and witty which succeeds to establish his point through creating exaggerations commonly seen in satires. Bullit (2003) indicated that at a point in the text the satire became extreme, when the author suggested buying the poverty driven children to ease the pressure in the government (Bullit, p. 45). This suggestion of mothers selling their children is also mentioned by Phidian (1996) and it is considered as a great satirist approach (Phidian, p. 605). Thus, the focal point of this paper is to evaluate the role of satire in the presentation of the conditions of poverty and population problems that hit Ireland in the 17th Century.

About the Essay

The pain to see the utter distress of the people of Ireland has provided sparks for the creation of such a fiery satire. The sight of female beggars with a number of infants and older children with them on the roads of the city Dublin presented the melancholy of the lives of Irish people living in shear poverty without the bare minimum of sustaining life. No food to eat, wearing rags in place of clothes and hardly any work to earn living, huge number of people were left with no other option but begging in the streets in the 18th century (Jones, pp. 141-161).

The beginning of the essay does not at all give any idea about what actually was the “Modest Proposal” as it read “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 Public” (Swift, p. 1). It appears as if some one with patriotic feeling has given some suggestions regarding poverty eradication. But as the essay progresses the biting sarcasm unfolds. The reader gets a shock when the author suggests selling infants to rich people saying “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” (Swift, p. 5). The shock mounts with the proposal of processing the infants’ skin to make gloves for rich ladies and boots for gentlemen and it almost becomes suffocating when he says “I rather recommend buying the children alive, and dressing them hot from the knife, as we do roasting pigs” (Swift, p. 7).

The essay might confuse the reader about the intention of the author at first. But when it is read through it becomes clear that the shear disgust of Jonathan Swift for people making worthless suggestions to eradicate poverty, incapable political authorities, inhuman behavior of the rich people towards poor, improper behavior of England towards the Irish Nation and the thoughtlessness of Irish people themselves had prompted him to create such a piercing satire. He indicated the unfortunate fact that the living condition of Irish peasants and laborers was such that the children of these poor people would be relieved from the lifelong agony to be alive if they are not allowed to live more than one year. Go stated that the rich people “extorted the poor in such a manner that it could be compared with cannibalism only” (Go, pp. 775-788). So seemed to be a better option to eat them physically when tender rather than repeating what they had done to their parents before them. Death was also better for the “infants of begging mothers and young people without job, money and food” (Go, pp. 775-788).

The causes of Distress in Ireland

The peasants and daily laborers of Ireland at the time of the creation of the essay were leading a disgraceful life with literally no support to live life. They had no control over the production of children which immensely increased the population of these poor people. This voluminous population of infants, young and older children became burdens to their families and the nation as well. As a result as Swift had pointed out the women of those families did not have time to look for work leaving the children behind. They had no other choice than begging in the street with the children in their laps and backs. These children when grown up either would starve to death without work or would take the path of crime. Swift has definitely pointed out to this population boom as one of the reasons of poverty in Ireland (Jones, pp. 141-161). Another reason contributing to the increase in population was the number of illegitimate children increasing among the poor people. Gruesome act like killing the baby by the mother has been pointed out. It also seems that beating wife was a common practice.

Swift has marked another reason which added to the agony of the poor peasants is the inhuman treatment to them by the Absentee Landlords of England. The poor Catholic peasants were squeezed to the extreme by these landlords. With this kind of life they could only become poorer (Go, pp. 775-788). The other deprived population seen on the roads of Dublin was the laborers. They were more in number and work was lesser. Most of the time, they were left without any work. They had either to beg or to steal to make a living. Even when they had work the wages were so small that it could hardly suffice for the big families with so many children.

Poverty was there but there was no effective attempt to make the lives of these poor people a little better. Only useless suggestions were made through pamphlets as if that was a pastime. And if any useful suggestions were at all made they were neglected. The state was wreathing under the pressure of poverty but there were no visible solutions to come out. Filled with disgust, Swift made a satirical suggestion like this to make the authorities to take note of the never ending distress (Jones, pp. 141-161).

Historical Truth about the Distress

The picture that Jonathan Swift had drawn in his “A Modest Proposal” definitely has historical truth regarding the poverty stricken condition of the Irish people. The early 18th Century when the essay had been written was the era of industrialization of England. The humane values were put aside and the ill treatment of Irish peasants by the English Landlords was also a historical fact. England had behaved with Ireland like a stepchild and the Irish people were denied the minimum rights for themselves. For England Irish people were nothing but commodities that could be used to bring riches to English Rich class but could not afford food and clothes for their own children. No humane values were assigned to them (Go, pp. 775-788).

