the humanities and world culture

A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift is a humorous piece of literature that investigates different options for minimizing the number of vulnerable people in Ireland. The artist starts his work of art by acknowledging that seeing vulnerable children and their families on the streets is heartbreaking. Most children are seen begging alongside their parents in tattered clothing. Several cabin doors are clogged with people pleading for female sex (Swift, 1729). As a result, the appropriate authorities must devise a method of regulating the emergence of the weak. Swift proceeds by presenting a calculation of the exact numbers of members of the society who live below the poverty line with the particular focus on children. Swift then presents solutions to the issue of poverty by giving the various remedies that would convert the children in Ireland who go without food to useful members of the society (Swift, 1729). Unlike many “surprise ending” stories where the twists occur at the end of the pieces, the elements of this story began to change before the readers would get to the middle of the work of art.

The mention of selling children living in poverty to the wealthy as meat was the key surprise in the text. This population is too poor to be clothed and fed. Therefore, at the age of one, these children can be sold in the meat market to spare their parents from the burden of providing for them and to combat unemployment and overpopulation (Swift, 1729).

Jonathan Swift was successful in convincing the audience of this decision by rebranding it as a “modest proposal.” This author foresees fierce disagreement with his proposal and states that he is not so bent in his opinion and might accept any offer from the wise men. Swift used logic as a convincing tool by stating that his option was the easiest to adopt and the cheapest.


Swift, J. (1729). Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”. Retrieved 3 May 2017, from

Need help with your homework? Let our experts handle it.
Order form