Swift's essay is darkly satirical, although that may not be obvious at first glance. What are the textual clues that suggest Swift isn't serious with his thesis?
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“A Modest Proposal” is accurately called one of the most effective satires in the English language. There are a few key moments of satirical success that should be mentioned. Swift’s decision to put off the actual suggestion of eating babies until several paragraphs into the piece makes his idea all the more arresting when it does come. Also, naming population decrease as the one potential objection to his proposal, Swift heightens the irony of an already ironic piece. The reader is expecting this objection to be that it is morally wrong to kill babies, but Swift subverts our expectations once again, suggesting that there are people so cold to reality that they could be swayed by merely practical economic arguments and cannot even see the outrage of cannibalism.