A Modest Proposal and Other Satires

Modest Proposal

Swift writes for several paragraphs before actually making his "modest proposal". Discuss what he attempts to establish prior to revealing his plan.

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The blank place in Section One is purposeful, although the author wrote earlier that he lost some of the pages; here, too, he is being satirical. The list of books he has read, with far from accurate descriptions of what those books are actually about, is likewise supposed to be funny; these are not books that one would choose for close examination, and it appears that the narrator has woefully misunderstood those books. This is a central theme: people misunderstand what they read, for a variety of reasons and with a variety of results ranging from the comic to the tragic.