A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift

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From "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift, would a modern audience be more or less offended by Swift's proposal? Explain your reasoning.

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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For some reason, people today seem to be more ready to take offense. Social media, especially Twitter, encourages a kind of mob mentality, whereby seemingly uncontroversial statements can often spark an instant backlash by those who, for whatever reason, find them offensive. That being the case, I'm fairly certain that, in this day and age, A Modest Proposal would cause an uproar among certain segments of the general public.

Even many of those who accept that Swift's work is a piece of satire might still find his Proposal to be somewhat overstated and in incredibly bad taste. It could reasonably be pointed out that Swift is mocking not just the British for their exploitation and neglect of the Irish, but also the Irish people themselves. Swift could often be scathing of his fellow countrymen, chiding them for what he saw as their laziness and inability to diversify the economy. To modern sensibilities, this might look disturbingly like blaming the victims for their own misfortune.

Worse still,...

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Daija Abshire eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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