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A Modest Proposal
A Modest Proposal
by Jonathan Swift
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A Modest Proposal Part 2 Summary

  • The author has heard—from a friend in America, that crazy place—that a one-year-old child is not only delicious, but an excellent source of nutrition.
  • There are quite a few ways you can cook a tender child of that age, whether it be stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled.
  • Therefore, it only stands to reason that 100,000 children from the Irish population be sold to the rich as a source of food.
  • Oh, you want details? One child should be plenty to serve two dishes at a banquet. If you feel like leftovers, a hind quarter seasoned with some pepper and salt should suffice.
  • Granted, this type of food is bound to be expensive, and only purchased by the very elite.
  • It's a good thing the landlords, who've consumed most of the parents' resources already, will have first crack at eating their spawn (zing!).
  • Getting down to the nitty-gritty, ten shillings seems to be a decent price for a fat child. Mothers should be able to get eight shillings at least, which seems more than fair.
  • Furthermore, the author has it on good authority that Ireland is severely lacking in venison.
  • A friend has suggested that young lads between the ages of twelve and fourteen might prove to be a good substitute for deer meat.
  • The author politely disagrees. After all, his American acquaintance has assured him that older kids are tough and lean.
  • Getting back to the main point, there are plenty of reasons why children would make a fine delicacy.
  • For one, poor Irish citizens will finally have something valuable of their own. Having a spare kid might come in handy when they can't pay the rent.
  • Marriage will be sure to become more common, too. Forget the nonsense about love—it's a competition to raise the fattest child.
  • Really, who can raise objections to this fine plan? The author has heard all of the conventional solutions to Ireland's problem, and they just don't cut it.
  • Most importantly, serving up the kids of Ireland should please England. The mother country seems more than happy to eat up the nation of Ireland (he's on a roll, folks).
  • With all that said, the author has a suggestion for those who find themselves still hesitant: ask the Irish parents whether they'd rather have a pesky kid or money in their pockets.
  • You know the author is sincere because his kids are too old to be sold. There's no way he's making cash for suggesting this deal.
Next Page: Themes
Previous Page: Part 1

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