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Jonathan Swift

This extract from Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”, is an ironical attempt to "find out a fair, cheap, and easy method" for converting the starving children of Ireland into "useful members of the Commonwealth." Across the country poor children are living in squalor because their families are too poor to keep them fed and clothed, and so they are forced to live like beggers or thieves.

The author, as he himself said, found a way to turn this problem into its own solution. His proposal, in effect, is to fatten up these poor undernourished children and feed them to Ireland's rich and important people. Children of the poor could be sold into a meat market at the age of one, he argues, combating unemployment and contributing to the economic well-being of the nation. The author offers statistical support for his assertions and gives specific data to make his “modest proposal” more credible. His conclusion is that his project is the more suitable ever proposed, and it will undoubtly solve Ireland's complex social, political, and economic problems. His satirical attempt is well-marked, and it seems evident that Swift only wanted to befool Irish people rather than eat children, indeed.
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