Douglas County High School Corruption in Public Institutions Modest Proposal Essay Reed the “A Modest Proposal “. Answer 7 questions. Then write 2 pages es

Douglas County High School Corruption in Public Institutions Modest Proposal Essay Reed the “A Modest Proposal “. Answer 7 questions. Then write 2 pages essay.7 questions use separate page Write a piece of Satire that comments on a behavior you
wish to see changed, this can be either Horatian or
Juvenalian. Your article should be 2-3 pages typed, and
should include a headline and byline. This does not need
to be in MLA format, but I need to be able to read the
After you’ve written your article put a conclusion
paragraph analyzing your own use of satire. What
behavior or subject are you commenting on? What
literary devices did you use? How is your article
Using complete sentences answer after reading
questions, for “A Modest Proposal”, 4, 5, 7, 10 on page
4. Swift claims that he has written “A Modest Proposal
to convince readers to accept his plan to alleviate
poverty in Ireland. What would you say is his true
purpose in writing this essay? Explain your answer.
5. What verbal irony does Swift use in each of the
following parts of “A Modest Proposal”?
a. The title of the essay
b. lines 59-60
c. lines 135-145
7. Instead of directly attacking injustice and flawed
behavior, Swift uses irony to convey his ideas indirectly.
What conclusions would you draw about his attitude
toward each of the following?
a. Irish Landlords (lines 79-81)
b. The way most English and Irish Protestants view Irish
Catholics (lines 82-89)
c. Irish Protestants living abroad (lines 149-155)
10. The 18th century is often called the Age of Reason
because advances in science and technology fueled
belief that governments could apply rational thought to
solve many social problems. Swift, a traditionalist, was
often skeptical of new ideas. In what ways does “A
Modest Proposal” reflect this attitude?
make four dishes of excellent nutritive meat, when he hath only some particular
friend or his own family to dine with him. Thus the squire will learn to be a
good landlord, and grow popular among the tenants; the mother will have eight
shillings net profit, and be fit for work till she produces another child.
Those who are more thrifty (as I must confess the times require) may flay the
carcass; the skin of which artificially dressed will make admirable gloves for ladies,
100 and summer boots for fine gentlemen.
As to our city of Dublin, shambles’? may be appointed for this purpose in the
most convenient parts of it, and butchers we may be assured will not be wanting;
although I rather recommend buying the children alive, and dressing them hot
from the knife as we do roasting pigs.
A very worthy person, a true lover of his country, and whose virtues I highly
esteem, was lately pleased in discoursing on this matter to offer a refinement
upon my scheme. He said that many gentlemen of this kingdom, having of late
destroyed their deer, he conceived that the want of venison might be well supplied
by the bodies of young lads and maidens, not exceeding fourteen years of age
10 nor under twelve, so great a number of both sexes in every county being now
ready to starve for want of work and service; and these to be disposed of by their
if alive, or otherwise by their nearest relations. But with due deference
to so excellent a friend and so deserving a patriot, I cannot be altogether in his
sentiments; for as to the males, my American acquaintance assured me from
Understatement is
an ironic device that
creates emphasis by
saying less than is
expected or appropriate.
In what way are lines
98-100 an example of
deference (dětər-ans) n.
a yielding or courteous
regard toward the
opinion, judgment, or
wishes of others; respect
17. shambles: slaughterhouses.
A Modest Proposal
BACKGROUND By 1700, Ireland was so completely dominated by England that it
seemed like a conquered territory. The Catholic majority could not vote, hold public
office, buy land, or receive an education. The repressive policies reduced many Irish
people to poverty. When crops failed–as they did for several years during the 17205-
many faced starvation. Jonathan Swift, outraged by the injustice of England’s treatment
of Ireland, penned “A Modest Proposal,” using ferocious satire to strike back at those
who neglected Ireland’s poor.
What impression does
the engraving convey
about the lives of poor
people in the 18th
century? Cite details to
support your answer.
