The full title of Swift's pamphlet is "A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People from Being a Burthen to their Parents, or the Country, and for Making them Beneficial to the Publick." The tract is an ironically conceived attempt to "find out a fair, cheap, and easy Method" for converting the starving children of Ireland into "sound and useful members of the Commonwealth." Across the country poor children, predominantly Catholics, are living in squalor because their families are too poor to keep them fed and clothed.
The author argues, by hard-edged economic reasoning as well as from a self-righteous moral stance, for a way to turn this problem into its own solution. His proposal, in effect, is to fatten up these undernourished children and feed them to Ireland's rich land-owners. Children of the poor could be sold into a meat market at the age of one, he argues, thus combating overpopulation and unemployment, sparing families the expense of child-bearing while providing them with a little extra income, improving the culinary experience of the wealthy, and contributing to the overall economic well-being of the nation.
The author offers statistical support for his assertions and gives specific data about the number of children to be sold, their weight and price, and the projected consumption patterns. He suggests some recipes for preparing this delicious new meat, and he feels sure that innovative cooks will be quick to generate more. He also anticipates that the practice of selling and eating children will have positive effects on family morality: husbands will treat their wives with more respect, and parents will value their children in ways hitherto unknown. His conclusion is that the implementation of this project will do more to solve Ireland's complex social, political, and economic problems than any other measure that has been proposed.
Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal Essay
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Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”
In Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal,” published in 1729, Swift engages in an extraordinary amount of irony and satire. Swift states that in order to reduce famine in Ireland and to solve the problems that they are having that eating children would be a good solution. This is not the purpose of Swift’s essay. The real intent was to get the people of Britain to notice that the ideas that they were coming up with were not any better than his satirical one, and new ideas and efforts needed to come forth in order to solve the problem. Swift stresses that it is hard for mothers to provide for their children and it is not getting any easier. He feels that this is due to an overpopulation and…show more content…
He believes that these less than a year old infants can survive mostly on breast milk and need little other nourishment. So, Swift’s idea is that after a child has reached a year old, that child is to be sold as food to the wealthier members in that society or anybody who can afford it.
From Swift’s perspective using the children as food is the most efficient and cheap way to make the children a contribution rather than a burden. Swift realizes that there is a downfall to this approach. That downfall is a sharp decrease in population. Although that is part of the goal, it could create too much of a decline in the population than wanted. However, this is the only con that Swift mentions. Swift goes on in great detail to explain his many pros for this idea. Swift feels that since most of the children born into this poverty grow up to be thieves and beggars that it would be doing society a favor in the long run.
Swift also states that he is open to any other opinions that anyone may have regarding solutions to the famine that the country is facing. Here he is merely saying that he wants to hear what is going to be done about this famine and when something is going to be done. He also shows his concern in this essay for such tragedies that this country is facing or may be facing. He shows that he genuinely cares about what happens and he is willing to help. Nothing will get done about it