Swift’s A Modest Proposal

Explain how key social, cultural, and artistic contributions contribute to historical changes.
Explain the importance of situating a society’s cultural and artistic expressions within a historical context. 
Examine the influences of intellectual, religious, political, and socio-economic forces on social, cultural, and artistic expressions. 
Identify major historical developments in world cultures from the Renaissance to the contemporary period. 
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Write clearly and concisely about world cultures using proper writing mechanics.

Sample paper

Swift’s A Modest Proposal

The surprise ending in this reading is evident where the author asserts that he is open to opinions from outside, and specifically to opinions from wise men. All along the essay, one gets the feeling that the author is firm in his stand, and as such, it is almost futile to argue differently from what he professes. As the author asserts, “I am not so violently bent upon my own opinion, as to reject any offer, proposed by wise men.”

The “surprise ending” does not appear at the end, as one would often expect; although it is quite close to the end. The author argues that he may not harbor any negative feelings upon the politicians who express a different opinion from his, but in doing so, the politicians should rightly justify their opinions.

Jonathan Swift was quite successful in helping to convince me to accept the validity of the “surprise ending” mentioned earlier. The author argues that he is not “violently bent” upon his own opinion, rather, he is open to opinions from men of wisdom. Swift further argues that for an individual to prove his point wrong, he or she must first meet two requirements: first, they must justify how they can be able to feed thousands of street children, and second, they must consider the millions of professional beggars who may lead to huge debts. The author also makes a point by arguing that he has no personal interest in writing about the particular topic. Thus, the work is for the greater good of the entire public.


Swift, J. (1729). A Modest Proposal for preventing the children of poor people in Ireland, from    being a burden on their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the publick (1729). Retrieved from http://www.victorianweb.org/previctorian/swift/modest.html