Critical Evaluation of: “A Modest Proposal” By Jonathan Swift

A Modest Proposal has been written by Jonathan Swift in 1729 and it has been written about the sad fate of poor Irish who has always been in struggle to feed their larger families. But Swift has proposed a solution that these poor people must sell their children to rich Englishmen and must fatten up their children instead of spending their lives miserably to feed large families and spending a thriving poor life below standards.

Instead of giving birth to more babies, Swift have proposed the poor people to sell their children as early as at age of 1 only to release the burden of bringing upon many children at once and worrying about how to feed their large families and more children. They must be sold in meat market at this age so that people may set aside this sort of baby for dinner purpose as well as this was his proposal for removing the overpopulation as well as unemployment issues in Ireland. But this was a pathetic solution to just slaughter the child for eating purpose and selling them to release the burden of feeding more family members. But many other possible solutions can be proposed as to control the unemployment rising issues and overpopulation can be controlled by providing medical facilities as well as to educate and literate people about having small but happy families.

This is not just a theoretical proposal by Swift but he has also added statistical pints to support for his proposal which shows the number of children sold as well as the projections about the eating behaviors of baby consumers. He has also pathetically and inhumanely proposed some recipes of how to make delicious dishes by that baby meat and suggesting that new and innovative cooks can add more spices and tastes to the dishes. All this eating habit to be developed has been according to him would lead to healthy lifestyle and population will be happier. I am just shocked to read the proposal named as “A Modest Proposal” which is totally like murdering small babies and eating them like animals with a difference of adding spices and cooking them to tastes it delicious an how one human can eat baby and live a happy and healthy life after knowing that he has been eating a living baby slaughtered.

Swift suggested that if this modest proposal will be implemented as  policy, then selling and eating  children will have a positive impact on morality of Irish families as children will be less, so husbands will be giving respect to their wives and children will be more conscious about their parents and their prestige and parents will value their children more not like the burden before. Ireland has been facing major social, political as well as economic problems and these problems will be solved if this proposal will be accepted and implemented on national level.

This proposal has been using the satire approach also criticizing the ideas of others in an irony position. I think Swift have been preparing this proposal in a funny manner and he i=was not seriously suggesting this kind of solutions just to reduce overpopulation dn unemployment issues to help Irish economy boost up and living standards of poor people be improved. I mean people must be aware of benefits of small families or government may take initiatives to appreciate people with small families so that they may be living happy and above poverty life.

Indirectly, Swift has been mocking of the incompetent politicians of Ireland failing to solve the social, economic and political problems of Ireland and policy failure to reduce poverty as well as increasing employment opportunities. Or he has been mocking the pamphlets distributed frequently by government related to contemporary issues of society at large. He has been criticizing the hypocrisy of wealthy people and the tyranny created by English and most importantly the degradation beard by poor Irish people. His style is somehow inhumane and funny at some situations but an essence of clear arrogance can be seen through his words at many points pointing towards the improvement of family morality of Irish families.

Swift in this proposal has implied the cold rationality of the modern theoreticians and this has been considered as a warning against potential for genocide. The title is the true receptor of the purpose of author as it was a modest proposal that prevent the children of poor people being burden to their parents as well as country in Ireland and how they become beneficial to public at large. This proposal presented in arrogance and irony position may deprive attention of its readers to actual problem faced by Ireland. And the end is awesome as Swift has been presenting himself as a true Irish who has been struggling to find ways how to do good for his country and he has proposed these solutions not to be implemented actually but pointing the politicians to think of ways to reduce these problems and if they are failure then they must try this kind of solution.


Milic, Louis Tonko. A quantitative approach to the style of Jonathan Swift. Vol. 23. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG, 1967.

Real, Hermann J., ed. The Reception of Jonathan Swift in Europe. Vol. 8. A&C Black, 2005.

Swift, Jonathan. A modest proposal and other prose. Barnes & Noble Publishing, 2004.