A Modest Proposal Questions and Answers
What is the purpose of "A Modest Proposal?" What is Swift trying to reform? Does he go too far in this essay?
In "A Modest Proposal," identify examples of understatement and exaggeration in paragraphs 17 and 19. What effect do these satirical devices have on the reader?
What are 3 examples of either sarcasm, hyperbole, or understatement in "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathon Swift?
Consider the additional proposal Swift mentions in paragraph 17 of "A Modest Proposal." Explain the rhetorical strategy at work in that paragraph.
Explain how these 5 alternate solutions can solve the problem. 1. taxing absentee residents 2. stopping imports 3. rejecting luxury that is needless 4. introducing and supporting temperance 5. learning to love the country
In A Modest Proposal, in the italicized section where Swift lists ideas, determine what is behind each separate idea, and then paraphrase each idea.
In "A Modest Proposal," why would Swift choose to have it be an American who first introduced the speaker to baby-eating? What stereotypes might we be seeing here about eighteenth-century Americans?
In "A Modest Proposal," near the end of the pamphlet, the speaker lists "other expedients" that might help lessen the present distress in Ireland. Why does the speaker brush aside his ideas for reform in favor of this horrible proposal?
The period from the late 1600s through the 1700s is known as the Enlightenment, a time when many writers promoted scientific reasoning as a means of solving social problems. Swift was often critical of such writers. How is this historical context reflected in "A Modest Proposal"?
Indicate Swift's motivational appeals, specifically those to thrift, economy, and patriotism in "A Modest Proposal." Explain the rhetorical strategy behind such appeals.
A Modest Proposal is an ironic essay: the author deliberately writes what he does not mean. What is the real thesis? Is there more then one?
In "A Modest Proposal," to what extent does Swift blame Ireland's plight on England, and to what extent does he blame Ireland's plight on the Irish?
In "A Modest Proposal," what contrasts and discrepancies are at the heart of Swift's ironic statement in paragraphs 9 and 10? Explain both the subtley an savagery of the satire in paragraph 12.
In "A Modest Proposal," what is the social issue or problem that Swift is commenting on and what is his satirical solution to the problem?
If Swift does not actually think the Irish people should eat their children, what does he think they should do?
From "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift, would a modern audience be more or less offended by Swift's proposal? Explain your reasoning.
Which targets does Swift ironically identify in paragraphs 21 and 22 of "A Modest Proposal"? By using such a method, what is Swift satirizing?
Discuss the relevance of "A Modest Proposal" in today's social and political reality, and possible future. Discuss some historical situations that posed similar problems about ends, means, and outcomes.
In what ways does Jonathan Swift concede some of the objections that could be raised against his proposal in "A Modest Proposal"?
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