Satire, as defined by Bennett and Royle, is the humorous presentation of human folly or vice in such a way as to make it look ridiculous . It generally retains the appearance of rigorous logic, buttresses premises and arguments supported by formally correct proofs and eventually leads the reader to a conclusion of outlandish impossibility or striking absurdity. True satire, writes G. K. Chesterton is always, so to speak, a variation or fantasia upon the air of pure logic . In A Modest Proposal, this fantasia lies in the extraordinary discrepancy between an apparently coherent, authoritative and benevolent discourse - whose logic the reader is initially prompt to endorse - and the effect of monstrous absurdity that it unexpectedly produces as the reader becomes aware of its real implications. If laughter is the result, the satirist, however, uses the logic of rhetoric in a manner different from that employed by the humorist, as his aim is to produce laughter directed at something : i.e. at the ridicule of a situation reflecting by contrast a set of powerful understatements.
[...] On the other hand, the narrator dismisses a series of unsound “expedients” that appear to be Swift's real political proposals. But by doing so, he actually infects their objection with the shame of his discredit thus, strengthening Swift's views. This subtle construction stresses the polemic power exerted by satires. Swift himself had made these proposals in a pamphlet edited separately but they did not meet the success of this very text. Thus, a pertinent example of how satiric A Modest Proposal [...]
[...] It can easily be read as a skillfully disguised call for charitable institutions. Miscellaneous hints are thus scattered through the text. They delightfully deliver the message of the parody. The presentation of Psalmanazar as an authentic and reliable source or the portrayal of François Rabelais as a “grave author and eminent physician” stealthily reveals the mood and intentions of the text. The tone is satiric and the project political. The text must be read in a mirror, understood the other way round. [...]
[...] In this view, A Modest Proposal is particularly satiric as it turns nine-month old babies into a resource for the economy. Every laborer has come to be regarded as a commodity aimed at being harvested and consumed. In the world of the text, babies are metaphorically sold, roasted and eaten because, in Swift's society, they are effectively considered as a labor unity designed to be used regardless of the age. However, if the satire is remarkable, its purpose is not so much to cast ridicule upon these pamphlets and their authors as to denounce in straightforward terms the conditions of subsistence in Ireland. [...]
[...] If Rabelais is grave by no means, Swift is certainly not serious and if Psalmanazar is a famous impostor, so, unreliable is this proposal./ If Rabelais is by no means grave, Swift certainly not serious and if Psalmanazar is a famous impostor, unreliable is this proposal. But in the gap between the image and the reality, between irony and affirmation, satire and denunciation, infiltrates a strong judgment. Swift's revulsion at the state of Ireland does not stop at its expression. [...]
[...] One of the main factors giving A Modest Proposal its satirical strength is not the horror of the proposal itself, although detailed in gruesome and truly disgusting developments, but the personality of the narrator. At first glance, he is a public-spirited Irishman who has devoted many years to studying the needs of his poverty-stricken island. Like many others - think it is agreed by all parties [ - he can hardly help being concerned about the dreadful economic conditions which confronts the kingdom. [...]
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