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I am W.Lee and I am a new member in the UsingEnglish.com Forum. My teacher hasn't been giving me honest feedback and I know this because the marks the teacher wrote on my paper are different to the teacher's markbook. In addition, all I recieve are comments like, "well done" and "excellent". I really would like to improve on my writing, especially my grammatical expression. Can you please, please, please help me? I really desparate and thus I went on to the google search today to seek help and I found this potentially helpful website. Thanks for helping me in advance.
Question: How is the concept of fitting in explored in Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal? How does this satirical essay explore the tendency of human societies to reject and persecute those that are deemed as the other? How does it explore the act of an individual rejecting mainstream thought and behaviour to stand up for individual convictions?
The satirical essay – “A Modest Proposal” written by Jonathan Swift – explores the concept of fitting in, social rejection based on racial and religious differences and the existence of individuals who assert their disagreement of their own society through a series of clever techniques and shocking examples. Throughout the entire essay, Jonathan Swift uses crafty, ridiculous and yet intelligent approach to emphasise his dissatisfaction towards the inhumanity the Irish-Catholics suffered from his fellow British-Protestants. He also continuously and repeatedly emphasises the concept of “fitting in” in the entirety of the satirical essay through his masquerading voice as a typical British-Protestant and his opinion towards the Irish-Catholics.
Swift examines and proves the fundamentals that establish the human societies indeed contradict against the basics humans often crave for in an ideal society through satirical comments and the effective use of masquerading voice. It is clear that Swift purposely uses the title “A Modest Proposal” and the description of the situation the Irish-Catholics lived in to disguise himself as a conformist of the British-Protestant society. He also presents the essay as an official political proposal to give an impression to his fellow conformists that he speaks on behalf of their view towards the controversial issue the British Empire has to resolve. These clever techniques allow him to deceive the other British-Protestants that he genuinely offers a solution to solve the Irish-Catholics issue at the first quarter of the essay. These clever techniques also highlight the importance of the concept of “fitting in” when presenting individual thought. The British-Protestant mass at last realises the main reason for Swift to write up this essay when he states – “I have been assured…that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled…” and “I do therefore humbly offer it to public consideration that of the hundred and twenty thousand children already computed, twenty thousand may be reserve for breed.” From the statement onwards, it becomes apparent that Swift is indeed criticising, mocking and scorning the British-Protestants for their arrogant treatment towards the Irish-Catholics. Swift accentuates the brutality and inhumanity the British-Protestants have portrayed ever since the fact that they deprive the Irish-Catholics’ possessions and treat the Irish-Catholics like slaves in Ireland. He further expresses his discontentment by comparing the Irish-Catholics with animalistic and economic terms to highlight the dehumanising actions the British-Protestants have been giving them. These dehumanising descriptions include “dropped from its dam”, “breeders”, giving the method of fattening the pigs to a human child – “a child just born will weigh 12 pounds, and in a solar year, if tolerably nursed, increaseth to 28 pounds” and mentioning the benefits the British Empire would have in the economy of selling Irish children as food – “The nation’s stock will be thereby increased fifty thousand pounds per annum”. These descriptions and the series of events the British-Protestants have been giving to the Irish-Catholics stress the rejection, discrimination, cruelty and prejudice as the basic foundations of the human societies, especially toward those who are deemed different, despite the fact that humans crave acceptance and justice.
Swift explores and highlights the importance and the process of having an individual to reject the mass thought and behaviour so that the society may reform. He does this through satirical criticism and the masquerading voice. Throughout “A Modest Proposal”, Swift portrays himself as an individual who asserts his individualistic opinion towards a sensitive and serious matter of the British Empire. He masquerades himself as a typical British-Protestant and slowly alerts others of the brutality they have been treating towards a race that they deem to be racially and religiously different. He offers a ridiculous solution that immediately shows his negative view towards the Irish-Catholics issue. He undoubtedly pretends to conform with his British-Protestant group at the start of the essay so that he can get their attention. He clearly uses satire to make fun of and condemn his fellow British-Protestants and this can be proven through “I rather recommend buying the children alive, and dressing them hot from the knife, as we do roasting pig”. This quote illustrates the barbaric extent of treatment the dominating race has been treating the Irish-Catholics descent. He obviously raises the awareness in a completely different perception that may perhaps cause others to realise the injustice the Irish-Catholics have to suffer. Even though his absurd solution astonishes many of the British Protestant, he successfully highlights the inconvenient truth that causes Irish Catholics to be poor and distinguishes himself as an individual who has a firm view against the inhumanity. Through the use of masquerading voice and satirical criticism, it can be seen that Swift is indeed an individual who rejects the mass and stands up for the ones being suppressed.
Jonathan Swift explores the fundamental concept – “fitting in” – that shapes our society in his satirical essay – “A Modest Proposal”. He effectively highlights the necessity of having an individual asserting a different perception towards an issue in an unjust, biased and cruel society that rejects and discriminates those who are deemed different. He emphasises the mistreatment of the Irish-Catholics by offering a ridiculous solution that shows the extent of the barbaric nature in the human society. Therefore, despite the fact that humans crave for justice and “fit in”, the society is found upon rejection, prejudice and cruelty and a strong individual is required to stand against the concept of “fitting in” so that unjust events may change.
Dear Mr/Ms/Mrs Gillnetter,
I thank you for marking and commenting the essay I have written. Your comments and things you have added are extremely useful. I will try to avoid the mistakes I made, in which you have picked up. Thank you again for your time in marking my essay.