A Modest Proposal and Other Satires

Examining the Elusive in "A Modest Proposal" College

The beginning of the eighteenth century witnessed the establishment of the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland, and a gradual retraction of the civil rights of Roman Catholics (Papists). The Anglican minority took measures to enrich and empower itself through various policies, including mercantilism, which relied on the devaluation of a country’s goods to increase its exports. This rush to increase trade value came with the price of rapid impoverishing of the working class. Moreover, the laborer was considered part of a country’s capital, and no child was too young to go to work. In his satirical work “A Modest Proposal” Anglo-Irish essayist Jonathan Swift responds to the dilemma of the nation’s proliferating indigent masses in a parody of the autocratic landlords of his time. He introduces a method of putting the begging mothers to productive employment, and their children to the purpose of the gratification of landlords. Conning an unwavering loyalty to his perverted scheme and drenching every word in reasonableness, Swifts demonstrates his mastery in satire and effectively shocks, captivates and entertains the readers. If his support were not lacking in credibility (or his scheme in practicability), his tactful, persuasive...

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