A Modest Proposal Rhetorical Analysis Essay

895 words - 4 pages

In 1729, Jonathan Swift published a pamphlet called “A Modest Proposal”. It is a satirical piece that described a radical and humorous proposal to a very serious problem. The problem Swift was attacking was the poverty and state of destitution that Ireland was in at the time. Swift wanted to bring attention to the seriousness of the problem and does so by satirically proposing to eat the babies of poor families in order to rid Ireland of poverty. Clearly, this proposal is not to be taken seriously, but merely to prompt others to work to better the state of the nation. Swift hoped to reach not only the people of Ireland who he was calling to action, but the British, who were oppressing the ...view middle of the document...

Swift is a relatable and likeable author because although his proposal isn’t humble, he does want Ireland to improve economically and cares about the people who are being oppressed. On the other hand, he does not simply pity the Irish, but criticizes them for being oppressed.
Throughout his proposal Swift makes heavy and clever uses of the logical appeal. He dedicates several paragraphs to explaining exactly how his proposal will help the poor and how his idea will be implemented. Logos is seen in the ninth paragraph when Swift writes, “that the remaining hundred thousand may, at a year old, be offered in the sale to the persons of quality and fortune through the kingdom”. In this example, Swift uses general knowledge and planning of his own to explain his proposal. Swift goes on with his statistical evidence that he has computed regarding how much each family will receive when they sell their baby. Swift claims that his proposal has at least six concrete benefits and includes evidence to support these claims. He writes, “… the nation’s stock will increase fifty thousand pounds per annum…” and he concludes that money will circulate among the people of Ireland as “… the goods being entirely of our own growth and manufacture”. This is one of the many examples Swift uses to convince the audience that his proposal will be economically beneficial.
Swift also makes great use of emotional appeals throughout his piece. These include pity, shock, a degree of frustration, and eventually inspired to solve Ireland’s problem. By using pathos, Swift’s goal is to make the audience feel...

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