Word choice gives Swift artillery to create satire in “A Modest Proposal”.
In “A Modest Proposal”, Swift uses several different words to create satire, one of which is the word ‘breeders’. He uses the term breeders in reference to the women. In several paragraphs he talks about these breeders and their role. “I calculate there may be about 200,000 couples whose wives are breeders;”(Swift 2) The way that he refers to the women as breeders instead of mothers, wives or women creates satire. Instead of talking about them he talks about what they do. Or what they are supposed to do. This makes good artillery because referring to the women as breeders gives them a significant role and satire is created because instead of being known as women and mothers they are now breeders.
In beginning his proposal Swift uses the word ‘scheme’ before he gets into too much detail about what he has in mind. This word is an excellent word to use to start off. “As to my own part, having turned my thoughts for many years upon this important subject, and maturely weighed the several schemes of our projectors”(Swift 1) Scheme meaning “A systematic plan of action” very well describes the plan that is later laid out by swift to solve the issues he talks about. “There is likewise another great advantage in my scheme”.(Swift 1) He immediately explains how his scheme will “prevent voluntary abortions, and that horrid practice of women murdering their bastard children”.(Swift 1,2)
It’s ironic how he says that then a little bit further down he says: “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 broiled”.(Swift 2) It’s pure satire to not abort the child so that they can be eaten at the age of one, don’t murder them before they’re born, wait a year. The word scheme makes excellent artillery as it is used to signify that the plan that Swift has is a clever plan and wasn’t just thought up over night.
He also uses the word advantage throughout the text. “There is likewise another great advantage in my scheme”.(Swift 1) “Many other advantages might be enumerated.”(Swift 3) The word disadvantage cannot be found. Therefore everyone has something to gain from the proposal and nothing will be lost. The word advantage is definite artillery, especially if you’re one of the wealthy people. They have nothing to loose and Swifts’ Proposal would benefit them entirely. It also creates satire; as for those who are not wealthy there is not an advantage except for only having to live in poverty for a shorter period of time, being able to contribute to society and for the general public, less beggars and homeless on the streets. Therefore the streets are cleaner, less hectic, not as crowded and just plain better.
Swift, Jonathon “A Modest Proposal” 75 Reading plue ed. Santi V. Buscemi, Charlotte Smith.
McGraw-Hill. USA, 2000.