A modest proposal jonathan swift
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“A Modest Proposal” Jonathan Swift. 17 th century: Oliver Cromwell , English Prime Minister, set out to convert Catholics to Protestantism. Rampage across land –burning and massacring – left destruction and poverty. Penal Laws enforced:. Catholics are not permitted to… own land vote

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17 th century oliver cromwell english prime minister set out to convert catholics to protestantism
17th century:Oliver Cromwell, English Prime Minister, set out to convert Catholics to Protestantism.

Rampage across land –burning and massacring –left destruction and poverty.

Penal laws enforced
Penal Laws enforced:

  • Catholics are not permitted to…

    • own land

    • vote

    • marry a Protestant

    • join the armed forces

    • bare arms

    • be educated abroad

Irish Catholics reduced to impotent servants

A modest proposal jonathan swift

18th century:

English landlords owned much of Ireland’s property.

They charged outrageous rent

England imposed high taxes on Ireland

English had negative attitude toward Roman Catholics

In the late 1720 s starvation was widespread in ireland
In the late 1720’s, starvation was widespread in Ireland.

  • Irish harvest had been poor for years

  • Farmers couldn’t pay rent demanded by English landlords

  • Beggars and starving children filled the streets

As you listen
As you listen…

Record answer to the following in your Log:

  • What is the Problem?

    2. What is the proposed Solution?

    3. What is your reaction?


  • MODEST= conservative, simple,

  • PROPOSAL= suggestion, plan, idea

    Explain the relationship between the title and the content of this essay.



*a literary device used to ridicule or make fun of human vice or weakness, often with the intent of correcting, or changing, the subject of the satiric attack

Irony permeates satire:

Verbal Irony



Faulty Logic


  • Verbal IronyTo use words that are the opposite of those one might expect to read

  • Exaggeration: To enlarge, increase, or represent something beyond normal bounds so that it becomes ridiculous and its faults can be seen.

  • Understatement: To downplay event/situation to make it seem less important/serious than it is

  • Faulty Logic: To misuse logic to arrive at the conclusion author/narrator prefers rather than one of sound basis

Persuasive techniques
Persuasive Techniques~

Swift’s proposal to end poverty in Ireland, though satiric, employs strong persuasive elements:

Ethos~ appeal based on the character of the speaker. An ethos-driven document relies on the reputation of the author



Persuasive techniques1
Persuasive Techniques~

Logos~ appeal based on logic or reason



Persuasive techniques2
Persuasive Techniques~

Pathos~ appeal to emotions