Why does Swift use satire to express his main idea in "A Modest Proposal"?
1 Answer | Add Yours
There are several reasons why Jonathan Swift favours satire as a stylistic device in “A Modest Proposal” and several of his other works. The first is that it can be much more entertaining than a straightforward recitation of facts and statistics. The next is that the satire – the very idea that people might be so driven and desperate by hunger as to sell their children – makes the point vivid in a concrete way. The final reason, and I expect the most important, is that satire is the literary equivalent of the philosophical and rhetorical genre of reductio ad absurdum. Swift takes a common assumption of his period, namely that if the Irish were just more enterprising they could feed themselves, and shows how it leads to absurd or impossible consequences.
Join to answer this question
Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.Join eNotes