Swift`s “A Modest Proposal”

Swift’s“A Modest Proposal”

Whatis the Surprise Ending in “A Modest Proposal”?

“AModest Proposal” is an essay written by Jonathan Swift, satiricallydepicting the hunger and poverty situation in Ireland in his time. Atthe onset, Swift provides a proposal aimed at alleviating theproblems caused by the economic situation. His proposal is that poorIrish children should be sold to the rich so that they could sufficeas food. However, at the end of the essay, Swift gives the reader asurprise ending by claiming that he does not have children who couldearn him the financial benefits he had been advocating for earlier.This depicts him as a serious and loyal Irishman only out to ensurethe good of his country, which is in contrast to the satiricalcharacter that’s evident throughout the essay. If the reader seesthe narrator as a get-rich-quick schemer, the end paragraph clearsall the doubts when he states that he wouldn’t sell children sincethey are all grown, and that his wife was above child-bearing age.This meant that he wasn’t in a position to benefit from theproposal.

Howsuccessful was the author in convincing about the surprise ending?

Swiftwas successful in convincing me to accept the validity of hissurprise ending. This was due to the fact that he offered a number ofreasons on why his proposal should be adopted. In considering thesereasons, an individual should consider his proposals which are easy,innocent and effectual before presenting alternative proposalsconcerning the issue. One of the reasons is that the government shallindefinitely be in debt should it opt to feed its extremelyimpoverished population. In addition to this, Swift presents the ideathat poor parents of adolescents shall second his idea owing to thefact that they encountered numerous challenges in feeding theirchildren till adolescence. These reasons are indicative of the factthat Swift sees beyond personal benefit, instead looking further intothe benefits that shall be accrued by the entire country should hisproposal be adopted.


Lynch,J. A Modest Proposal. Retrieved on 26thJuly 2016 fromhttps://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Texts/modest.html

Swift,J. (2015). A Modest Proposal. Xist Publishing