It is a melancholy object to those who walk through this great town’ or travel in
the country, when they see the streets, the roads, and cabin doors, crowded with
beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags and
importuning every passenger for an alms. These mothers, instead of being able to
work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in strolling to
beg sustenance for their helpless infants, who, as they grow up, either turn thieves
for want of work, or leave their dear native country to fight for the Pretender in
Spain, or sell themselves to the Barbadoes.
I think it is agreed by all parties that this prodigious number of children in
10 the arms, or on the backs, or at the heels of their mothers, and frequently of their
fathers, is in the present deplorable state of the kingdom a very great additional
grievance; and therefore whoever could find out a fair, cheap, and easy method
of making these children sound, useful members of the commonwealth would
deserve so well of the public as to have his statue set up for a preserver of
the nation. A
sustenance (sus’te-nans)
n. a means of support or
What problem does
Swift identify in
lines 1-15?
1. this great town: Dublin, Ireland.
2. importuning (Tm pôr-toon ing)…alms lämz): begging from every passerby for a charitable handout.
3. want: lack; need.
4. Pretender: James Edward Stuart, who claimed the English throne, from which his now deceased father,
James II, had been removed in 1688. Because James II and his son were Roman Catholic, the common
people of Ireland were loyal to them.
5. sell …Barbadoes: To escape poverty, some Irish migrated to the West Indies, obtaining money for their
passage by agreeing to work as slaves on plantations there for a set period.
Detail of Gin Lane (1700s). William Hogarth.
Engraving. © Art Resource, New York
But my intention is very far from being confined to provide only for the
children of professed beggars; it is of a much greater extent, and shall take in the
whole number of infants at a certain age who are born of parents in effect as little
able to support them as those who demand our charity in the streets.
As to my own part, having turned my thoughts for many years upon this
important subject, and maturely weighed the several schemes of other projectors,
I have always found them grossly mistaken in their computation. It is true, a
child just dropped from its dam’ may be supported by her milk for a solar year,
with little other nourishment; at most not above the value of two shillings, which
the mother may certainly get, or the value in scraps, by her lawful occupation of
begging; and it is exactly at one year old that I propose to provide for them in
such a manner as instead of being a charge upon their parents or the parish, or
wanting food and raiment for the rest of their lives, they shall on the contrary
contribute to the feeding, and partly to the clothing, of many thousands.
There is likewise another great advantage in my scheme, that it will prevent
those voluntary abortions, and that horrid practice of women murdering their
bastard children, alas, too frequent among us, sacrificing the poor innocent babes,
I doubt, more to avoid the expense than the shame, which would move tears and
pity in the most savage and inhuman breast.
The number of souls in this kingdom being usually reckoned one million and a
half, of these I calculate there may be about two hundred thousand couple whose
wives are breeders; from which number I subtract thirty thousand couples who
are able to maintain their own children, although I apprehend there cannot be so
many under the present distresses of the kingdom; but this being granted, there will
40 remain an hundred and seventy thousand breeders. I again subtract fifty thousand
for those women who miscarry, or whose children die by accident or disease
within the year. There only remain an hundred and twenty thousand children of
poor parents annually born. The question therefore is, how this number shall be
reared and provided for, which, as I have already said, under the present situation
of affairs, is utterly impossible by all the methods hitherto proposed. For we can
neither employ them in handicraft or agriculture; we neither build houses (I mean
in the country) nor cultivate land. They can very seldom pick up a livelihood by
stealing till they arrive at six years old, except where they are of towardly parts;’
although I confess they learn the rudiments much earlier, during which time
50 they can however be looked upon only as probationers, as I have been informed
by a principal gentleman in the county of Cavan, who protested to me that he
never knew above one or two instances under the age of six, even in a part of the
kingdom so renowned for the quickest proficiency in that art.
I am assured by our merchants that a boy or girl before twelve years old is no
salable commodity; and even when they come to this age they will not yield above
three pounds, or three pounds and half a crown at most on the Exchange; which
rudiment (roo’de-ment)
n. a basic principle or
Reread lines 43-53.
What social problem
does Swift blame for
the widespread thievery
in Ireland?
