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Word Count: 1,497
Swifts A Modest Proposal in which he suggests that the problem of Irish poverty can be solved by the sale of the children of the poor for consumption is above all things a criticism of human faults extremism of thinking greed pride hypocrisy intolerance and insensitivity His use of ireony is evident even in the title the idea that not only should poor Irish children be eaten but that they should be bred for eating is certainly anything but modest Swifts plan is that through irony sarcasm and exaggeration the reader will recognize those faults which may not seem so obvious in their more mild forms In Swifts criticism of extremist thinking he switches back and forth throughout the text between two different methods of thinking one is purely emotional the other is purely rational The faulty logic is obvious in comparisons between the conclusions that both methods reach For example the reasonable thinker in his discussion of the breeding of the children who are to be consumed assumes that the mother has no emotional attachment to her children and would be happy to give them up to be slaughtered for the profit And yet the emotional thinker says that those mothers who abort their children do so for emotional reasons namely shame It follows then that those who give birth to their bastards must feel enough love for them to raise them in spite of whatever shame they may feel Also the emotional narrator describes begging as dishonest whereas the rational thinker uses the term lawful to describe it In this way Swift shows how the two thinkers reach opposite conclusions neither of which tell the whole story or are entirely accurate The reasonable thinker is also so simple as to believe that because he is supported by so many experts who he keeps claiming he has consulted that his ideas are justified The only paragraph in which both methods of thinking are combined
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