Rhetorical analysis essay on a modest proposal

Rhetorical analysis essay on a modest proposal

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A Modest Proposal is a satirical pamphlet that examines the attitude of the rich towards the poor starving children in their society. Jonathan Swift uses a number of rhetorical devices effectively as he highlights his proposal. He uses logical fallacies, metaphors, repetition and parallelism as well as humor, sarcasm and satire tone to highlight these negative attitudes.
Jonathan swift begins by mocking and blaming the mothers of the children by telling them that they should engage or find themselves in working to earn an honest living instead of strolling to beg for alms. He also predicts tough future for these children that when they grow up they will turn to be thieves. This is simply because the parents did not train their children the modest way of life.
Swift uses logical fallacies to make his argument in ‘A Modest Proposal’. His way of argument and thinking is incorrect and lack validity in what is proposing. This is evident in this pamphlet on line 69 to 73, ‘that a young healthy Child well Nursed is at a year Old, a most 71 delicious, nourishing, and wholesome Food, whether Stewed, Roasted, 72 Baked, or Boyled, and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a Fricasie’. He notes down that a young healthy child is a delicious food to be roasted, stewed and boiled to be served and eaten. Secondly, he has computed twenty thousand children to be reserved for breeding. This dehumanizes the children to be like animals.
Jonathan swift uses emotional appeal in his argument by proposing slaughter houses to be erected or built in suitable places and butchers to be employed to do the work of slaughtering the children. He further exaggerates by saying that the children will be roasted like pigs. Jonathan knows clearly that this proposal will affect many because no person would want his or her child to be butchered. Beyond that, Swift captures the reader’s emotion on line 34 and 35 ‘prevent those voluntary Abortions, and that horrid practice of Women 35 murdering their Bastard Children’. This is a horrific behavior that is being opposed everywhere in this world.
Another rhetorical device that Jonathan Swift use in his work is irony. He says ‘I calculate there may be about two hundred thousand couple whose wives are breeders’ and ‘how this number shall be reared and provided for’. This suggestion is ironic because he compares women to animals. Also, this creates a good argument because human beings do not breed and cannot be reared. He therefore dehumanizes human beings and creates satire in this statement.
Jonathan swift in his scheme of supporting his argument, he is sarcastic that certain body parts of a child are good to eat. He further clarifies that in certain occasion, the body parts will be on demand. He further suggests that good and healthy children will be skinned and the skin will be used to make admirable gloves for ladies and summer boots for gentlemen. This idea is ridiculous to an extent that children will not only be a delicacy, but their body parts will be used to make ornaments. Secondly, he sarcastically suggests option to Ireland to counter its economic problems. Jonathan proposes that if the poor children can be food, this will create a good revenue to the country through exporting the surplus child’s flesh to the rich outside Ireland. Thirdly, Swift computes the selling price of one child to be ten shillings. This is recorded on line 103-105 ‘I believe no gentleman would repine to give Ten Shillings for the Carcass of a good fat child, which, as I have said will make four Dishes of excellent Nutritive Meat’. He proceeds and make fun of the mothers that they will get eight shillings profit to use until they will able produce another child.
Swift applies a sympathetic tone in his proposals, especially at the beginning. In paragraph two, he is requesting for amicable and a permanent solution to help these children from deplorable state they are living. He goes ahead to award anyone who will find cheap and easy method of making these children useful by building a statue in his or her memory. Jonathan’s tone is not constant in his recording of his proposals. He later changes to scary tone as he progresses to give his personal opinions about these children. For instance, he talks of butchering these children to be made delicious food and skinning of the children to make admirable gloves for ladies and summer boots for gentlemen. This tone shocks and creates fear for the reader.

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Rhetorical Analysis of “A Modest Proposal” Essay

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Since the first British colonization attempts of Ireland the island had been a place of tyrannical oppression and prejudicial mistreatment. This went on for centuries, with constant rebellion and resistance. In 1729 Jonathan Swift, an Irish clergyman living in England, denounced the cruel policies of England in a backwards manner. His use of verisimilitude in “A Modest Proposal exposes the corruption of British foreign policy towards the impoverished Irish people. He captures the minds and hearts of his audience, the British people, by posing a solution to apparent human issues of society, only to use ridiculously horrid ideas to show the true state of Irish treatment.

