Interpretation of "A Modest Proposal".
"A Modest Proposal" was a satirical essay written by Jonathan Swift depicting the horrific conditions of Ireland and the lives of the Irish people in 1729. The author portrays and attacks the cruel and unjust oppression of Ireland by its oppressor, the mighty English and ridicules the Irish people at the same time. However, Swift's opposition is indirectly presented. Jonathan Swift is able to do so by using the persona, irony, and wit in order to expose the remarkable corruption and degradation of the Irish people, and at the same time present them with practicable solutions to their unscrupulous and pathetic lives. The author uses a satire to accomplish his objective not only because he is able to conceal his true identity but also because it is the most effective way to awake the people of Ireland into seeing their own depravity.
Swift creates a fictional persona because by hiding his true identity he is able to convince the readers of the significance of Ireland's problem and allow them to see truth and reality. The persona is a concerned Irishman who is very intelligent, sound, and serious. He appears to be a brute and a monster for proposing something evil and immoral very calmly as if it is normal to consume the flesh of another human being. What makes his proposal to be even more depraved is that he proposes to eat the babies. The persona declares, "and at exactly at one year old that I propose to provide for them, in a such a manner as, instead of being a charge upon their parents, or the parish, or wanting food and raiment for the rest of their lives, they shall, on the contrary, contribute to the feeding and partly to the clothing of many thousands" (2467). The persona justifies his proposal with numerous reasons. Besides the prevention of voluntary abortions and infanticide, it will also prevent the loss of money for maintenance of children and the abuse of women and children.