Modest Proposal

In his lengthy literary career, Jonathan Swift wrote many stories that used a
broad range of voices that were used to make some compelling personal
statements. For example, Swifts, A Modest Proposal, is often heralded as his
best use of both sarcasm and irony. Yet taking into account the persona of

Swift, as well as the period in which it was written, one can prove that through
that same use of sarcasm and irony, this proposal is actually written to
entertain the upper-class. Therefore the true irony in this story lies not in
the analyzation of minute details in the story, but rather in the context of the
story as it is written. One of the voices that is present throughout the story
is that of irony. The story itself is ironic since no one can take Swifts
proposal seriously. This irony is clearly demonstrated at the end of the story;

Swift makes it clear that this proposal would not affect him since his children
were grown and his wife unable to have any more children. It would be rather
absurd to think that a rational man would want to both propose this and partake
in the eating of another human being. Therefore, before an analyzation can
continue, one has to make the assumption that this is strictly a fictional work
and Swift had no intention of pursuing his proposal any further. One of the
other voices that is present throughout the entire story is that of sarcasm. In
order to understand this further, a reader has to comprehend that Swift,
becoming infamous after Gullivers Travels, was a member of the upper-class.

Right from the first paragraph Swift attempts to fool his readers by the sarcasm
of the dreary scene that Swift presents. For example, he mentions that it is a
melancholy sight to see beggars and their children on the street. The sarcastic
paradox in this statement is whether it is a melancholy object for him, having
to see homeless people every day, or for the beggars lifestyle? Upon first
reading this one may be led to believe that Swift is a compassionate writer
attempting to feel the pain of the beggars. But as the story continues, a reader
can look back and note that he is using a sarcastic tone and the only sad sight
that he sees is the fact that people of his status have to deal with commoners.

It is a good combination that makes the reader think twice about any other
statements, and the voice used, after the first paragraph. This leads to the
underlying statements that appear throughout the story. It is quite clear that

Swift has strong feelings of resentment, bordering on hate, for the poor people
that wonder the street. For example, he tries to qualify his proposal by saying,
"it is very well known that they are dying, and rotting , by cold and
famine, and filth, and vermin . . . they cannot get work and consequently pine
away for want of nourish.". Once a reader understands this, they can see
the true purpose of his proposal. He wants to lower the population of beggars in
his country, so what better way to do it than by putting an end to the younger
generation of beggars? This is also proven since throughout the story he only
mentions that the upper-class of society would be able to purchase the
sacrificial children. The upper-class would also take the carcasses and use them
to, "make admirable gloves for ladies summer boots for fine
gentlemen.". Also, when he makes his calculations as to how many children
would be available for sale, he never takes into account the children from the
rich families. In short, Swifts message is that rich children serve a purpose,
the advancement of Ireland, while poor children are nothing but a burden to the
republic. One other clear indication that Swift was motivated by his hatred for
the poor is the list of six reasons that he write to qualify his proposal. In
the third statement, Swift explains how by buying the children and then selling
them to their friends, the upper-class can keep on thriving. This was a plan to
get themselves even more rich, as Swift states, "the money will circulate
among ourselves, the goods being entirely of our own growth and
manufacture.". Secondly, he also compares this type of meal to that of
eating a pig. He elaborates by naming a variety of ways that you can cook the
child, use if for bacon, or to make clothing.He never once mentions what the
poor people