A Modest Proposal


Have You Eaten Yet?: Swift’s Final Solution
As a lately favored eighteenth century essay, Jonathan Swift’s "Proposal" has been canonized as a satirical model of wit. As will be discussed shortly, Swift’s essay is often seen as an allegory for England’s oppression of Ireland. Swift, himself and Irishman (Tucker 142), would seem to have pointed his razor wit against the foreign nation responsible for his city’s ruin. Wearing the lens of a New Historicist, however, requires that we reexamine the power structures at work in Swift’s society. We must delve into not only Swift’s "Proposal," but also into other of his correspondence, and even into discourse of the epoch in ...

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isolated from the pressures of the society in which Swift wrote. While propositions such as " for the More Certain and yet More Easie Provision for the Poor, and Likewise for the Better Suppression of Theives…Tending Much to the Advancement of Trade, Especially in the most Profitable Part of It," (Author Unknown, Cited in Rawson 189) were commonly circulated in order to postulate solutions to the crises of the day, Jonathan Swift’s "Proposal" has been read as a parody of this sort of pamphlet (Rawson 189). There can be no solid support for such a thesis, and it would be wrong to infer that what is at work in Swift’s "Proposal" in any important sense is a burlesque on project concerning the poor or on the titles of certain types of economic tracts. The mimicry of these things which Swift employs is but seasoning, and not the main point. Likewise, to suggest that Swift was radically attacking the notion of economic planning of human affairs, or even that ...

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states that "Infants flesh will be in season throughout the year…" and that a large quantity of infant flesh will be consumed. He indicates that cooks will vie with each other in preparing new dishes of this food which is "a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food." (Swift) The proposer next exhausts the list of ways one can prepare this food in order to emphasize that the food will incite a continuous craving in the people who devour it. The proposer also derives by-products from the infants’ flesh; clearly, he is establishing a major industry which will use a lot of infant flesh. The enormity of the business is again seen in regard to the actual slaughter, ...

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Added: 7/8/2008 11:05:24 AM
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2443
Pages: 9

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