Friday, February 19, 2010
Not so Swift
I can't pinpoint exactly why Jonathan Swift and his A Modest Proposal is on my mind of late. Oh, who am I kidding? Of course I know why it comes to mind for me.
For those of you not privy to the very fine work by the Gulliver's Travels author -- no, not the cartoon series from Hanna-Barbera from the 60s -- let me send you to the Art-Bin to read it in its entirety. Those of you unable to decipher the meaning by actually reading the piece can be assured of this: it is a satire. And it is considered the finest bit of satirical writing you could ever hope to find.
Swift wrote it in the voice of an economist making the case that the poverty in Ireland in the 1700s can be eliminated easily by selling off poor people's babies to rich people to eat.
The complete title? A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public."
Read it again, or for the first time, and tell me you aren't in awe.
Our next lesson will be The Difference between Satire and Sarcasm. Don't miss it!
[Photo courtesy wikipedia.org.]
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