A Modest Proposal PDF - Overview
A Modest Proposal For preventing the Children of Poor People From being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and For making them Beneficial to the Publick, is a Juvenalian satirical essay written and published anonymously by Jonathan Swift in 1729. The essay suggests that the impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food to rich gentlemen and ladies.
Swift’s essay of A Modest Proposal is widely held to be one of the greatest examples of sustained irony in the history of the English language. Much of its shock value derives from the fact that the first portion of the essay describes the plight of starving beggars in Ireland.
So that the reader is unprepared for the surprise of Swift’s solution when he states: “A young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout.