ENGLISH 1022E October 21 , 2010
ENGLISH – Lecture 12
A MODEST PROPOSAL:
o Right reason—without moral and spiritual values, reason is not good, can become enormously
destructive when left to its own devices. Swift realized this. Things that seem to be good, to be
using language (rhetoric, flowery) to cover up false logic (advertising). Reason without moral
and spiritual guidance is open to perversion.
o Projector/Proposer: the one who, in the text, twists right reason. Reason has become
unhitched from moral, spiritual and reality. Reason has “sold out” to economic rhetoric. Swift is
pointing out how dangerous reason can be.
o Consumption: England was attempted to consume Ireland, metaphorically, and it is this
metaphor that Swift picks up. The church in England was trying to control everything, drive out
the Catholic Church. England is devouring, consuming, eating up Ireland, and in the mind of the
Projector Swift makes that real. “Eat up our whole nation” – p.1119 NA. British are cannibalizing
the Irish, and the Projector/Proposer treats it literally.
o Satirical Targets: 1 - English exploitation and consumption of Ireland. 2 - right reason. Does this
so we wake up and face the issues and that we act and try to do something about it.
o Projector/Proposer: 18th century version of “Ed the Sock”. Projector is a hand-puppet, Swift
using it to get across his message. Soul and embodiment of perverse, destruct, reason, although
tries to come off as the soul and embodiment of good. ”Affected modesty” – nothing in it for
himself, but this is not true, because in the beginning he talks about the statue for finding a use
for the children, and he wants public recognition, for everyone to see how awesome he is, so in
the end he isn’t sincere at all. His “final solution” is not from right reason, but reason that has
given itself over to calculation, the madness, to craziness. “One male to serve four females” –
breeding language, treating the children as animals, as cattle. “Reasonable” – he is anything but
reasonable. He’s calculated everything about the future, mentally, coldly. Using a teaching
device, enumeration, to make