A Modest Proposal

by: Jonathan Swift

Suggested Essay Topics

Where do you detect differences between the "proposer" and Swift himself?

If Swift does not actually think the Irish people should eat their children, what does he think they should do?

Who is the audience of this work?

Who will be the beneficiaries of this "Modest Proposal"?

When did it first become apparent to you that Swift's proposal was not serious? How did you respond?

What relevance does A Modest Proposal have for contemporary social and political issues? Can you think of historical situations that pose similar problems about ends and means?

Write a persuasive essay of your own that uses some of Swift's rhetorical strategies (adopt a persona, for example, or profess opinions that you do not hold as a way of strengthening your real arguments.)