Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal and Gulliver’s Travels

Any work that attempts to enlighten the world about the realism of political and social problems are admirable works of political and social criticizes. Enlightening others about poverty and war is admirable because everyone in the world needs to realize what is going on in the world instead of just want is going on in their hometown.

There are a lot of people in the world who suffer from poverty and the effect of war, but not a lot of people know about it because the world tries to hide their problems. A Modest Proposal and Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift are admirable works of political and social criticizes.

In A Modest Proposal, Jonathan Swift makes a proposal to sell the children of Ireland to be eaten. This proposal will solve the view that the England has about the Irish people beginning subhuman. Swift is saying that the people of England talk about how horrible the Irish are so they might as well literally eat them. Swift demonstrates this when he talks about the Irish women being breeders and not showing a bond between them and their children, which some times lead them to murder their babes.

Swift suggests that selling children at a young age to be eaten would “increase the care and tenderness of mothers towards their children, when they were sure of a settlement for life, to the poor babes, provided in some sort by the public to their annual profit instead of expense” (Swift, p.43). Swift is suggesting that the children of the Irish can be a money crop instead of a maintenance that the English people constantly comment on when he writes, ” Preventing the children of poor people in Ireland from being a burden on their parents or county, and for making them beneficial to the public”( Swift, p.41).

The poverty that the Irish is enduring is due to the number of children that the people are producing. A woman must beg for food for her and her children because she is unable to work as she has an infant that she must care for. This intention leads the children to go up to be professional baggers and “stealing until they arrive at six years old” (Swift, p.42). Swift also comments that “by all parties that this prodigious number of children, in the arms, or on the backs, or at the heels of their mothers, and frequently of their fathers, is in the present deplorable state of the kingdom a very great additional grievance” (Swift, p.42).

The literature that Swift writes indicated that the Irish people have some many children that they can not live an ordinary life because of the concerns that raising a child brings. These concerns have bleed over into the nation were everyone must suffer. The nation also includes England were they see that the Irish are in trouble because of the number of children that they have bore.

The abuse towards women and the family will end due to the nature of Swifts proposal. Women were abuse frequently in Ireland and sometimes to the extent that they had a miscarry. Selling the children of Irish would change the treatment of women because the child inside of them was a profit and no one wants to loss money.

Swift explains this in his literature writing “Men would become as fond of their wives, during the time of their pregnancy, as they are now of their mares in foal, their cows in calf, or sows when they are ready to farrow, nor offer to beat or kick them (as it is too frequent a practice) for fear of a miscarriage” (Swift, p.43). As in today’s society if livestock was pregnant you would probably give them more food and make sure that they had a healthy pregnancy. The women of Irish would not be abuse in most cases they would be taken better care of.

In Gulliver’s Travels, the Yahoos are compared to the political people of England unlike the Houyhnhums who do not know of war. Gulliver gave his master a description of war ” of cannon, culverins, muskets, carbines, pistols, bullets, powder, swords, bayonets, battles, sieges, retreats, attacks, undermines, countermines, bombardments, sea-fights” (Swift, p.18) because he did not know what the word war is because his people do not engage in acts of violence. When Gulliver goes into great detail about the hardships of war his “master commanded me silence” (Swift, p.18).

The Yahoos and the people of England can be compared because of their intent and strategy of war. Swift shows us this when Gulliver’s master tells him that “At other times the like battles have been fought between the yahoos of several neighborhoods without any visible cause; those of one district watching all opportunities to surprise the next before they are prepared. But if they find their project hath miscarried, they return home, and, for want of enemies, engage in what I call a civil war among themselves” (Swift, p.23).

The English army often would fight other nations but wait to surprise them in war much like the Yahoos. The English were constantly in war between themselves and with other nations like the Yahoo people who were in a constant battle among themselves and other districts. The people of today’s society are in a constant battle with other county’s and nations to be the best. For example, the Americans are in constant battle with the rest of the world on every level, which includes space travel, energy, fuel, and nuclear weapons.

The Yahoos are a breed that lie and are dirty creatures like the society of England. The people of England can be compared to the Yahoos in the way that they look at for only themselves. The Yahoos ” instead of eating peacefully, fall together by the ears, each single one impatient to have all to itself, and therefore a servant was usually employed to stand by while they were feeding abroad, and those kept at home were tied at a distance from each other” (Swift, p.23). It was a common practice for the people to England to not bath everyday and to not keep up their hygiene, which is must like the Yahoos in comparison. The Yahoos are covered with dirt and mud and when Gulliver sees himself in the water he see that he is a Yahoo.

The Houyhnhnms are honorable and do not have a language for false truth unlike the Yahoos. Gulliver see the problems that the English are going through and interpreters their problem as the way of the Yahoos. When Gulliver first arrives on the island the Houyhnhunms give Gulliver “a wisp of hay, and a fetlock full of oats” (Swift, p.11). The Houyhnhunms show Gulliver kindness, unlike the people of England who threw him off of the ship. When Gulliver and his master begin to talk to each other Gulliver’s master want to know everything about were he came from. Gulliver tells his master about the wars and the political society but the master does not understand want Gulliver is trying to tell him because he does not know what a war is or what lying is.

This shows that the Houyhnhunms are peaceful and do not want violence in their society, unlike the English. When Gulliver has to return to his society of Yahoos he is extremely depressed because he does not want to go back to his old ways. When Gulliver returns to his family he is “filled only with hatred, disgust, and contempt” (Swift, p.35). Swift shows the discuss that Gulliver has for human when his “wife took me in her arms, and kissed me, at which, having not been used to the touch of that odious animal for so many years, I fell in a swoon for almost an hour” (Swift, p. 35). Gulliver also could not eat in the presents of his family “during the first year I could not endure my wife or children in my presence, the very smell of them was intolerable, much less could I suffer them to eat in the same room” (Swift, p.35).

Gulliver’s reaction when he returns home is a moment of realization because Gulliver sees that he is a human like the Yahoos and he does not want to face the fact that the political and social problems that were committed by the Yahoos were also being committed by the English. This is also a concept that Swift is trying to say in A Modest Proposal, when he shows the hatred of the English people towards the Irish.

Gulliver loved being with the Houyhnhums and he want to stay with them forever, but because he looked so much like a Yahoo he was forced to be removed from the Houyhnhums society, much like the way the children are to be removed from their parents to satisfy others. Gulliver is a changed person after he has spent sometime with the Houyhnhums, he sees that his old ways were wrong and that he need to changed. Gulliver like the people of England who hated the Irish had problems because of the society thought and the concept of putting themselves first.

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