6. projectors: persons who propose public projects or plans.
7. dam (dám): female parent. The term is used mostly for farm animals.
8. doubt: suspect.
9. are of towardly törd’lė) parts: have a promising talent.
cannot turn to account either to the parents or the kingdom, the charge of
nutriment and rags having been at least four times that value.
I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not
be liable to the least objection.
I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in
London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious,
nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I
make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout.”
I do therefore humbly offer it to public consideration that of the hundred and
twenty thousand children, already computed, twenty thousand may be reserved
for breed, 2 whereof only one fourth part to be males, which is more than we allow
to sheep, black cattle, or swine; and my reason is that these children are seldom
the fruits of marriage, a circumstance not much regarded by our savages, therefore
70 one male will be sufficient to serve four females. That the remaining hundred
thousand may at a year old be offered in sale to the persons of quality and fortune
through the kingdom, always advising the mother to let them suck plentifully in
the last month, so as to render them plump and fat for a good table. A child will
make two dishes at an entertainment for friends; and when the family dines alone,
the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little
pepper or salt will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.
I have reckoned upon a medium that a child just born will weigh twelve
pounds, and in a solar year if tolerably nursed increaseth to twenty-eight pounds.
I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for landlords,
80 who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title
to the children.
Infant’s flesh will be in season throughout the year, but more plentiful in
March, and a little before and after. For we are told by a grave author, an eminent
French physician,” that fish being a prolific diet, there are more children born
in Roman Catholic countries about nine months after Lent’s than at any other
season; therefore, reckoning a year after Lent, the markets will be more glutted
than usual, because the number of popish infants is at least three to one in this
kingdom; and therefore it will have one other collateral advantage, by lessening
the number of Papists among us.
I have already computed the charge of nursing a beggar’s child (in which list
I reckon all cottagers, laborers, and four fifths of the farmers), to be about two
shillings per annum, rags included, and I believe no gentleman would repine to
give ten shillings for the carcass of a good fat child, which, as I have said, will
Reread lines 65-76.
What is Swift’s proposal?
collateral (ke-lăt’er-el)
adj. accompanying as a
parallel or subordinate
factor; related
10. urn to account: earn a profit; benefit; prove useful.
11. fricassee (frik’e-se’)… ragout (ră-goo’): types of meat stews.
12. reserved for breed: kept for breeding (instead of being slaughtered).
13. grave… physician: François Rabelais (rab’e-la’), a 16th-century French satirist.
14. prolific: promoting fertility.
15. Lent: Catholics traditionally do not eat meat during Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter, and instead
eat a lot of fish
16. popish (po’pish!… Papists: hostile or contemptuous terms referring to Roman Catholics.
The Idle Prentice Executed at Tyburn. William Hogarth. Plate XI of Industry and Idleness, 1833. Engraving.
Guildhall Library, City of London/Bridgeman Art Library.
frequent experience that their flesh was generally tough and lean, like that of
our schoolboys, by continual exercise, and their taste disagreeable; and to fatten
them would not answer the charge. Then as to the females, it would, I think with
humble submission, be a loss to the public, because they soon would become
breeders themselves; and besides, it is not improbable that some scrupulous people
120 might be apt to censure such a practice (although indeed very unjustly) as a little
bordering upon cruelty; which, I confess, hath always been with me the
objection against any project, how well soever intended. @
But in order to justify my friend, he confessed that this expedient was put into
his head by the famous Psalmanazar, a native of the island Formosa,” who came
from thence to London above twenty years ago, and in conversation told my
friend that in his country when any young person happened to be put to death,
the executioner sold the carcass to persons of quality as a prime dainty; and that
in his time the body of a plump girl of fifteen, who was crucified for an attempt
to poison the emperor, was sold to his Imperial Majesty’s prime minister of state,
130 and other great mandarins of the court, in joints from the gibbet,” at four hundred
crowns. Neither indeed can I deny that if the same use were made of several plump
young girls in this town, who without one single groat to their fortunes cannot
What is ironic about
Swift’s concern in lines
117-122 regarding what
“some scrupulous
people” might think?
expedient (k-spe’de-ent)
n. something useful in
achieving the desired
effect; a convenience; an
18. Psalmanazar (sal’ma-năz’er)… Formosa (for-mo’se): a French imposter in London who called himself
George Psalmanazar and pretended to be from Formosa (now Taiwan), where, he said, cannibalism was
19. gibbet grb Tt): gallows.
