In Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal," what bias does the speaker of this essay reveal?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In his "Modest Proposal," Jonathan Swift directs his biting satire at the government of the English in Ireland, the English and Irish businessmen, and anyone else who acts in a way that is harmful to the Irish poor. In his essay, for instance, Swift writes,

I am assured by our merchants, that a boy or girl, before twelve years old, is no saleable age, they will no yield above three pounds, or three pounds a crown and a half, at the most.

In addition, Swift satirizes Protestants' in their desire to get rid of Catholics, while at the same time he mocks Catholics for conceiving so many children during Lent, a time when people should practice abstinence.  Clearly, Swift exhibits a bias that Catholics are having too many children since the number of "popish" infants is nearly three-to-one in on the island.  By eating the Catholic infants' flesh, Swift suggests that the population of the Catholics will be reduced. 

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favoritethings | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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The speaker of this essay further reveals his bias against Catholics when he discusses the fact that so many are seen to be begging on the streets of Ireland as a result of their parents' inability to support such large families.  He continues, 

But my intention is very far from being confined to provide only for the children of professed beggars; it is of a much greater extent, and shall take in the whole number of infants at a certain age who are born of parents in effect as little able to support them as those who demand our charity in the streets.

He feels that Catholic parents have families that are too numerous—so numerous, in fact, that the parents are unable to support them even when the parents are not beggars.  He even goes so far as to compare Catholic children to animals, as though mothers give birth to litters and both mother and offspring are valuable in the same way that livestock are.  To this end, the narrator says, 

I rather recommend buying the children alive, and dressing them hot from the knife, as we do roasting pigs.

For him, the Catholics and the pigs are so similar as to warrant such a comparison of how to best prepare their "meat."

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