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In "A Modest Proposal", why does Swift seperate himself from the narrator at...

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ginger12 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted November 18, 2008 at 2:27 PM via web

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In "A Modest Proposal", why does Swift seperate himself from the narrator at the end?

How would his readers view it differently if he had not done so?

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teacherscribe | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted November 18, 2008 at 10:57 PM (Answer #1)

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Swift separates himself from the narrator to emphasize the irony inherent in the satire. Swift creates a fictional narrator who appears to be a hardened, ruthless economic expert intent on using kids to supplement the diet of the starving Irish population. However, at the end, Swift abandons this narrator because he no longer wants to use the 'eat poor kids' rationale. By now he should have effectively shocked and angered his audience into listening to him. At the end, he returns to topics that he has formerly brought up to the leaders of the country (such as affordable housing, using Ireland's own natural resources instead of importing from England, teaching their farmers how to farm effectively, getting rid of the absentee landlords, and so on). All of those are rational solutions to Ireland's plight. However, no one listened to those. So he concocted this cruel and efficient narrator to propose an extreme solution. By reminding his readers that he is not really supporting eating innocent children, he hopes to make them take his rational solutions more seriously.

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