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Starving Mothers and Children Essay

Audience Analysis

My target audience is fellow college students needing a summary of Jonathon Swift’s piece A Modest Proposal. My audience is college students that range from all ages. My audience has read the piece. If my audience read the essay and took it literal there will be moral issues, ethical issues, and political issues come up. I was in shock when I first read the essay but after looking into it I understand it more. That is what I hope to accomplish with my essay. My audience should trust what I have said since I am a college student like them. My role as the writer is to summarize his essay and dig deeper into the meaning of Swift’s words and the essay as a whole. I want to accomplish this for when the audience reads A Modest Proposal again they can see it from Jonathon Swift’s point of view.

Crystal Jacobs
Donna Clifton
English Composition ENGL111
1/26/2013 First Draft
A Modest Proposal by Jonathon Swift
Starving Mothers and Children

“A Modest Proposal” by Jonathon Swift is a satirical essay. A satire is literary term meaning irony. The point of his essay was to show the lords of the land that something needs to be done about the economy. The author almost makes it seem like the economy is so terrible that drastic measures must be taken. Swift’s proposal is extreme and unethical, but is no meant to be taken literally. His proposal of having babies to feed to the public and stimulate the economy, is his proposal to the public, but is not the heart of the essay. His satire starts with him expressing what is to be seen walking down the streets. It is a melancholy object to 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 all importuning every passenger for an alms. (1) The author helps you envision the children begging for food or money.

Swift then starts to explain how his proposal with not only benefit the small families but the country as a whole. Swift’s proposal will hopefully decrease the number of abortions performed by poor mothers. Swift then figures the number of infants born in Ireland and asks what should be done with them.” …There only remain an hundred and twenty thousand children of poor parents annually born.” (18) He points out that they are unfit for any employment. They are even too young to steal. Merchants will not buy or sell children. Therefore, it seems like a good idea that the people of Ireland simply eat the infants when they reach the age of one year. Swift then tells the audience of how many people a small child will feed. He describes the best ways to cook them and what can be done with leftovers.

A friend of the author has already heard the proposal and suggested that children of fourteen be a potential food too. Swift does not like the idea and explains the fourteen year old boy’s meat is too lean and the girls may become mothers or “breeders” themselves. Swift lists six reasons why his proposal should be adopted as law. First, it would lessen the number of Papists “Catholics”. (80) Second, the poor will be able to start earning more money and help pay their rent. Third, there will be new profit and goods. Fourth, the mothers will not be burden with the upbringing of the children. Fifth, there will be a new and interesting cuisine.

The sixth reason is that mothers would become better mothers and nurturers to the infants. Men would become better caretakers of their wives. The only objection Swift sees is that the population would be diminished. Swift almost makes it seem like this may be a seventh reason in his proposal. “I can think of no one objection, that will possibly be raised against this proposal, unless it should be urged, that the number of people will be thereby much lessened in the kingdom.

This I freely own, and ‘twas indeed one principal design in offering it to the world.”(111) Swift concludes by saying first that he would welcome any other suggestions anyone may have on this question, then reassuring the reader that he has no personal interest in this idea because he has no children and therefore could not profit by selling them to be eaten. His satire, even though it was wrote in 1729, can still ring touch everyone in all countries today. The United States has a large population of homeless. There are children starving overseas. What is it going to take for leaders to help them? That is the true meaning behind this essay.

Works Cited
Swift, Jonathon. A Modest Proposal. Kindle Edition. 1729


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