parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the public. by. Dr. Jonathan Swift. It is a melancholy object to those, who walk through this great town. Johnathan Swift's “A Modest Proposal” and other short pieces is a publication of the Pennsylvania State University. This Portable. Document file is furnished free. By Jonathan Swift. Edited and annotated by Jack Lynch. Swift was Irish, and though he much preferred living in England, he resented British policies toward the.
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Project Gutenberg · 59, free ebooks · 33 by Jonathan Swift. A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift. No cover available. Download; Bibrec. A Modest Proposal. Essay by Jonathan Swift. Meet the Author. Jonathan Swift has been called the greatest satirist in the English language. His genuine outrage. Jonathan Swift's. A Modest Proposal. A Publication of The Pennsylvania State University. Penn State's Classical Literature in Electronic Format Series.
Psalmanazar was widely known to be an imposter, a Frenchman pretending to be a native of Formosa Taiwan , but the Proposer seems unaware of this. Active Themes The Proposer acknowledges that while his plan will take care of all the impoverished children, it fails to account for all the many aging, sick, disabled, and starving adults in Ireland.
How will they be provided for? The Proposer shrugs this question off, reasoning that the old and sick are nearing death anyway. Soon they will no longer be a burden to the country. He seems to regard them as eyesores and burdens to the public, not humans in their own right. Active Themes Now the Proposer begins to list in detail the many advantages of his plan.
Firstly, the plan will greatly reduce the number of Papists Catholics in Ireland—a wicked group. These Catholics, who are prolific breeders, insist on remaining at home in Ireland, hoping to deliver the nation to the Pretender.
By simply living in their own country, the Catholic Irish are supposedly committing treason—and by evading taxes, Protestants are merely obeying their conscience. They are in dire need of this, as their cattle and corn have already been seized by their landlords as collateral. Here Swift seems to comment on the predatory behavior of the mostly English landlords in Ireland. It strikes the Proposer as perfectly normal that a landlord would demand further compensation from his tenants, even after seizing all of their possessions.
The reader, however, will hopefully be appalled by this notion. Once again he pulls numbers out of thin air to support the supposed rationality of his plan. For the Proposer, the idea that Irish parents might want to keep their children is entirely out of the question. The Proposer has an exaggerated idea of the brutality of Irish husbands, but it may be that Swift is also poking fun at the Irish himself.
Active Themes Further, Ireland will be able to export all the beef and pork that the flesh of infants will inevitably replace. This will be good for the Irish economy. And, once again, the Proposer fails to see the children as anything other than livestock.
They were not successful and this defeat sealed the fate of the Catholic landowners and facilitated the penal laws against Catholics. Ireland in the Eighteenth Century Trade was blooming in Ireland in the eighteenth century even though there were tariffs and bans on Irish woollens being sold to England.
Foreign trade as well as domestic bloomed but there were difficulties with the fluctuating value of Irish coinage and the ever present threat of war Foster The Anglo-Irish population were the landowners, the clergy and the politicians.
Even though they were in league with England, there was a growing disquiet among them because of how Ireland was run and managed by the crown. The Anglo-Irish may not have wanted independence or any power to be given to the Catholics, but they wanted more independence under the crown.
They wanted a strong Irish parliament and were growing impatient with the rule of the English in Ireland. They thought of themselves as Irishmen and wanted to be treated by England as equals Kee In spite of the Anglo-Irish anger towards the Crown for not showing enough interest in Ireland and its affairs, there was little sympathy among them for the native Catholics.
Ireland had several different social classes. At the top were the politically powerful Anglo-Irish, the more fluent Protestant landowning minority. At the bottom were the poor Catholic population, involved in farming, service or the textile industry Canny There was a great problem in Ireland with poverty and in fact too many children being born to the lower classes.
People were having great difficulty making ends meet and many mothers had to resort to begging. There was a rather sarcastic metaphor already existing, one that Swift played upon in the Proposal, which goes as follows: It meant that because of unfair trading practices, too high rent and absentee landlords, the Irish were being starved and slowly destroyed by the English.
One of the great eras of satire was the eighteenth century in England. Great writers such as Swift, Pope, Dryden, Addison, and more, all wrote satire in the form of poems, drama, essays, and criticism Harmon and Holman Satirists use laughter to address situations they find unacceptable and, therefore, in need of change. There are two different types of satire, formal and indirect.
In formal satire, the writer usually uses a persona who speaks directly to the reader or to one of the characters in the work.
Formal satire has two types. Juvenalian satire is quite bitter and angry, biting harshly at the situation and people that the writer finds corrupt and unaccaptable. Horatian satire is more gentle, using laughter to try to change the situation. In indirect satire, the characters of the satire are themselves ridiculed and made fun of Harmon and Holman There are several forms of indirect satire, the principle one being Menippean, which usually does not have characters but more commonly mental attitudes to deal with Harmon and Holman It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes a specific work a satire.
The satire can be in the form of a poem, a novel, an essay, and so forth. The satire is therefore not one specific thing in the work, not like different kind of rhyme or the many uses of persona. A work is a satire because of its special character Sutherland 1.
A satirist is a person who finds a specific situation or occurance to be unjust and unacceptable, and will try with his satire to identify what is wrong with the situation and offer his solution.
It is not enough, however, for the satirist to bring forth his solution and hope that people will read it and agree. Even though the cause itself is not purely political, the art of the satirist is to persuade and convince people that his cause is the right one. A good political satire is intelligent and subtle and allows the imagination to run free. It can be misunderstood and is therefore often discarded as rubbish and foolishness. But the fact is that if the satire is looked at more closely and the true message of the satire is understood, it can be a helpful tool when difficult matters are discussed.
