Satire is a form of literature that aims to critique or point out the flaws in society, usually through humor. The author usually presents an overblown version of something that is actually happening in real life, but that the reader might not have noticed before.
In his essay, Jonathan Swift makes it clear that he believes that there is a problem in Ireland: too many children are being born into poverty. He states that "it is a melancholy Object to those who walk through this great Town or travel in the Country, when they see the Streets, the Roads and Cabbin-doors crowded with Beggars of the female Sex, followed by three, four or six Children, all in Rags…" (Swift 6). He goes on to say that these people are starving because there isn't enough food for everyone. He then proposes a solution: selling these babies for food!
This proposal is ironic because it makes light of a serious problem. It's not really "A Modest Proposal" at all. It's a way to make you think about the situation we're in, and how people react when they're faced with it. It also highlights how callous many people were in their attitudes toward poverty and hunger at this time: babies were treated as commodities rather than human beings who deserved compassion and support.
"A Modest Proposal" is an effective satire because it uses humor to make a serious point about the poor state of the Irish economy at that time. It also uses sarcasm to make its point, and this makes it more effective than if its author had simply stated his opinion
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