Jonathan Swift (1667--1745). Life Introduction. Jonathan Swift, a posthumous child ( 遗腹子 ), was born in Dublin, Ireland, of an English family, which had important connections but little wealth.
was twelve times as tall as he. In his account of the two parties in the country, distinguished by the use of high and low heels, Swift satirizes the Tories and the Whigs in England.
The exaggerated smallness in part 1 works just as effectively as the exaggerated largeness in part 2. The similarities between human beings and the Lilliputians and the contrast between the Brobdingna giants and human beings both bear reference to the possibilities of human state. Part 3 furthers the criticism of the western civilization and deals with false illusion about science, philosophy, history and even immortality. The last part leads the reader to a fundamental questions: What on earth is a human being?
(the present situation in Irelandexpect a proposal to solve the problem of poor children beggars)
(detailing his proposal)
(illustrating the advantages of his proposal)
(supposing an objection to his proposal )
(Ireland falls in poverty and overpopulation. Poor female beggars with their children, people in Ireland lack of national loyalty, the English government is devouring Ireland)
(Para 10. 120,000 children, among which 20,000 reserved for breed, only ¼ to be males; the remaining 100,000 be offered in sale)
the plump and fat children will be good for feeding and clothing
a. it would greatly lessen the number of Papists
b. the poorer tenants will have something valuable of their own
c. the money gained from transaction will circulate in the country
d. their breeders will benefit from it directly
e. this food would bring great custom to taverns
f. this would be a great inducement to marriage
What is the narrator’s attitude in saying that “I have no children by which I can propose to get a single penny, the youngest being nine years old, and my wife past childbearing”?
With what social groups does he identify himself?
The speaker is a Protestant and a member of the Irish upper class. While he professes sympathy for the plight of the poor Catholic population, he also holds a fairly contemptuous opinion of them. He takes great pains to enumerate the advantages of his proposed project for the wealthy, who would presumably be called upon to implement it. Yet Swift's irony implicates this moneyed class for their monetary greed, their personal indulgence, their unflagging attention to their own self-interest, and their indifference to the state of the poor and the state of the nation as a whole.