Conclusion

Jonathan Swift had presented the picture of the grim state of Ireland with such a cutting satire that it is sure to make a deep mark in the reader’s mind. Though this was a satire, grave questions like “how they will be able to find food and raiment for a hundred thousand useless mouths and backs” (Swift, p. 14) have been put forward in a straight language. This essay points to his deep concern towards the situation of Ireland that time and an urge to see something effective happening. This is satire at its best no doubt.

Works Cited

  1. Bullitt, John M. Jonathan Swift and the Anatomy of Satire: A Study of Satiric Technique. Cambridge: Harvard, 2003.
  2. Go, John. The ‘New’ Sociology of Empire and Colonialism. Sociology Compass, 3.5, (2009): 775-788.
  3. Jones, Ronald. Unsettling Geographical Horizons: Exploring Imperialism. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 95.6, (2005): 141-161.
  4. Phiddian, Robert. Have You Eaten Yet? The Reader in A Modest ProposalStudies in English Literature, 1500-1900 36.3 (1996): 603–621.
  5. Swift, Jonathan. A modest proposal. London: Plain Label Books, 1969

Flannery O’Connor’s Short Stories

What Will You Get?

Essaywriter.fun is a professional writing service for anyone who needs help with their essay, research paper, or other writing assignments. We provide high-quality content at an affordable price, in a convenient and timely manner.

Premium Quality

Get result-oriented writing and worry no longer about your marks. We adhere to the highest quality standards to ensure you receive flawless assignments. Every essay or paper we complete is thoroughly checked before it reaches the customer--we have a strict quality assurance process in place to produce only the best work.

Expert Writers

Our writers have experience working with papers at all academic levels. You can confidently rely on our skilled professionals' knowledge. We understand that not everyone has the time they need to meet deadlines--to make it easier for our customers, we offer 24/7 support through different channels such as live chat and email so that there's always help when you need it.

On-Time Delivery

Your deadline is our success metric, and we take it extremely seriously. We ensure that you receive your papers before the deadline you choose. You can order an essay and have it delivered to you within 3 hours! If that's not enough for you, we also offer a 24-hour rush option. Don't sweat it! Our writing service can help you brainstorm, find interesting topics, or even do all the work for you. All you have to do is give us a topic and our professional writers will take care of the rest in no time at all.

24/7 Customer Support

There is always a member of our customer service staff available to react to your inquiries. Contact us if you have any questions or concerns. We have access to thousands of experts in multiple fields of study and we have been providing our services for years now. You will never have to worry about quality again — our essays are always original and well-researched. We understand the struggle - we've been there too. That's why we offer our customers 24/7 customer support and fixed prices that are always transparent.

Total Confidentiality

Relax while we help you with the writing of your essays. We have a strict policy regarding the confidentiality of your personal and order-related information. We offer a variety of payment methods including credit cards and PayPal which allows for fast transfer of funds into your account after ordering. You can also make payments at any time using your credit card or when funds are due using PayPal automatic withdrawal from your bank account or credit card balance without having to log into your account.

Authentic Sources

We guarantee that your essay will be thoroughly screened for plagiarism and grammatical issues, as we only use credible, trusted sources. At Essaywriter.fun, everything is done according to your instructions - that means no plagiarism will ever be detected. That also means more money in your pocket as well as a perfect paper to submit as your own work.

Moneyback Guarantee

Still hesitating to place an order? Our 100% Money-Back Guarantee protects you in the unlikely event that you are not happy with the writing.

Preferred essay writer

At any time, hire your favourite essay writer. Simply indicate if you would like your favourite expert to compose your paper, and we will make it happen. We only select the best, most qualified essay writers to join our team. These people have years of experience in essays, research papers, term papers, dissertations, and more. We also prefer to hire essay writers with English as their first language as we want your satisfaction to be guaranteed every time.

image

Areas of Expertise

Although you can leverage our expertise for any writing task, we have a knack for creating flawless papers for the following document types.

Areas of Expertise

Although you can leverage our expertise for any writing task, we have a knack for creating flawless papers for the following document types.

image

Trusted Partner of 9950+ Students for Writing

Priority is given to customer pleasure, and we try every day to enhance custom essay writing. We ensure that only the most qualified and knowledgeable writer will complete your project. Your directions will be followed precisely, including all specifics. Editors will proofread each sentence, correct typos, and rectify grammatical and lexical errors.

