A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift

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In what ways does Jonathan Swift support his argument in "A Modest Proposal"?

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Jennings Williamson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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It's important to remember that the argument that the poor Irish sell their babies as a new food source to the wealthy English is not Swift's argument but his unnamed narrator's (who we can think of as a character or, at least, a persona, though not Swift himself). This narrator uses pathos and logos, two of Aristotle's three modes of persuasion, to make his argument. He begins with pathos, detailing the sad sight of Irish beggars in need:

It is a melancholy object to those, who walk through this great town, or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads and cabbin-doors crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags, and importuning every passenger for an alms. These mothers instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in stroling to beg sustenance for their helpless infants [...].

I've bolded all the words that seem designed to elicit our sympathies and tug at our heartstrings. The...

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