San Diego State University A Modest Proposal Question


Modest Proposal Essay

Swift writes A Modest Proposal as a biting satirical commentary on the treatment of Irish natives at the hands of the British colonies. He carefully develops his mock argument in grotesque detail. Your task will be to explain why Swift has chosen this medium for his political statement. Use historic and modern context to explain Swift’s rhetorical choices.

Writing Tasks:

Explain Swift’s decision to use satirical logic using these three terms of Toulmin’s Argument format

Claim (Something about his decision to tell a sick joke)

Warrant (A reason why satire is safer than a serious complaint)

Support (Some evidence or proof)

Discuss the intent of Swift in writing this

Who is his audience?

Why would he try to reach them by using a satirical argument?

How might his audience have reacted to this 18th century political commentary?

What is your reaction to this grotesquely written proposal?

How would their reaction differ if his argument was straightforward?

Find a modern context connection

What are some modern contextual examples that might parallel Swift’s clever means of social commentary?

How does your understanding of these modern satires influence your perception of Swift and the accomplishments of this text?

Reflect on the social/political value of satire in the media

Be sure to include some modern contextual examples.

3 Pages

Typed double-spaced

3 sources minimum

MLA formatted

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