What Do you Think of This? In Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal," published in 1729, Swift engages in an extraordinary amount of irony and satire. Swift states that in order to reduce famine in Ireland and to solve the problems that they are having that eating children would be a good solution. This is not the purpose of Swift's essay. The real intent was to get the people of Britain to notice that the ideas that they were coming up with were not any better than his satirical one, and new ideas and efforts needed to come forth in order to solve the problem. Swift stresses that it is hard for mothers to provide for their children and it is not getting any easier.
He feels that this is due to an overpopulation and lack of food. It is hard enough for these mothers to find food for themselves, let alone their children. According to Swift an infant in the first year of its life is not much of a hassle at all and doesn't require much money to support it. He believes that these less than a year old infants can survive mostly on breast milk and need little other nourishment. So, Swift's idea is that after a child has reached a year old, that child is to be sold as food to the wealthier members in that society or anybody who can afford it. From Swift's perspective using the children as food is the most efficient and cheap way to make the children a contribution rather than a burden.
Swift realizes that there is a downfall to this approach. That downfall is a sharp decrease in population. Although that is part of the goal, it could create too much of a decline in the population than wanted. However, this is the only con that Swift mentions. Swift goes on in great detail to explain his many pros for this idea. Swift feels that since most of the children born into this poverty grow up to be thieves and beggars that it would be doing society a favor in the long run.
Swift also states that he is open to any other opinions that anyone may have regarding solutions to the famine that the country is facing. Here he is merely saying that he wants to hear what is going to be done about this famine and when something is going to be done. He also shows his concern in this essay for such tragedies that this country is facing or may be facing. He shows that he genuinely cares about what happens and he is willing to help. Nothing will get done about it until someone takes a stand as Swift did by writing this satirical essay of his.