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“A Modest Proposal” is a literary commentary. Swift intended to parody similar pamphlets that were being circulated at the time. His diction throughout the piece, including the word modest in the title, highlights this effect. Of course, one’s proposals are modest and offered “humbly.” With word choice like this, Swift is mocking the false modesty in the tone of many of the pamphlets of his contemporaries; their style may have professed deference, but their proposals displayed audacity.