1. What social problem does Swift attempt to solve with his “modest proposal”?
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The most famous of his essays—perhaps the most famous essay of satire in the English language—is “A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents of Country; and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public.” This essay was published anonymously in 1729, a year in which Ireland suffered from poverty and famine. “A Modest Proposal” suggests, as a method for dealing with the destitution, that the Irish eat their babies. Swift, of course, was not serious. His essay exposed the prejudice against the Irish poor by taking that prejudice to an extreme with a shocking suggestion. Swift also intended to lampoon a series of proposals that were being published at the time about solving Ireland’s economic problems, although many of them were unfeasible and unhelpful. By asserting, like these other pamphlets, to have a cure-all solution, Swift exposed the naiveté of such a view. Check out the following GradeSaver link for more: