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A Modest Proposal

A Modest Proposal

by Jonathan Swift

Foreignness and "The Other" Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

The number of souls in this kingdom being usually reckoned one million and half, of these I calculate there may be about two hundred thousand couple whose wives are breeders (6)

Referring to someone as a "breeder" might not get you past a first date. Used in this context, the word is meant to be dehumanizing.

Quote #5

They can very seldom pick up a livelihood by stealing […], although I confess they learn the rudiments much earlier, during which time they can however be properly looked upon only as probationers […] as I have been informed by a principal gentleman in the country of Cavan (7)

The narrator draws a distinct boundary between "a gentleman" and the rapscallions who learn to steal from birth.

Quote #6

I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food (10)

The "knowing American" has been read as a Native American with knowledge of exotic foods. Why does Swift include this reference?

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