A Modest Proposal

Johnathon Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” is one of the best–and some would say, shocking–examples of written satire. Swift takes on the voice of a very reasonable, concerned citizen to argue for the most barbaric of actions. As you read, it is very important that you remember this is a piece of satire, not a serious suggestion. He is proposing an extremely distasteful behavior to demonstrate how extremely distasteful he finds the current behavior of society.

Before you begin reading, you can find an outline of the essay here (also look at task 2 for suggestions about how to break down the text to analyze it). The full text is available to read here. Read through the essay, noting the elements of satire (such as irony, reversal, exaggeration) that were discussed in the PowerPoint notes.

After you have studied the essay, complete the short writing assignment.

Create a document titled “A Modest Proposal.” Format according to MLA guidelines.

In a one to two-page response, respond to the following prompt. Although the prompt has several parts, your response should be one well-developed paragraph. Do not treat each part of the prompt as separate question. Instead integrate all the suggestions into your response, organizing your answer as best suits your ideas.

Prompt: Evaluate Swift’s “Proposal,” applying the three questions for identifying satire found in your PowerPoint notes. What are Swift’s real ideas about how to help the poor? What satiric methods does he use? (give examples) Do Swift’s criticisms have any application in our society today?