A Modest Proposal and Other Satires

What is the actual thesis or argument for “A Modest Proposal”?


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Swift's persona highlights the economic inequality in Ireland and England with “A Modest Proposal.” In the beginning of the essay, he expresses great sympathy for the beggars of Ireland, describing their destitution in detail. His solution of eating babies applies primarily to the babies of the poor; the title of the piece states that this is a proposal for making the “children of poor people” ultimately “beneficial to the public.” The writer suggests that the landlords ought to eat the babies, as they have already “devoured” their parents. The writer here is implying that the rich metaphorically “devour” the poor, achieving success largely at the expense of the lower classes.