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Summarize the 3rd and 4th selections in the satire "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift .

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aboud93 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted November 3, 2010 at 12:31 AM via web

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Summarize the 3rd and 4th selections in the satire "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift .

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 4, 2010 at 12:56 AM (Answer #1)

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I am not to sure which specific parts of this excellent essay you are referring to. Do you mean the third and fourth paragraphs? Perhaps your copy of this essay is broken down to structure your reading.

However, to give you a general summary that will hopefully guide you through this masterful satire, it is vital to realise the verbal irony. Swift is not actually seriously suggesting the slaughter and cooking of Irish babies to solve the famine problem! He is merely suggesting it in jest because by shocking his readers with such a suggestion he is trying to force them to do something about the situation in Ireland and their own attitudes towards the Irish.

In this pamphlet, then, Swift makes an outrageous proposal that he ironically calls "modest." He suggests that Irish babies be slaughtered and sold to the gentry as food as a way of relieving their parents of a financial burden while adding variety to the diet of the nobility.

Swift offers six reasons for making the proposal:

1. It would greatly reduce the number of Roman Catholics.

2. Landlords could seize the Irish children instead of rent.

3. The nation would save the money that would have been spent on upkeep of the children.

4. Parents would not have to support their children.

5. Taverns would enjoy a growth in their business with the added attraction of a new dish.

6. The plan would create an incentive to marry and for wives to get pregnant. Wives would be treated better whilst pregnant, just as livestock is.

Hopefully this outline will help you to gain an understanding of this excellent essay and follow Swift's arguments. Good luck and enjoy!

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