The Value of a Modest Proposal for Modern Students 

Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal is a satirical essay that focuses on the poor treatment of the Irish. He makes use of exaggerated themes and examples to paint the picture. However, many people failed to grasp and see past the sarcastic and ironic tone used in his essay.

Swift tried to be persuasive and portray the condition of poor Irish people. Samples of A Modest Proposal essays are still available to read for free on the internet. He focuses on the predicament of the Irish and how unfortunate the situation was at the time.

Reading those samples can help the students understand the Modest Proposal better as many readers and writers often misunderstand the purpose of this essay due to the tone of the writer.

A Modest Proposal reading guide answers certain controversial questions raised. In this template, we will discuss some of the main ideas of this essay.

Why did Jonathan Swift write A Modest proposal?

A Modest Proposal written by Jonathan swift was published in pamphlet form in the year 1729. Swift’s essay is a profoundly brilliant and argumentative piece full of satire. Although filled with comical tones and style, his essay sought to address the poverty of the Irish.

The essay’s title symbolizes a ‘proposal’ to rectify a growing issue of concern with efficiency. Swift wrote this essay to bring to notice the unparallel standard of living of the Irish people.

He derisively states that the country of Ireland encourages the expansion of the wealth of English landlords. Sadly, this comes at the expense of the Irish. Swift looks to address this pressing issue and the possible ways to alleviate the condition of the Irish.

This writing encapsulates a lot of ridicule and satirical references to convey the message Swift tried to pass across to readers. He finds a way to pour out his disgust on the maltreatment of the Irish. He also expresses his annoyance at the Irish for seemingly being unable to unite against such unjust treatment.

What is the solution in a modest proposal?

Swift also provided subjective solutions to the glaring problem of poverty faced by most families in Ireland at the time. He proposed that impoverished families could sell their malnourished children to wealthy landlords in exchange for extra income.

According to him, this proposal would alleviate their poverty and reduce the burden of childbearing on these families. Children will be better fed under the wealthy while also tackling overpopulation and unemployment.

His proposal meant that everybody wins and benefits at the end of the day. From Swift’s perspective, this proposal would improve and balance the economic state of the country.

Main ideas of Modest Proposal

Here are some of Jonathan Swift’s Modest Proposal ideas and themes:

Economical Structure

The central theme of Swift’s A Modest Proposal was based on the economic situation in Ireland. For a reader to completely understand his piece, you must understand the financial crisis during his time.

Swift focuses strongly on the abysmal state of the economy and how it favoured the rich English. The unparallel economic situation in his time led him to write this essay. He highlighted specific impoverished conditions and proposed possible solutions to improving them.

Improved level of Morality

A Modest Proposal message is packed with opinionated solutions that suggest a positive increase in respect and morality of respective families. He raised the idea of families making use of the meat market. This suggestion meant that parents embraced the idea of selling and eating their children.

According to Swift, this practice would have positive consequences on families. He states that husbands would learn to love and value their wives their children more.

Relevance of a Modest Proposal in Today’s Society

Swift wrote and published his essay, A Modest Proposal, during a time of substandard and impoverished living of certain families in Ireland. However, some of the ideas and solutions proposed in this essay are still relevant today. Once you can grasp the ridiculing tone of the writer, there are some salient ideas illustrated in his paper.

One of the constant factors negatively affecting many developing countries of the world today is poverty. This poor situation is often caused by limited resources coupled with overpopulation and unemployment. Swift’s essay proposes ways to combat these similar issues in modern-day society.


The primary aim of Swift’s writing style was to capture the readers’ attention. The satirical tone used was intended to relay a Modest Proposal main idea. Some of these views are discussed above remain valuable and relevant in modern-day society.


Back to top button