20. groat: an old British coin worth four pennies.
(ěn-kum’brens) n.
a burden
famine (făm’yn) n. a
period in which there
is a severe shortage
of food
stir abroad without a chair, and appear at the playhouse and assemblies in foreign
fineries which they never will pay for the kingdom would not be the worse.
Some persons of a desponding spirit are in great concern about that vast number
of poor people who are aged, diseased, or maimed, and I have been desired to
employ my thoughts what course may be taken to ease the nation of so grievous
an encumbrance. But I am not in the least pain upon that matter, because it is
very well known that they are every day dying and rotting by cold and famine,
140 and filth and vermin, as fast as can be reasonably expected. And as to the
laborers, they are now in almost as hopeful a condition. They cannot get work,
and consequently pine away for want of nourishment to a degree that if at any
time they are accidentally hired to common labor, they have not strength to
perform it; and thus the country and themselves are happily delivered from the
evils to come.
I have too long digressed, and therefore shall return to my subject. I think the
advantages by the proposal which I have made are obvious and many, as well as of
the highest importance.
For first, as I have already observed, it would greatly lessen the number of
150 Papists, with whom we are yearly overrun, being the principal breeders of the
nation as well as our most dangerous enemies; and who stay at home on purpose
to deliver the kingdom to the Pretender, hoping to take their advantage by
the absence of so many good Protestants, who have chosen rather to leave their
country than stay at home and pay tithes against their conscience to an
Episcopal curate.22
Secondly, the poorer tenants will have something valuable of their own, which
by law may be made liable to distress, 23 and help to pay their landlord’s rent, their
corn and cattle being already seized and money a thing unknown.
Thirdly, whereas the maintenance of an hundred thousand children, from two
160 years old and upwards, cannot be computed at less than ten shillings a piece per
annum, the nation’s stock will be thereby increased fifty thousand pounds per
annum, besides the profit of a new dish introduced to the tables of all gentlemen
of fortune in the kingdom who have any refinement in taste. And the money
will circulate among ourselves, the goods being entirely of our own growth and
Fourthly, the constant breeders, besides the gain of eight shillings sterling per
annum by the sale of their children, will be rid of the charge of maintaining them
after the first year.
Fifthly, this food would likewise bring great custom to taverns, where the
170 vintners will certainly be so prudent as to procure the best receipts for dressing
it to perfection, and consequently have their houses frequented by all the fine
gentlemen, who justly value themselves upon their knowledge in good eating, and
Why does Swift supply
these cost and profit
21. cannot stir…chair: cannot go outside without using an enclosed chair carried on poles by two men.
22. Protestants … curate (kyoort): Swift is criticizing absentee Anglo-Irish landowners who lived-and
spent their income from their property-in England.
23. distress: seizure of a person’s property for the payment of debts.
24. receipts: recipes.
Detail of Gin Lane (1700s), William Hogarth. Engraving. Art Resource, New York.
mercy toward their tenants: lastly, of putting a spirit of honesty, industry, and skill
into our shopkeepers; who, if a resolution could now be taken to buy only our
native goods, would immediately unite to cheat and exact upon us in the price,
the measure, and the goodness, nor could ever yet be brought to make one fair
proposal of just dealing, though often and earnestly invited to it. O
Therefore I repeat, let no man talk to me of these and the like expedients,
220 till he hath at least some glimpse of hope that there will ever be some hearty and
sincere attempt to put them in practice.
But as to myself, having been wearied out for many years with offering vain,
idle, visionary thoughts, and at length utterly despairing of success, I fortunately
fell upon this proposal, which, as it is wholly …
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