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A Modest Proposal

A Modest Proposal


by Jonathan Swift

A Modest Proposal Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Let's face it—it takes a while to figure out that Swift's pulling our leg. When does the proposal cross the line into ludicrous territory? 
  2. How does Swift's stance on England's rule of Ireland impact your reading of the essay? 
  3. Is Swift in full-on attack mode, or does he suggest any reasonable solutions to Ireland's famine? 
  4. Based on your reading, what is Swift's impression of Ireland?
  5. Swift once commented that satire is "a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own" (source). What does this quote mean in the context of A Modest Proposal?
  6. Can you distinguish Swift's satiric voice from that of the narrator? How are the two voices different?
  7. Would Swift's essay have had as much of an impact if he seriously advocated for the reform of conditions in Ireland?
  8. What is the purpose of the closing paragraph?

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