A Modest Proposal | Critical Essay by John Richardson

This literature criticism consists of approximately 23 pages of analysis & critique of A Modest Proposal.
This section contains 6,897 words
(approx. 23 pages at 300 words per page)
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Critical Essay by John Richardson

SOURCE: Richardson, John. “Swift, A Modest Proposal, and Slavery.” Essays in Criticism 51, no. 4 (October 2001): 404-23.

In the following essay, Richardson suggests that the attitudes of a society of slavery influenced and shaped the irony of A Modest Proposal.

There are two key elements to A Modest Proposal: a dreadful familiar situation, which has grown to seem less dreadful for being so familiar, and a dreadful unfamiliar solution, which seems more dreadful for its strangeness. The rhetorical effect of this ought to be simple. The strangeness of the solution ought to resurrect the reader's sense of the dreadfulness of the familiar situation, and perhaps prompt a determination to seek change. To some extent, that is how the proposal works, but only to some extent. The old idea that the pamphlet's purpose and effect were ‘purely propagandistic...

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This section contains 6,897 words
(approx. 23 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by John Richardson