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What is the most famous quotation in Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal"? 

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cosmas999 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 17, 2009 at 2:58 AM via web

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What is the most famous quotation in Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal"?

 

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morrol | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted March 20, 2009 at 6:33 AM (Answer #1)

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Jonathan Swift was an Irish satirist who is famous for many quotations and works. One of his most famous quotes may be, "A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends; and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter." This quote is from "A Modest Proposal" a satire about eating children to solve the hunger problem. "Gulliver's Travels" is another work by swift with many famous quotes.

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ecofan74 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted July 22, 2009 at 8:55 AM (Answer #2)

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In “A Modest Proposal,” virtually every line of the entire text of the pamphlet is famous. One of the more interesting quotes is “I HAVE been assured by a very knowing American of my Acquaintance in London; that a young healthy Child, well nursed, is, at a Year old, a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome Food; whether Stewed, Roasted, Baked, or Boiled; and, I make no doubt, that it will equally serve in a Fricasie, or Ragoust.” What makes this statement interesting is it does more than many of the other parts of the pamphlet to “sell” the use of children as a source of food; it takes the cookbook approach to the whole idea. The italicization of words is very important for this statement. “Americans,” “London,” and the various forms of preparation are important to the implied meaning of this statement. Americans are seen as the epitome of the mercantile spirit and London is the epicenter of all trade in the British Isles. At the mention of them, the reader knows that Swift’s plan is not just a small scheme, as it involves the greatest trading center and one of the most mercantile of populations. Aside from “A Modest Proposal,” Jonathan Swift’s definition of satire is very famous – and quite revealing. “Satyr is a sort of glass through which everyone sees everyone else’s face but their own.” He goes on to suggest that this is the reason it meets with such a pleasant reception among readers.

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