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Jonathan Swift: A Modest Proposal

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Jonathan Swift: A Modest Proposal

By: Neil P.

The narrator in this story is a very inhumane character. He is portrayed as a very snobbish man who cares more about himself and the sociopolitical aspect of his status. Also, one could argue that the whole context of the story must be taken into account. First of all, one must take into account the environment in which the story was written. During this time period, the beggars that Swift describes could not read, much less afford to buy one of Swifts works. Swift was well aware that his audience was the well-to-do upper class. He could write proposal like this knowing that there would be no repercussions since the upper class would treat this as a comedy. Actually, the lower class could have revolted fearing that their children were in danger if they knew of the story. In effect, it is a combination of both propaganda and humor aimed for the educated audience. Secondly, if Swift did want to help the lower class, he would not have created an exemption for himself in the last paragraph. If he wanted to initiate this plan to help the lower class, then he should have been the one to start it all.

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 sarcasm, satire, 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 review 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

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