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									“A Modest Proposal” (Rev. F’08)

Name ____________________________________________ Period _______ Date __________

1. In which paragraph does Swift finally tell us his proposal? Why do you think he waits so
   long? What are the basic premises (include things like guidelines for age)?

2. Why does the narrator think the food he proposes to be “very proper for landlords”? What
   issue is he trying to comment with these references?

3. Satire can be defined as “making fun of something, which is ordinarily considered serious.”
   What is the object of satire in this essay? In other words, what is the social issue he is trying
   to address?

4. How does Swift use pathos, ethos, and logos to assist his satire? How do the tone and use of
   statistics contribute to the satire?

5. Make a list of the social problems in Ireland that Swift exposes through his satire.

6. Satire makes extensive use of irony and sarcasm. Explain how the following passage assists
   Swift in his real objective: “Men would become as fond of their wives during the time of
   pregnancy as they are now of their mares in foal, . . . .”

7. What, according to Swift, are the six principal advantages of his solution? How are they
   presented and why?

8. Swift does offer “serious” solutions to the problems of life in Ireland near the end of his
   essay. List the three that you think are the most important. How are they introduced? Why
   are they mentioned in this manner?
“A Modest Proposal” (Rev. F’08)

9. A good satire makes some hard-hitting charges. Cite the lines and explain how the following
   “targets” are struck. What is he saying about these groups?

    a. The landlords

    b. The clergy

    c. English (people from England)

    d. Politicians

    e. Americans

10. In case the reader misses the point, a satire sometimes finishes with a disclaimer (a statement
    to the effect that the idea applies to everyone but the author). What is the disclaimer here?

11. How is the title used in this satirical piece?

12. Break the article down into the different parts. There are four major sections. Fill out the
    outline. The last one is filled out for you.

    IV.     Conclusion/ Disclaimer

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