Modest Proposal

It is very sad to see a society where people commute and stroll through sidewalks crowded with women begging for alms for their more than four children instead of working for an honest living. As they get older, these kids either turn into thieves, sell themselves, or flee their nation to work for the impostor. We must discover ways to make children useful to the public because they are a burden to both parents and the nation. If this pattern persists, the nation will never experience economic, social, or political prosperity. This historical event depicts a time in history in Irish society where women were left alone to take care of children. The kids turn to be a burden to the nation and steal from them. The rich people and the government neglect the poor, through the work of Swift we see the rich encountering the poor in every day in Dublin. The British government policies on Irish people seems to be more restrictive.

We can see the impoverish state of many Irish citizens, they were desperate peasants with no one to take care of them, women increasingly giving birth, but unable to take care of them. The author sympathizes with them, he gives the proposal on how to solve the situation and turn the poor kids into useful in the society. His proposal would reduce the number of children and abortion performed by poor ladies. His solution though is satirical; the children are too young for employment neither the merchants will buy or sell infants, so the only thing Irish people should do is to eat the children as soon as they are one year.

When he says children are too young for employment it actually tells us that during that time, employment of children is common for Irish Catholics. His narratives and calculation of a number of children indicate the Catholic community tend to have a lot of kids. (Giles, 2013)

The kids of words used by the narrator such as “papist” sound more offensive, it is anti-Catholic and rejection of pope. His suggestion aims to reduce the number of Catholics since they give birth too many children.

Prejudice against the poor revealed in the suggestion that the carcasses of lower class kids could be used in clothing or women gloves. This statement shows the extent of discrimination against the poor. Also, moral issues arise in the story, women are aborting children to avoid shame in the society and husband do not take care of their wives and children, the suggestion will force both men and women to take care of their own kids.

The kids who leave their native country to go work for pretenders in Spain, the Irish were not loyal to their nationality as well as showing a nation drives its citizen to mercenary work. The national priorities and policies during this time take poor people for granted, the poor Irish Children will not find employment in a country which does neither build houses nor cultivate lands.

The theme of prejudice against the lower class also, shown when landlord devours the poor parents of the kids. The landlord represents the rich men out there who live at the expenses of the poor. A very worthy person who is representing the upper class are discriminating the lower and the middle class, the rich life at the expenses of the poor and there is a wide gap between the upper and the lower class.

Also, this history tells us the barbaric nature of the Irish people during that particular time, when the narrator says “ children are delicious” implies a barbaric people because you cannot eat kids in the real sense. The same language shows how arrogance the Irish men and women during the period.

A Modest Proposal is a literary commentary, the author intended to express the same fact files that were being circulated at the time. His diction n the entire piece and the use of modest as the title indicates the same effects. One’s proposal is obvious modest and is usually offered humble receptions. When Swift uses these words he is mocking modern lifestyle and people claim to be modest but, their lifestyle proofs opposite.

He then gets into the real argument, the writer puts off his suggestion of eating kids in the next paragraphs makes his ideas more interesting. The reader is moved to believe the killing of children is morally right until when he puts more realistic solutions to economic problems facing the country at the moment. His initial suggestion of eating children shows that several people can be swayed easily. When the author gave his suggestion, he wanted the citizens to gain politically and economically.

In this history the narrator is English but he is describing Irish. In this description, we see Irish people as the cultural arrogance of English and political sabotage felt by Irish. The story is mocking the English who view themselves as civilized while Irish as savage, uncivilized and barbaric. During the eighteen-century rumors were circulated about cannibalism among the inferior groups, the Irish considered native. Those claims were used by Americans rule those considered inferior and colonize them. In “A Modest Proposal” Swift suggest cannibalism as an American and the natives were culturally inferior compared to the Americans. (Jonathan, 2002)

The moral dangers of technology and scientific advancement appears in this piece of literature, by the time the writer was writing this history many people specifically politicians had begun applying scientific and mathematical theories to solve social issues. Swift demonstrate that when he calculates the number of kids who were available for consumption. By doing so, he illustrates the risk of taking social problems only in a mathematical way and forgetting the human side. He is trying to argue that human being is not the number if the decision maker focus on numbers, there is no room left for humanity and if scientific advancement takes too far human side is forgotten.

It is also, evident in this story that there is the incongruity between the complexity of human social and political reality and ruthless logics, the suggestion by the author seems unrealistic and it does beat logics. In essence, he attempts to solve social problems and ensure children of poor are not burden to their parents but, they are becoming useful to the society.

The Catholic community is the one who has many children, and the largest poor population, thus, enemies of economic progress. Reducing their number would be necessary to have enough number of kids whom the parents and the country are capable of taking care of them. The proposal may also be taken to mean if when the children became valuable commodities, it will be better they pay the debt to the landlord.

This arrangement is best for the country’s economy because what used to be a liability turns to be useful and valuable part of a national product. in addition, poor parents are now relieved of the burden of taking care of many kids as well as increasing the moral benefits of encouraging parents specifically mothers to love their children. Most of the proposer’s argument have to do with the actual problems of building a vibrant Irish economy, he reveals that his objection is not much to do with people as the most valuable resources, but failure on by Irish to recognize and value resources in any meaningful way and used in the construction of the nation.

The author goes ahead and proposes other ways in which the country can eradicate poverty, taxing the absentee landowners, rejecting foreign luxuries by buying locally manufactured goods, reforming the morality of Irish Women and instill prudence and temperance in the people as well as ensuring healthy patriotism. He urges his fellow countrymen to refuse to sell their country’s consciences for nothing. Also, he urges the landlords to treat tenants in fair and justly, and merchants to practice honesty in trade. He insists his argument have proposal are urgent and addresses two major issues. First is how more than 100,000 poor children would be fed and clothed and the second is how to eradicate poverty among the vast majority in the Irish Population. His mind is only for the best of the poor and public good. (Richardson, 2001)


Giles, D. (2013). A Literacy Analysis of a Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift. Literary Analysis, 2-10.

Jonathan, S. (2002). A Modest Proposal and Other Satires. Journal of Grade Saver, 120-130.

Richardson, J. (2001). Swift, A Modest Proposal, and Slavery. Essay in Criticism, 400-420.

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