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A Modest Proposal

A Modest Proposal


by Jonathan Swift

Analysis: Three-Act Plot Analysis

For a three-act plot analysis, put on your screenwriter’s hat. Moviemakers know the formula well: at the end of Act One, the main character is drawn in completely to a conflict. During Act Two, she is farthest away from her goals. At the end of Act Three, the story is resolved.

Act I

Irish children are swarming the streets and begging for food. The kids are constantly underfoot and not doing much to help society function. Cue Swift to the rescue!

Act II

The author proposes that the Irish sell their children as a source of food. He counters that devouring babies is a good way to make money, boost tourism, and reduce the population. Hey, what could possibly be wrong with such a great plan?


Anyone who doesn't like the idea of roast baby should take it up with Irish parents, since they stand to benefit the most. Everyone's happy, wealthy, and full. That is, except for the kids—think they'd have anything to say about being barbecued?

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