Professional Essay Writer at Your Service

Quality over quantity is a tenet that Essaywriter adheres to. Our team is the best of the best. In addition, we select writers based on their academic credentials, enabling us to increase the overall field specialization depth! This version enables consumers to buy an essay or any other type of project from our fast paper writing service; just be sure to select the most qualified writer.

Write My Essay Service Helps You Excel!

If you are seeking for a reliable essay writing service that can complete a lengthy report for a reasonable fee, you have come to the perfect place. We recognize that each client has distinct requirements, thus we will tailor each product to meet those specifications! We recognize that it is difficult to balance everything in the agenda. By using our expert writing service, you will no longer need to wonder, "Who can help me with my essay?".

AFFORDABLE PRICES

Compared to other essay writing services, our firm cares about its customers and offers premium services that are affordable for any budget. We understand how challenging it can be for students to earn or save money, therefore our costs begin at just $13.99 per page. Because of this, we have a large number of repeat customers that utilize our services frequently. Essaywriter's objective is to provide a cheap online essay service.

Plagiarism Report

You no longer need to be worried about plagiarism. Get a plagiarism report to validate the originality of your work.

Free Features $66FREE

  • Most Qualified Writer $10FREE
  • Plagiarism Scan Report $10FREE
  • Unlimited Revisions $08FREE
  • Paper Formatting $05FREE
  • Cover Page $05FREE
  • Referencing & Bibliography $10FREE
  • Dedicated User Area $08FREE
  • 24/7 Order Tracking $05FREE
  • Periodic Email Alerts $05FREE
image

Our Services

Join us for the best experience while seeking writing assistance in your college life. A good grade is all you need to boost up your academic excellence and we are all about it.

  • On-time Delivery
  • 24/7 Order Tracking
  • Access to Authentic Sources
Academic Writing

We create perfect papers according to the guidelines.

Professional Editing

We seamlessly edit out errors from your papers.

Thorough Proofreading

We thoroughly read your final draft to identify errors.

image

Hire Your Personal Essay Writer Today

With our essay service, you'll find an essay writer for any task. Their rating is based on previous customer reviews and successful orders. Before you hire a writer, you can familiarize yourself with their track record in detail!

Check Out Our Sample Work

Dedication. Quality. Commitment. Punctuality

[display_samples]

It May Not Be Much, but It’s Honest Work!

Here is what we have achieved so far. These numbers are evidence that we go the extra mile to make your college journey successful.

0+

Happy Clients

0+

Words Written This Week

0+

Ongoing Orders

0%

Customer Satisfaction Rate
image

Process as Fine as Brewed Coffee

We have the most intuitive and minimalistic process so that you can easily place an order. Just follow a few steps to unlock success.

See How We Helped 9000+ Students Achieve Success

image

Why students choose Essaywriter Essay writing service?

Essaywriter is a reputable, trustworthy, rapid, and well regarded online essay writing service that offers cheap, high-quality papers. We offer an exceptional service and a multitude of outstanding features, including:

Our authors offer the greatest essay writing service since they hold degrees in a variety of fields. From MBA to law to nursing to business, we cover nearly every degree. Our writers can compose any type of essay, including creative, critical, and scientific articles. We employ the greatest writers in the United States to ensure that you obtain the best essay writing services.

  • Clear elicitation of your requirements.
  • Customized writing as per your needs.

Essaywriter Offers an Outstanding Essay Writing Service with No Risks

We recognize that ordering an essay online may appear intimidating. There is a possibility that the quality or formatting will be inadequate. When working with tight schedules, these dangers cannot be tolerated. Therefore, we evaluate the degrees and qualifications of our authors before hiring them. Our writers are actual persons, and we evaluate samples of their past work to ensure that it corresponds to all American university criteria. We mitigate the hazards, so you can feel secure knowing you're collaborating with a reliable professional essay writing service.

  • Proactive analysis of your writing.
  • 24/7 proffesional customer service.
image
image

Hire a Skilled Essay Writer and Get More Done!

Are you entirely overwhelmed by work? Having difficulty juggling everyday, work, and other responsibilities? You've come to the right location, as we will alleviate your concerns. Request "write my paper for me," and we will provide you with access to hundreds of competent and experienced writers. Choose an essay writer, provide them with all of your instructions, and then catch up on work or other responsibilities, secure in the knowing that you will receive a high-quality assignment before the deadline.

  • 100 percent unique content based on the instructions you provide.
  • we offer top-notch essay writing service to boost your grades.
Place an Order Start Chat Now
image