A Reaction to Inaction: Jonathan Swift's 'A Modest Proposal'
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The paper is a satirical review of Jonathan Swift's novel describing the attitudes of the English gentry towards the Irish citizens. The paper extrapolates the author's thoughts on solutions to Ireland's problems concentrating on the harsh impositions on the Irish peasants. Historically the Irish have been oppressed by the English and the author dwells on this theme throughout the paper. The paper concludes that the book was written to point out the economic and social problems facing the Irish and that it was time for serious examination and change.
From the Paper:"As to Swift's personal feelings towards the poor, we can only assume that he felt compassion. Some critics chose to see this compassion in a different light: "...he mentions that it is a melancholy object for him, having to see homeless people every day, or for the beggars' lifestyle. Upon first reading this, one may be led to believe that Swift is a compassionate writer attempting to feel the pain of the beggars. But as the story continues, a reader can look back and note that he is using a sarcastic tone and the only sad sight that he sees is the fact that people of his status have to deal with commoner" (studyworld.com). Swift makes no mention of not having compassion for the poor; even in the pompous voice that he used in the essay, the poor were still pitied to the point that cannibalism was seen as an alternative to aide in their plight. I think that Swift was trying to point out that not enough people in positions of power had compassion for the Irish and the situation that they found themselves in. There were too many poor to ignore the burgeoning situation, yet there were too few elites who were willing to take a stand on the social injustice and try to do anything about the atrocities that they saw."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Cooper, Catherine. "Satire in the Works of Swift and Gay". "The People of Ireland in the 1700's". Available: ccma.ca.
- Swift, Jonathan. "A Modest Proposal". The Longman Anthology of British Literature.Ed. David Damrosch. New York: Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers, Inc,
Cite this Book Review:
A Reaction to Inaction: Jonathan Swift's 'A Modest Proposal' (2008, June 17) Retrieved September 25, 2023, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/a-reaction-to-inaction-jonathan-swift-a-modest-proposal-104505/
"A Reaction to Inaction: Jonathan Swift's 'A Modest Proposal'" 17 June 2008. Web. 25 September. 2023. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/a-reaction-to-inaction-jonathan-swift-a-modest-proposal-104505/>