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September 28 , 2010

A Modest Proposal

For preventing the children of poor people in Ireland, from being a burden on their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the public


Published anonymously in 1729, Jonathan Swift’s satirical essay, A Modest Proposal, puts forth the darkly comical idea that the starving poor of Ireland might alleviate their economic condition by selling their children as food for wealthy gentlemen and ladies.

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At its core, Swift’s Modest Proposal satirizes English exploitation of Ireland in particular and the heartless attitude that rich elites can develop towards the poor in general. Along with Gulliver’s Travels, A Modest Proposal is an early English example of the black comedic genre.

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