A Modest Proposal and Other Satires

Meditation Upon a Broomstick


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The main purpose of “A Meditation Upon a Broomstick,” a short piece in just two paragraphs, is literary parody. Swift is mocking the writing style of Robert Boyle, whom he considered to be a “very silly writer.” The specific book that Swift is parodying is Occasional Reflections Upon Several Subjects, which Swift considered a silly title (almost as silly as “A Meditation Upon a Broomstick”). Swift’s attempts to poke fun at Boyle’s language are apparent in his woeful, lamenting tone, in such lines as, “When I beheld this I sighed, and said within myself, Surely mortal man is a Broomstick!” (p. 231).