A Modest Proposal Questions and Answers
by Jonathan Swift

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What are some examples of hyperbole in "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift?

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Most readers would agree that Swift's satirical piece is hyperbolic in the sense that it is premised on showing a persona that is an exaggerated example of cruelty and hypocrisy. The speaker, under the guise of alleviating poverty, recommends cannibalism as the solution. But within this broad hyperbole we can find Swift using incidental extensions of "logic" that provide an underpinning of his overall satiric intent.

Take, for instance, the description of "an American" friend who has provided the speaker with information about preparing humans for consumption. This gives us a general idea, though within a comical context, of the reputation "Americans" still had in the early eighteenth century for being uncivilized, veritable "savages." But it's hyperbolic. (Hopefully Swift knew that Americans were not really like this, even at that time.)

Another example of exaggeration is the speaker's obsessiveness. This is what Swift intends as a parody of science: the speaker is overly methodical about...

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