A Modest Proposal Questions and Answers
by Jonathan Swift

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

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The full title of the satirical essay "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift is "A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public." His proposal of selling children from impoverished Irish families to wealthy noble men and women to be used as food is, of course, ludicrous. However, in the essay, he treats the subject as if it is a perfectly logical proposition and supports his position with pseudo-rational arguments.

Swift first writes that it is annoying, or "melancholy," for people walking or traveling to see women and sometimes men with hordes of children begging for their sustenance from passers-by, so a person who finds a cheap and easy solution to this problem should be commended. His solution, he insists, will solve the problem not only of beggar children, but of all children whose parents are not able to support them. It would also prevent abortions.

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