Which Characteristics Of Satire Are Evident In “A Modest Proposal”?

Updated 9 November, 2023
The characteristics of satire are evident in "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift. The author is making fun of the way people think and act. He uses irony, sarcasm, and exaggeration to make his point.
Detailed answer:

In Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal," the characteristics of satire are evident in the way he addresses the reader and his tone. Swift's use of sarcasm, puns, and hyperbole makes it clear that he is not being completely serious as he proposes eating children to solve Ireland's overpopulation problem. The fact that he is writing under a pseudonym (which was not revealed until after his death), adds to this effect because it makes it seem like Swift is not really making such a radical suggestion but rather mocking those who would take such a suggestion seriously.

The characteristics of satire include:

1. A sarcastic tone, as in the opening sentence: "It is a melancholy object to those who walk through this great town."
2. A mocking tone, as in the phrase "big-bellied" to describe the wealthy landlords who don't care about the poverty of their tenants.
3. The use of hyperbole or exaggeration (such as when Swift talks about babies being eaten "as hasty-pudding").
4. The use of irony and sarcasm (when Swift says that he will give his proposal "to every person of honour or character that shall happen to be at any tavern or coffee-house I shall frequent"), because he knows that no one will take it seriously enough to implement it—and even if they did, no one would listen to him anyway because they think he's crazy and might poison them with arsenic!

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