sábado, 27 de março de 2010

Essay “A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift”

By Odete Soares Rangel
 The article A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift presents six arguments in favor of the author’s idea of selling children as food. These arguments are as bizarre as the proposal itself.

The first argument is about the decreasing of the Catholic population. It’s important to notice here that the author is a Protestant, and that the Catholic X Protestant issue is and has always been a major concern for both government and people of Ireland. The Catholic population is the greatest enemy of the kingdom of Ireland and it is increasing every year and it is already larger than the Protestant population. The effective application of the proposal presented by the author will cause a decrease of population and being the Catholic population the one that grows the most, it will consequently decrease the number of Catholics.

The following argument analyzes the possibility of changing the financial status of those poor couples or single mothers who sell their babies. Considering the profit obtained by the selling of the babies as a total new and extremely relevant raising of income, which will provide to these poor people a new relation with the market, making them able to then on to pay, without sacrifice, their rent, their food, etc....

According to the third argument, the number of beggar’s children, over two years old, can easily achieve 100.000 (one hundred thousand). The cost of growing these kids is approximately ten shillings per year, without having to raise these children the nation will have a fifty thousand pounds profit per year. In addition to that, we will have the benefits of the introduction of a new dish in the nation’s menu, which will provide the circulation of the money between the different areas of the food commerce, that are in some level involved with the ingredients of this preparation.

In my opinion the author repeats himself in the fourth argument when he talks about the new "job" that mothers can have if they decide to become something like "professional breeders". This way they will be able to have a clean and secure eight shillings gain every year. Mr. Swift had already mentioned the financial benefits of the family before. But he adds a new possibility when he considers as an advance the fact the mothers do not have to worry about raising their babies since they are going to sell them right after they turn one year of age.

The next argument is about the introduction of this new food (children) and the excitement it will certainly cause when it achieves the taverns and restaurants. The owners will want to attract the new rich customers that can pay for this especial "delicatessen". The chefs should make their best efforts to create new and delicious recipes in order to make their houses famous and frequented by the most distinguished and wealthy men. Those are famous by their refined taste for fine foods.

The last argument is for sure the most unusual. The author says that his proposal will help to increase the number of marriages. I particularly cannot see how. And he also says that this will make mothers show an extra care towards their children when they know that the particular child will be the one to stay with them forever. In my opinion giving a child up after one year holding, hugging, nursing and taking care of him won’t help to increase the love the mother will feel for the next one. The author continues saying that husbands will treat their pregnant wife with more tenderness and with no violence, thing that is considered very common, for they will be afraid of miscarry once the offspring will be profitable to him as well.

The arguments presented by the author could not be more bizarre and weird, but considering the idea exposed on the text, they fit perfectly. The idea of going to a restaurant and be offered a dish which the main ingredient is a baby is at least not human. Thank God that this idea found no echo so far in any government.

RANGEL, Odete Soares.  ESSAY “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift. p.19-21
Palávora. V. 1, 2003.
Porto Alegre: Editora UniRitter, 2003   52 p.

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