• Research Paper on:
    Swift's Use of Irony in "A Modest Proposal"

    Number of Pages: 3


    Summary of the research paper:

    This 3 page paper discusses Jonathan Swift's satiric essay "A Modest Proposal" and his use of irony to make his points. Bibliography lists 6 sources.

    Name of Research Paper File: D0_HVModPrp.rtf

    Buy This Research Paper »


    Unformatted Sample Text from the Research Paper:
    that at times people have taken it seriously. This paper argues that Swift used irony to highlight the changes needed in society. Discussion Swift proposed that as they had so  many illegitimate children, the Irish could raise them until they were a year old, at which point they could be slaughtered and sold as food. This, as he saw it,  would eliminate both the problems of overpopulation and food shortages. Its hard to believe that anyone would mistake Swifts outrageous proposal for a serious plan of action, but apparently people  did exactly that. This may be attributed to the fact that "[Swift] is surely unrivalled both in the number of personae he adopted, and in the imaginative completeness with which  he merged himself into them" (Watt, 1956, p. 19). That has proven to be a problem: "In many of Swifts satires the personae are so convincing that ... the fictional  world of each persona also takes on a reality of its own: the mask looks perfectly lifelike" (Watt, 1956, p. 19). If readers cannot discern Swift from his creation-in this  case, a sort of pseudo-official making an economic proposal-its no wonder they failed to discern that the essay is satiric. One of those who misconstrued it was no less a  personage than William Makepeace Thackeray, who loved Gulliver but who thought that Proposals moral was "horrible, shameful, unmanly, and blasphemous, and accused Swift of lacking softness, of entering the nursery  with the tread and gayety of an ogre" (Smedman, 1990, p. 75). Thackeray believed only Swift was capable of writing Proposal because "most people melt at the thought of childhood,  fondle and caress it" and this piece certainly does no such thing (Smedman, 1990, p. 75). We might wonder how an author of the stature of Thackeray ( he is 

    Back to Research Paper Results