What does the Title “A Modest Proposal” mean?


What is the meaning of the titleA Modest Proposal” written by Jonathan Swift?



Swift’s purpose is to shock the readers with an “immodest proposal.” In his times, in Ireland, there was overpopulation, extreme poverty, and unjust system of trade with England. The titleA Modest Proposal” is basically a satirical response to unjust treatment of English with Irish neighbors. Hence, by proposing a solution of domestic abuse, poverty, overpopulation, begging and robbery, he suggests that Irish need to sell their infants as food. Obviously, we as readers are aghast at his proposal, and Swifts wants to collect this reaction of his readers. He wants to let them know they should treat others with compassion and kindness but do not be dehumanized.

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