Modern Satire Today, satire is prominent in television shows, political satire especially. There are a number of American television shows that make fun of current social and political issues and make it easier to discuss difficult and serious matters with the use of humour, irony and even sarcasm.
The Colbert Nation is very popular and has been nominated numerous times for the prestigous Emmy awards in America. In his show, Stephen Colbert unmercifully pokes fun at politicians and other dignitaries, at war and atrocities commited around the world, as well as at social matters like racism, sexism and violence.
In Iceland there has been a weekly comedy show that uses satire, irony and humour to discuss the social and political matters each week.
This show, Spaugstofan, has been on the air for two decades, but it is especially important today, with the hardship the Icelandic people are suffering because of the recent economic recession. Many people are facing unemployment, losing their homes and going bankrupt, and it can be difficult to face the future, and the insecurities and difficulties ahead. Spaugstofan is therefore very important in making these very serious and difficult matters seem a little funny and, hopefully, managable.
Spaugstofan is not as harsh a satire as A Modest Proposal, but still a satire, and as such helpful in discussing serious social matters and perhaps asking questions that need to be asked, like who is to blame and what is the government doing to help the public deal with economic hardship. Jonathan Swift was born in Dublin in of English parents, although his father had died some months before his birth. Swift continued his education and eventually took orders in the Church of England.
Swift was a passionate Anglican and he saw the Church as equally important as the Crown. He was quite hostile to anyone who seemed to threaten his church in any way, whether they were Catholics or Dissenters, and even Whig politicians.
In spite of his passion for the Church, his career never went further than becoming the Dean of St. Religion to Swift was a matter of life. He believed in Christian charity and that people should be good to one another. In his sermons to his congregation he preached charity and kindness, and urged people to show Christian charity Williams He did not believe, though, that humans were good by nature Abrams , and therefore it was important to have a strong church with clear rules, that, when people follow the rules, make it possible for them to be good and kind to others.
In A Modest Proposal, one can see that his sense of what is right had been trampled on, that the unjust society of Ireland at the time was not a society Swift wanted. It angered him greatly to hear people talk of the riches of Ireland when so many of the Irish people were starving and living in immense poverty Williams and most certainly contributed to his writings in defense of Ireland and its people. The money he left behind was used to found a hospital for the mentally ill, St.
The hospital still exists today and functions as a psychiatric hospital in Dublin. He was indeed a great writer and a fantastic satirist. This style can definitely been seen in A Modest Proposal, controlled with anger and indignation boiling between the lines. The advantage for Swift in using the persona is that it made him able to express his own views about certain matters that he might not have been otherwise able to do.
Even so, Williams claims, Swift does not hide behind his different personas, he is ever present and obvious to the reader, although in a subtle way Throughout his life, Jonathan Swift experienced several disappointments. He decided on the Church as a career, he left the Whig party because of differences of opinion, his career was limited within the Church and he was forced to live in Ireland more or less against his will Abrams Katherine Williams discusses these disappointments in her book and states that perhaps it was disappointment that made him the great satirist that he was.
He was unsure of himself and always afraid of the worst outcome so it would have been easier for him to satirize an issue rather than discussing it straightforwardly 4 , the satire being a kind of shield against failure and criticism. It is true that Swift did not always get what he wanted and he must have been disappointed many times, but I am not convinced that he was taking the easier way by writing satire. In fact, it is very difficult to write a good satire because one must be careful not to cross the line and become vulgar and cruel, or going to far the other way, with too little bite, being simply funny.
The study of Swift and politics is quite a complicated matter and has been interpreted differently by different biographers Higgins 1. The two opposing parties of English politics in the eighteenth century were the Whigs and the Tories. The Whigs believed in a strong Parliament that should have the power to determine the succession to the English throne and they were quite liberal in religious matters.
The Tories, on the other hand, supported the Anglican church and the country gentry. Swift left the Whig party because he felt they did not care enough about the Anglican Church. Swift did not believe in extremes, and he often preached to his congregation to avoid extremes Williams , and this can be seen in his politics.
He was not an extreme man, except maybe when it came to his beloved Anglican Church. Swift as an Irish Hero The legend of Swift as an Irish patriot can be seen as quite ironic, given that he lived in Ireland more or less against his own will. He wanted desperately to leave and live in England, but because of political changes there he was forced to stay in Ireland. Politics and religion were favorite subjects in his prose, and he wrote many pamphlets and other works to further a specific cause.
Swift was indeed an Englishman in Ireland, but he did live in that country and saw many of the corrupt and injust laws and policies taking place there.
Swift had a strong sense of justice and he was angered by the government of Ireland, the way Ireland was slowly being drained of all its wealth and people.
He made several appeals to his fellow Anglo-Irish, as well as to the government in England, proposals to help Ireland become richer and to increase justice and patriotism. The Irish tracts, the pamphlets, sermons and letters he wrote in order to bring the serious situation in Ireland to light, are fascinating to read, and they make it clear that Swift did indeed have the interest of the impoverished Irish at heart, as well as of the Anglo-Irish.
Even though he did not like the Catholics very much, he disapproved of the abuse they suffered at the hand of the absentee landlords. This pamphlet was an attack on the Anglo- Irish as well as on the English, who Swift saw as degraded and corrupt.
Swift published this piece anonymously and it was well received by the public, but not so well by the authorities. Indeed, the printer of the piece was prosecuted by the authorities, but in spite of their efforts, the public outrage at the prosecution became so great that eventually they were forced to drop the case Daly The letters were seven in all: He was able to express his views with the aid of the persona without hiding behind it, because everybody seemed to know that it was Swift who was speaking behind the persona of the Drapier, except maybe the authorities.
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