Sunday, August 10, 2014

Another Student Report - Swift's Modest Proposal - from Raisa

I have to admit that the outrageous amount of task that you have assigned to us seems to be less achievable by the day. I have decided to send you my opinion on probably the shortest reading assigned among the ocean of work bestowed upon us - may the Almighty truly bless us at this point. 

Intellectuals have been protesting against political cruelties throughout history in the best possible way - writing. Jonathan Swift has done nothing different, yet his style of reproach is completely out of the general order. Swift's brief essay was not only the outcome of the troubled time during the 1700's when England was basically holding Ireland under oppression, but it was also targeted to the ordinary, yet more privileged citizens of Ireland who had reciprocated the harshness to the poor. The writer's various 'research' and calculations to propose a use for underprivileged children is nothing but ridicule. But, it does not fail to make the reader realize that the impact of various English and Irish actions is no less immoral than slaughtering one-year-old babies and devouring their flesh. 

It is crystal clear that Jonathan Swift has the deepest sympathies for begging women with multiple children, for whom they cannot provide. Moreover, he finds it unfortunate that these children cannot contribute to the society even when they grow up and end up as beggars themselves. It is a vicious cycle of poverty. He critically analyses the condition of these people who are the ultimate sufferers of the evils presented to the country, and suggests slaughtering babies as a solution. It does not require much thought to say that the essay is directed to England. I think that along with Swift's aggravation towards the English, this piece is objected towards the failure of Irish politicians as well. It cannot be denied that two hands are always required for clapping. 

What intrigues me the most about the essay, however, is the casual tone in which the writer speaks of roasting and boiling babies. As if this is no abnormal a notion, no matter how much dark sarcasm is present in it. He does mention that his concept might be cruel, but that he has thought of all other propositions as being so. No matter how 'well-intended' the policies of the politicians and rulers are, he has always had the 'strongest objection' against them. I like how Jonathan Swift analyses the situation of the country is the most micro level possible - he has even referred to landlords 'devouring' parents. Therefore he does not see anything wrong in eating babies and skinning them for rags. There is no problem is discarding the aged and diseased as well, since they rot and die anyway. The extremely ironic tone of the author lets us know that all else has failed. 

The most important reason of this essay, as I would like to think, is portraying the economic inefficiency that has been lead to due to the lacking of the right leadership. Jonathan Swift has truly tried my patience while reading the essay, since reading about boiling and roasting babies is something nobody would be pleased about in their right minds. On the other hand, it is like a bucket of cold water thrown on the face. Although written about the Irish crisis in the 1700s, I do not think anybody would fail to relate to the essay. The poor struggle due to the decisions of the power and wealth-hungry leaders and there is not much anybody does about it - not that anybody CANNOT do anything about it. 

I am glad that you have assigned such a read to the class. I believe every person should take a little time out of their day to read this essay and come to their senses. 

Thank you, 

Raisa. 

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