Rhetorical Analysis: A Modest Proposal By Jonathan Swift

1358 words - 6 pages

A “Modest Proposal” is written by a man who had been exiled from England and forced to live among Irish citizens for many years during which he observed major problems in Ireland that needed a solution. The writer of this piece is Jonathan Swift, and in his proposal, “The Modest Proposal,” Swift purpose is to offer a possible solution to the growing problem of the homeless and poverty stricken women and children on the streets of Ireland. Swift adopts a caring tone in order to make his proposal sound reasonable to his audience, trying to convince them that he truly cares about the problems facing Ireland’s poor and that making the children of the poor readily available to the rich for ...view middle of the document...

The argument being presented is a factual one based on rational principles and is structured in a very logical way for the purpose of convincing the audience that his proposal is serious and is absolutely possible to solve the problems in Ireland. Swift gives details, projects costs of rearing children and costs that will be saved if the child is eaten. The argument is structured by presenting the solution to the problem in simple economic terms. The assumption is that the income of the poor would increase significantly if the children of the poor are sold as food to the wealthy. The greatest and most flawed assumption is that the wealthy would actually enjoy or be fully compliant with eating a human child. Swift not only assumes that people will actually be alright with consuming children, be he also assumes it is not inhumane to do such a thing and that the homeless children would be compliant to being eaten.
The writer’s character can be described as sarcastic, his persona is perceived as objective and impartial although irrational throughout the text. Swift’s proposal is full of satire because the sarcasm is repetitive, mixed with humor, irony, exaggeration and ridicule while offering no real acceptable solutions to the problem. The credentials that Swift has are based on his citizenship and observations made while living among the problem and having third party input about others observations, not just his own. Swift does not show good will because his proposal to better Ireland is at the cost of destroying the lives of the underdogs along the way. Swift shows respect for opposing views, but is quick to try to disprove them and show their flaws. Swift shows no humanity what so ever, until the last paragraph expressing some small amount of humanity that he has left. The only likeability Swift has is the fact that his proposal is to help Ireland and not just himself, other than helping Ireland, he has little to no likeability for offering such a sick proposal. The author’s tone towards his material is both confident and sarcastic, the style is based on explaining his plan, making sure to provide opposing views, while still staying on track to convince the people that his proposal would work. Swift’s way of thinking is solely sarcastic thinking, in fact he is ultimately trying to tell the people that this is the last resort they have left and show just how far they will actually have to go to save Ireland.
The logical reasoning of this piece is that his proposal will solve all of the problems facing Ireland including overpopulation, hunger and homelessness. The claims being made are that of Swift claiming the citizens would be compliant with this installment, both the consumers and the consumed, and he also claims that this will benefit Ireland far more than it will harm it. These claims are being...

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