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A Modest Proposal

A Modest Proposal

by Jonathan Swift

Suffering Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

I again subtract fifty thousand for those women who miscarry, or whose children die by accident or disease within the year. (7)

Don't let all the stats fool you: the narrator is throwing out random numbers to establish false authority.

Quote #5

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)

Swift is definitely warming up his audience with his trademark irony. Swift's tracts on oppression in Ireland went largely unread.

Quote #6

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)

The narrator alternates between appearing concerned and totally unaffected by the examples of suffering. Why do you think Swift uses this strategy?

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