“A Modest Proposal” is definitely one of my favorite pieces from Jonathon Swift. The theme of the lower class beggars in Ireland is not something read about everyday, therefore it was shocking, yet sarcastic and interesting to read. I had trouble understanding Swift’s personal stance on the issue because he was extremely serious and then very sarcastic about the stance on beggars and lower class issues. Then I realized it is up to me to read this piece the way I want because Swift doesn’t take a stance throughout the entire piece. People become de-humanized into numbers and parts of a much bigger picture. Nothing is personal and all economical stances happen in variances.
One thing I did find very interesting was his investigation on abortion and materialistic properties of it. Swift states: “It is true a Child, just dropt from it’s Dam, 5 may be supported by her Milk, for a Solar year with little other Nourishment, at most not above the Value of two Shillings,” implying that in the infant stages, children need barely nothing from the mother. He talks about how these infants turn into bigger problems of the lower classes and how they become beggars and stealers. In paragraph six Swift completely dehumanizes the masses of people he is referring to and turns them into economical figures. He jokes that a certain amount of offspring should be kept to continue humanity and reproduce, while the rest should be fattened up and sold across the nation as a delicious delicacy—“ that a young healthy Child well Nursed is at a year Old, a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome Food, whether Stewed, Roasted, Baked, or Boyled, and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a Fricasie, or Ragoust.” Swift proceeds to joke about infants flesh being the most tasteful during March. This ironic and satirically eye-opening experience he is talking about, would not be considered in today’s world as morally acceptable. There are many things we joke about and I find this hilarious but everyone with a religious background will recognize that eating children is not tolerable but his language and economical stance is rather appetizing.
In a world where many struggle financially, this piece could be taken in different ways depending on sense of humor, mental stability, and background. Swift’s work epitomizes personal gain, which is very interesting to most people. The selfish tendencies of the world make people do insane things to one another. Although Swift is joking it is interesting and funny to most to see the ironically hilarious tone portrayed throughout time. I really enjoyed this piece but could see how many people would take offense to this in today’s age.