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How do you write a Modest Proposal?have to make my own Modest Proposal, modeled after...

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apu99992 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 22, 2011 at 12:06 PM via web

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How do you write a Modest Proposal?

have to make my own Modest Proposal, modeled after Swift's, for an AP English class, and after days and days of research I still have no clue what to write about. Every problem I've looked at seems to be far too intricate to solve with an "outrageous" solution similar to the one Swift uses. So far I've looked at:

State Pension Shortfalls in the United States
Federal health care spending
Federal entitlement spending
Global Warming (Methane is nowhere near as important as C02)
The Unsustainable Welfare States or France or Britain
Income Inequality in the US
Homelessness (not to much in detail though)

From the original proposal, it seems like every "modest" solution must: 1) criticize something through satire, 2) be entirely unfeasible, and 3) completely solve the problem it addresses. None of the above topics however allow for such a solution, and I haven't found a single one yet which does.

For anyone who wrote a Modest Proposal, what issues or types of issues would you suggest examining? I want to use political or economic problems, but they don't seem to work very well. Would it be easier to solve a social issue (i.e. poverty, homelessness, gay marriage, and illegal immigration)? I'd appreciate any anwers.

2 Answers | Add Yours

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ms-charleston-yawp | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted April 25, 2011 at 5:11 PM (Answer #2)

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Just off the cuff, ... how about the requirement of all citizens of the United States (is it limited to our country?) to live like the Old Order Amish in order to prevent Global Warming.  No electricity.  No cars.  No gas-powered machines.  Battery power only.  No burning of coal.  Bring us back to the 1700s with one law.  Awesome!  People would be force to become farmers, drive a horse and buggy, play games for entertainment besides a Wii, ... learn to talk again without all of this darn technology! [One of my best friends is Old Order Amish and, I'm tellin' ya', it's not a bad way to live!  Happy people, they are!]

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 25, 2011 at 7:50 PM (Answer #3)

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I think a lot of your problems could be addressed through a satire like Swift's and I think you could fulfill all three of your criteria.  For example:

How about killing everyone once they reach retirement age or maybe after they have a nice 5 year retirement?  That would solve all the problems of the state pension funds, wouldn't it?  If you have people living only a short while after they retire, your problem is solved completely.  And the solution seems pretty infeasible to me.  This solution also shows something about the problem.  It criticizes the idea that people can just have these long and luxurious retirements that are funded by the taxpayers.

Or for income inequality, how about taking 100% of everyone's earnings and then redistributing the money equally to everyone?  Once again, no more income inequality.  Once again, totally infeasible.  This one criticizes people who think that we can end income inequality through government action.

So I think that you need to just think of outrageous ideas like these and the one in the previous post about living in an Amish paradise.  That's pretty much what Swift did, right?

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