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Word Count: 538
Irony in A Modest Proposal The pamphlet by Jonathan Swift originally titled A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public starts out as an absurd attempt at solving the poverty and famine problem in Ireland The proposal solves the problem but is in complete conflict with our ethical and moral values However his proposal is not to be taken literally and is actually part of a much bigger plan This is where Swifts irony comes into play The use of irony in Jonathan Swifts pamphlet makes his statement very powerful In his pamphlet Jonathan Swift proposes that poor beggar mothers should sell their children when they have turned one year old He figures these children have no future except to live the lives of their beggar parent or to become thieves Rather then being a burden on society and their breeders their mothers they will be made useful as a form of nourishment and as a source of income for their parents This will in-turn provide more jobs for butchers and cooks which will get the beggars off of the streets Swift however is not seriously considering this as a possible solution to the problem in his motherland Ireland He is using the irony and the extremity of the solution to illustrate how grave the real problem is Placing the blame on the beggar children for the poor conditions in Ireland is one way Swift uses irony In reality the problem lies with the rich English landowners This is portrayed in a very powerfully ironic statement I grant this food will be somewhat dear and therefore very proper for landlords who as they have already devoured most of the parents seem to have the best title to the children They have taken everything from these once prosperous people and have left them with nothing
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