Studying Swift's Essay

Studying Swift's Essay

Effectiveness of Swift's Essay


Complete a Quick Write.

  • Is Swift’s essay effective or not? Explain.
  • Do you like it or not? Explain.

Open Notebook

Why Swift Wrote the Essay as He Did

Work Time

In trios, take a look at “A Modest Proposal” and consider why Swift wrote the essay as he did.

  • Why not write a straight-out column, as Kristof did, or simply describe the ravages of Irish poverty?

Share the insights your trio group discussed with the rest of the class. Build on each other’s ideas.

  • How do you think Swift’s contemporaries reacted to his essay?

The Cloak of Satire


One scholar said Swift “is using the cloak of satire to say what he really means.”

  • Why is satire a cloak? What’s the problem with saying what you really mean? Why is satire effective here?

Open Notebook

Examples of Verbal Irony


Look at “A Modest Proposal” again.

  • Find two important examples of verbal irony, understatement, distortion, or some other satirical strategy. Explain how it works in Swift’s essay.
  • Write a paragraph for each. Explain your choices.

Open Notebook

You will share your homework response in Lesson 14.