I have an English satirical essay to write, yet, I have no clue what I should write about or how I should write it. I hope you can assist me. Thanks!I have to write a proposal, a proposal of our...

I have an English satirical essay to write, yet, I have no clue what I should write about or how I should write it. I hope you can assist me.


I have to write a proposal, a proposal of our own thoughts or ideas. Something like the idea in "A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift". I will be assessed in the followings:


  1. Choice of problem/solution
  2. Title/Subtitle
  3. Opening paragraphs/statement of thesis
  4. Statistics/experts
  5. Listing of benefits
  6. Concluding paragraph/absolution
  7. Overall tone and style of writing



Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Besides Jonathan Swift, another great English satirist is Oscar Wilde.  So, in order to generate some ideas for your satire, you may wish to search out some of Wilde's more famous quotes that suggest some outrageous solution to a problem as the previous poster has suggested.

Also, search through news items and see if they have any potential for satire.  What about the recent controversy over the costumes of the Russian skaters who participated in the dancing on ice?  They were dressed as Aborigines and some native Australians took exception to certain aspects of the routine as well as the costumes.  Perhaps, you can suggest what can be done to prevent offending any ethnic or cultural group in the next Olympics.  (Remember if you think what happened is a little cared away, then your satire makes things even more carried away.)

As you may recall, George Orwell satirized political correctness in his novel "1984" as he had characters use doublespeak and newspeak.  So, another idea is to satirize our society's supreme efforts to be careful not to say anything that can be misconstrued as offensive to any group in order to not end up on the news or in the unemployment line. So, a guidebook can be published for people, or something that is extreme. 

A controversial group is the PITA organization that has saved lobsters from the restaurants.  One woman drove a lobster over a hundred miles to return it to Maine.  If you think this is rather excessive, you could satirize this, suggesting that flies and mosquitoes that are lost are returned to their place of birth--or something as preposterous.

Talk with older people who are aware of the social changes in this country; they can provide good ideas.

itsmrd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A satire ridicules certain behaviors or attitudes in society. In Swift's case, he was mocking the condescending attitude of English society of his time regarding the problem of dealing with poor Irish families and their children. The British are known historically for a sense of superiority (feeling they are better than others).

Your assignment has to be an idea that works for you, but look for a current problem and propose an outrageous solution for the problem (such as Swift's proposal that the rich eat the poor Irish children to reduce the burden on society). Try to include some real life statistics or opinions on the issue and then exaggerate the solution. One example might be illegal immigration from Mexico. Some have proposed ideas like building a giant wall along the entire border or rounding up all illegal immigrants, putting them on buses, and dumping them across the border. Not very practical solutions, but you might come up with something even more over the top.

scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The key to writing your modern "Modest Proposal" is to make sure that your solution is shocking enough to come across as satire.  In the past, one of my students wrote an effective proposal which mandated liposuction for all of the obese people in the country so that their suctioned fat could be turned into fuel for vehicles.  This was my student's solution to obesity in America and to alternative fuels!

To find ideas for your solution, you might consider visiting The Onion's website.  I've included a link below.  The Onion is a farcical/satirical news site and would provide you with some great topic ideas.

Swift sets up an excellent structure in his proposal; so I would simply follow his order of establishing the problem and then listing a point-by-point solution to the problem.  Good luck!

Wiggin42 | Student

Pick a problem that appeals to you. This can be a problem in society at large, your community, or even your school. Then think about some sarcastic solutions. Think about some serious solutions. Figure out how your sarcastic solutions can illuminate your serious solutions. Write a couple drafts. Read some satire pieces. Edit, edit, edit!

Read the study guide:
A Modest Proposal

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