Interpretive Analysis of A Modest Proposal

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Swift's "A Modest Proposal", in which he suggests that the problem of Irish poverty can be solved by the sale of the children of the poor for consumption, is above all things a criticism of human faults: extremism of thinking, greed, pride, hypocrisy, intolerance, and insensitivity. His use of ireony is evident even in the title: the idea that not only should poor Irish children be eaten, but that they should be bred for eating …

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…of pride and vanity be cured," that "animosities and factions" be abandoned, and that landlords be taught "to have at least one degree of mercy towards their tenants." Swift is a believer in improvement in people, and he attempts to induce it through his writing by encouraging introspection, which will hopefully lead not only to the recognition of faults in individuals and the societies and systems they create, but also the desire to change them.