A Modest Proposal
How we cite our quotes:
I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for the landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title to the children. (12)
This is the first time Swift likens the actions of wealthy citizens to the act of eating. He gives readers plenty of time to get hooked before he lays blame on the landlords.
Some persons of a desponding spirit are in great concern about that vast number of poor people who are aged, diseased, or maimed, and I have been desired to employ my thoughts what course may be taken to ease the nation of so grievous an encumbrance. (18)
Yeah, right. If anyone were clamoring for solutions, Swift wouldn't have written numerous other tracts and sermons that got ignored. Check out "Causes of the Wretched Condition of Ireland (1726) and A Short View of the State of Ireland (1727).
But I am not in the least pain upon that matter because it is very well known that they are every day dying and rotting by cold and famine, and filth and vermin, as fast as can be reasonably expected. (18)
Sounding like fun yet? Notice how satiric jabs are mixed in with real details that highlight wealthy citizens' lack of action.