The paper "A Modest Proposal by Jonathon Swift" is an outstanding example of a book review on a social science. Jonathan Swift’ s essay ‘ A Modest Proposal’ is replete with raw power that comes out effectively employed satire. Though it could be easier to dismiss his advice to the Irish to eat their own children as an extreme case of misanthropy, a careful reading will reveal how logical and convincing Swift’ s arguments are. The so-called modest proposal is given after considerable analysis of the general condition of poverty prevalent in Ireland, and the way in which children have become, in realistic terms, a burden to families.
It is only in paragraph nine that Swift proposes that it would be a better idea for the Irish to eat their own children since an American friend has assured him that a one-year-old, well-nourished infant is “ a most delicious, nourishing and wholesome food” . The essay provides many supporting arguments afterward, often with digressions that are but a way of making the arguments satiric. The very tone of the essay, which imitates serious discourses that substantiate points of view in a systematic manner, is satiric to the core since the proposal itself is revealingly hilarious if the readers are unnecessarily shocked by it.
However, the issue remains serious to the core, as Swift sheds the socio-politico-cultural ethos of Ireland at his time. The last parts where he provides ample reasons to carry out his proposal reveal the family system, lack of concern for the poor, the wide gap between the haves and have-nots, the unnecessary allegiance to the English crown and so on.
The essay ends on a hilarious note, where Swift mentions how he does not have any vested interest in the project and has put it forward just in order to make sure that Ireland progresses on its own. Though the essay could be considered relevant to the time and place in which it was written, it has its significance across time and space. A mature reader can see beyond its outwardly shocking elements and identify true satirical elements that rise up to the scope of the genre – of criticizing individuals and establishments in order to bring in positive changes in the society.