What does Swift mean when he refers to women as breeders in "A Modest Proposal"?
1 Answer | Add Yours
Diction is a key element in Jonathan Swift's satirical essay "A Modest Proposal." The speaker of the essay proposes that a possible solution to over-crowding and poverty would be to 'harvest' the excess children of poorer families and use them for food. In the context of the essay, Swift refers to the potentially pregnant women as "breeders," his diction naturally reinforcing his persuasive stance that women could be used as breeding livestock. Swift's diction in this essay remains carefully neutral with a scientific, impartial tone; by using terms like "breeders," the speaker neutralizes or removes the human element from the argument, making the discussion seem like it is more about livestock than actual human beings.
Join to answer this question
Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.Join eNotes