To earn the audience of the British people, Swift had to play their heartstrings, as well as set up a logical basis for progression. He describes what he aims to solve as issues that would be “agreed by all parties” to be “great additional grievance[s].” Among these issues he addressed homeless beggars, especially children, “voluntary Abortions,” and the prominent act of thievery among the impoverished youth. His focus on the youth and poor conditions of life would most likely have drawn in the public to consider what he would later propose, as they are issues that were prevalent and of dire need of solution. The human tie to the wellbeing of children would inspire the British people to want to help them in whatever way possible. He also supports his ideas by claiming that the children shall not be a “charge upon their Parents, or the Parish,” but be a benefit to society by “contribut[ing] to the Feeding and partly to the Clothing of many Thousands” of people. This proposal not only solves the problems, but does so inexpensively and with an increased benefit of providing for the other impoverished. This logical appeal would most likely have make his audience more likely listen to his idea, as it thus would have seemed to be a convenient solution with no yet apparent drawbacks.

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Juxtaposed within these statements Swift began to dehumanize the impoverished people, describing the women as “Dams,” generally a term to describe cattle or other female beasts, and “Breeders.” He slipped in these terms while stating the raw statistics of the cost of a child and the total number of impoverished children coming into Ireland annually. The use of terms of cattle during the hard facts gave Swift the ability to trick the people of Britain into considering, as was almost normal of the time, that these people were not actually people, but just a problem to be solved. By grabbing the attention of his audience and progressing to dehumanize the impoverished people of Ireland, Swift would potentially succeed in convincing, although he did not believe in it personally, that the people of Ireland were actually less than human.

He then progressed to address his actual proposal: that the homeless and impoverished children of Ireland would make a “most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome Food.” He stated various manners of how to prepare the child, when the best time for preparation would be, and even that their skin would “make admirable Gloves and Summer Boots.” The absolute horror of doing this to human children, which is murder, would then have most likely dawned on the audience. The fact that they now view them as humans, would show the hypocrisy in their previous less-than-human views of the Irish people.

Throughout the essay Swift addressed the lords and gentry specifically, having claimed that a child’s meat would be “very proper for Landlords, ” and their skin good in the application of “Gloves for Lady’s, and Summer Boots for fine Gentlemen.” His focus on the profitability of the proposal was also intended to be an appeal to the wealthy controlling power. Having their attention, he then stated that there should be no “other expedients” on top of the profit of such a system. He was referring to harsh taxes, limiting production and export, forbidding importation of luxury items, and mistreatment of workers and tenets by landlords. By juxtaposing, yet again, this hyperbole of the potential of eating children with the actual treatment of Ireland, saying that the former was the preferable of the two, he would most likely make the British people aware of the harshness of their polices and abuses. He made it very clear that he was speaking to the landlords and wealthy, then claimed that what they were doing was better than if they were eating their children. Such a claim is a harsh reality that would potentially have some reconsider their prejudice and ideals.

It is hardly likely that anyone would actually believe that someone would propose such dastardly actions as an honest proposal. By exaggerating the horrors of the ridiculous proposition of eating children he makes it obvious that he doesn’t truly believe the British should eat Irish children. He shows that what it means to be human is being destroyed by the practices of the British as it is, just as if they were consuming and murdering their children. By forcing the two things into a juxtaposed parallel, he shows that they are of the same horror and despicable nature.

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Rhetorical Analysis — A Modest Proposal

Jonathan Swift, author of “A Modest Proposal”, wrote of about the starving people of Ireland in the early 1700’s. The purpose of his argument is to raise awareness of the issue. Swift persuades his audience by proposing an extreme and unethical solution, in hopes that he will get others to start thinking about actual solutions.

Swift, a priest of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, creates positive ethos. He wrote the article because he cares about the poor and wants to see a solution. Swift wants others to be aware of the crisis. He assumes people value human life and care about the hungry and the poor. Swift assumes that his audience will be upset and bothered by his suggestion to sell and eat poor children. His intended audience is the people of Ireland. However, this issue is still prevalent today.

Swift uses emotional and ethical appeals to make his argument. By swift jokingly proposing that we eat the children he is appealing to paternal feelings. He knows that many will be emotionally affected by his suggestion because no one would want their own child to be someone’s’ dinner. Swift wanted to draw attention to the issue and he assumed most, if not all, would believe it is unethical to eat another human being. I believe he used illogical reasoning and showed no remorse in order to get peoples attention.

The language and style of his argument is probably why it is still popular today. Swift used descriptive language to make his argument effective. He not only suggests we eat children; he gave a detailed description. Also, his use of satire throughout the article made his argument more effective. I believe that without his use of satire his argument would not stand out like it does. His language and use of satire are what makes his argument so effective.

The purpose of this argument is to raise awareness about the poor starving people of Ireland. The author, Jonathan Swift, proposes an unreasonable solution to draw attention to the problem. With his use of satire, Swift hopes to get people thinking about alternative solutions that are more reasonable. Overall, Swift wants to see an end to the starving people in Ireland.