Jonathan Swift was a master of Satire and heavy irony. Critics have noted that the “A Modest Proposal” is one of his greatest works and a masterpiece of ironic logic. A modest proposal was written when poverty and starvation were prevailing in Ireland.
The modest proposal is a satirical work ridiculing the state of Irish affairs during that time and exposing the misery and oppression the people faced from the English monarchy as well as absentee landlords. From Swift’s foreword, he argues that the modest proposal is meant to prevent young children from being a burden to their country and their parents, and for making these children beneficial to their country (Jonathan 61).
Swifts sets up his argument in various ways. First, the use of the title “The Modest Proposal” is quite satirical as the proposal he provides is eccentric and in no way modest. Swift intends to present a proposal that will solve the problem of poverty and starvation. Swift then describes the prevailing conditions by noting that the streets are covered with poor people most of them women having three to four children all seeking for help from strangers.
He engages the reader by asserting that everyone knows that these children begging for food shows the deplorable state of Ireland at the time. He then states that he has come up with a cheap and easy method of turning these children into profitable members of the state. He proposes that all children below a certain age be turned into food. This will not only stop starvation, but will also ensure that the number of poor people decreases putting less strain on the economy of the country (Jonathan 56).
Jonathan Swift meticulously plans the proposal by first presenting data supporting his argument. He first dehumanizes the children by referring to the aspect of child birth as damming much like in animal husbandry. He then gives several advantages why he thinks his plan will work. First, he notes that the plan will stop the act of abortion which he terms as a horrid practice. He then notes that there exist a large number of poor children expecting to be reared. Without food he argues that this is an impossible act.
He concludes by arguing that children under the age of twelve cannot contribute anything to the economy of the country let alone their parents. It is at this point he presents his proposal. He argues that these children who are seldom a result of marriage should be bred for slaughter. He humorously presents ideas on how to fatten up these one year olds so that they are fat and plump to offer a good meal for family and friends.
The main purpose for Swift’s proposal is to highlight and bring to light the state of Irish affairs especially the tragedy poor people were undergoing through. He ridicules several parties including politicians, Americans, the Spanish Empire, the English Monarchy and the absentee landlords. In the text, Swift intends to remind the Landlords and other parties involved that they have a humanitarian responsibility to their countrymen dying of hunger.
Swifts’ modern proposal can be very beneficial in the contemporary world. Looking at the educational department, I would like to offer my modest proposal on how to deal with violence in schools. In the past several years, the American educational system has been in a crisis due to increasing violence in schools.
The violence in schools has claimed many innocent lives and left many people in agony. Most of the perpetrators of this violence are either bullies or children who are emotional scarred by life. Due to the lack of enough funding for children psychologist in our schools and the lack of time by parents to listen to their children’s problems, I offer this proposal that will not only reduce violence in schools but also act as entertainment for the bored American population.
Having analyzed violence in schools and the age of children maturity I have thus reached to a conclusion that this plan will be better applied to children under the age of 14. Since we do not wish to utilize any more resources to identify troubled children, I propose that all children under the age of 14 be included in this plan.
This plan avails several extra advantages to the population. First, it will be an excellent addition to the entertainment industry that has become violence-oriented; secondly, it will make use of our constitutional right to bear arms as well as the easy access to guns in the streets; and finally, this proposal will weed out troubled children and bullies and in fact act as therapy that most schools, parents and the government are unwilling or unable to give.
Having noted the advantages I will thus entreat all to consider that all the children under the age of 14 will make very good participant in a gun shooting competition held by schools and coordinated by teachers.
The competition will be divided into preliminary rounds where in the first round, children are allowed to punch each other until one is knocked out. The second round will involve the use of stones and sticks to take down the opponent while the quarter finals and the semi finals will involve the use of baseball bats to incapacitate opponents.
The final round will be the main event and participants will use guns to incapacitate the opponents. You have to understand that death is not part of competition but should it happen it will just add to the gist of the competition. The competition will be carried out in school playgrounds and will be televised live to all corners of the country.
The competition in the primary rounds will enable children to express their frustrations and anger, and the losers will have learnt a lesson from the broken bones therefore not likely to participate in violence within the schools. Those tough enough to reach the quarters and semis will definitely have a permanent injury that will led them to cool down permanently in school. The lucky enough to reach the finals will most likely be of no future disturbance and survivals will have a fear for violence that will last a lifetime.
Apart from the therapeutic advantage, the competition will generate a lot of money to improve our schools and hire professional councilors for the survivors. Most of our public schools are unable to hire good councilors able to detect and deal with depression, emotional trauma and other problems affecting children.
The schools are also unequipped to ensure that illegal guns and other weapons do not enter their grounds. It is for this reason I proposed that the competition be televised and the rights for distribution given to television stations that have to pay the school some amount for each round. The school can then use money to improve the security precautions in the school as well as the hiring of enough qualified councilors.
The television broadcasts will also negate the need to watch violent movies that are continuous produced in studios rather; everyone will be supporting their children on television; a more exciting thing than watching false violence. Television broadcasts and movies have become too violent and most children are allowed to watch them.
The psychological effect on young children is enormous and the need for adult entertainment is corrupting our children. This proposal then seeks to use these children to entertain the adults and since the children will be fighting, they will not be exposed to violent TV shows.
It has occurred to me that some people of weak spirit and who lack the competitive spirit, may find this proposal concerning in nature. After much thought, I have come to a reasonable conclusion that the only way to eliminate school violence and ensure the safety of children lies in this competition.
I do hope everyone notes that I have presented a detail plan that will not only yield profit but also ensure that there is safety in school. I do not wish to consider alternative methods like hiring more school councilors; amending gun laws to reduce illegal guns at home and in the street; parents taking time to listen to their children problems; reducing violent television show and movies; or total integration in order to reduce discrimination and hate of those who are different.
I do not wish to listen to these remedies until there is hope that one day they will be instituted in our schools. I however wish to point out that I am in no way willing to be responsible in the direct application of this proposal. I only wish to present a valid proposal due to my moral obligation and the necessary bodies should seriously consider this proposal and find a way of applying it to our schools in order to curb violence in schools.
Jonathan Swift “A modest proposal” the Classical Journal 52: 219–220, 1729.