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In the modest proposal, Jonathan Swift tries to make a proposition that would help solve the problem of starvation in Ireland. Jonathan noted that thousand of poor children starved to death. Jonathan suggested that wealthy Englishmen could agree to feed those children and put them in comfortable and warm places. After they fattened, people could kill them and have them as their meal. He considered this as a solution for everyone because it could prevent children from starving and save the nation the headache of poverty. This paper critiques paragraph twenty-one to twenty-six of the modest proposal by Jonathan Swift.


Though Jonathan Swift was not serious, he used satire in his work to make a point. In the twenty-first paragraph, Swift states that he has already observed that the act would lessen the number of papists, who form the key breeders of the nation as well as the most dangerous enemies of the citizens of Ireland. Swift has a view that fattening the children and slaughtering them would reduce the number of the generation of the poor people whose main work involves giving birth to children, yet they do nothing to feed them. Because of that, they stay at home doing nothing waiting to beg, mug and reap from the hardworking people of the Ireland nation, some of whom have got out of the country, for financial stability (Swift).

In the twenty-second paragraph, Swift states that the poorer tenants might have something valuable of their own. By this, he meant that the poor people could file a suit for compensation that would enable them to get money to cater for their basic needs. To Swift, the feeding and killing of the poor children may attract some form of compensation that may help their parents get their basic needs instead of struggling to provide nothing for their children because of their poverty.  To Swift, the parents could be better off by accepting the killing of their children in order to get petty funds that can cater for their basic needs like shelter and food. This presents an unethical standard.

Swift suggests that the practice would offer an economic gain for the country because maintaining the children proves expensive. To him killing them and having them, as food would increase the stock of the country together with an added advantage of a new food. By doing this, Swift argues that the money spent on maintaining the children would circulate among the few people in the country. Swift creates a perspective that shows the children as liabilities who cost the country more money. Swift presents a shallow perspective because the money used on feeding the children so that they become fat exceeds the money spent on maintaining them because, the state spends nothing on maintain the children rather their parents do (Swift).

In the twenty-fourth paragraph, Swift suggests that the parents would eliminate the cost of maintaining them from two years onwards. Swift presents an unrealistic suggestion. The eight shillings sterling per annum that the parents would get when they sell their children cannot serve their needs even for a week. Swift fails to measure the eight shillings sterling per annum against the pain of losing a child. Swift resents a perspective that shows that poor parents value money than their children, which does not present a fact.

In the twenty-fifth paragraph, Swift likens the poor starving children to an investment opportunity that wealthy Englishmen should consider. To him, poor parent will ensure that they breed children and make them attractive so that men will frequent their houses to buy the children, after which skilful cooks will cook them, and sell them at high prices. This contradicts his first statement. The proposal should help the country to do away with poor starving children. Yet he presents a view that encourages the poor to continue breeding for the sake of food and money. He fails to understand that people may not like the new food and may not serve his purpose (Swift).

In the twenty-sixth paragraph, Swift states that the practice will act as an inducement to marriages, because it will make mothers, provide more care and tenderness towards their children because they will see them as a profit rather than an expense. He states that men will offer help to their when pregnant. The argument that Swift creates an argument that carries no truth. Mothers cannot take immense care of their children before and after birth to make them fat for sale, when they lack money for their own food. Besides that, if they decide to sell the children, the money that they will obtain cannot run them for the period that covers another pregnancy. For Swift, marriage would mean an investment for eight shillings sterling per annum. People cannot just breed children to sell them for food. If they have food problem, then they should start eating their children instead of selling them.


Jonathan Swift presented an unrealistic proposal that does not help Ireland to solve the problem of poverty and starvation, permanently. His proposal gives more food to those who have food and makes those who starve, breeding brats, who will continue suffering, just to please the rich with more food. Swift does not offer any solution for the poor because the eight-shilling sterling will not help them in any way. It does not make sense how a person can trade her pain for the loss of a child for eight shillings sterling per annum, to provide expensive food for other that she cannot afford.

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