Determining The Purpose Of Swift's Essay

Determining The Purpose Of Swift's Essay

Examples of Verbal Irony


Look back at the homework assignment you did from Lesson 12 about satirical strategies in “A Modest Proposal.” Do the following with a partner.

  • Share one of the points you made.
  • Is there anything you missed in your own text that your partner can help you add? The closer the look and the more detailed your analysis, the better!

Then discuss with your classmates:

  • What were some interesting satirical strategies you noticed?
  • What are lines that you can point to that used these strategies?

You can take notes on your classmates’ findings, so you have good examples of different strategies.

Satirical Tone Scale

Work Time

Imagine that you have a scale to measure the satirical tone of writing with Horatian on one side and Juvenalian on the other.

  • Is your partner’s writing more Juvenalian or Horatian?
  • Where would you put Swift’s essay on the satirical tone scale? Why?

Swift Essay on Scale

Work Time

Write a response to the following prompt.

  • Why did you put the Swift essay where you did on the scale? How does it compare to Juvenal himself? Or Gordimer’s story? Identify one or two sentences that support your thinking.

Open Notebook

Then discuss your response with your classmates.

Vocabulary in A Modest Proposal

Work Time

Note any unknown words in “A Modest Proposal.”

  • Work with a partner to look up definitions and rewrite them in your own words.

Open Notebook

Targets of Satire


In the next episode, you’ll take a look at various targets of satire through the ages. These are groups that have been frequently satirized, in the past as well as the present. They include women, romantic love, parenting, and education.

  • Read or skim at least two of the texts for the target groups. The texts can be found in the Topic Readings and Independent Readings sections of More to Explore, and include the following options:
    • “The Dissection of a Beau’s Head” by Joseph Addison
    • “Soccer Crazy”
    • “Best College Essay”
    • “The History Teacher” by Billy Collins
    • The Misanthrope by Molière
    • Prologue to The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
    • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Targets of Satire


Choose the target of satire you want to study before the next lesson.

  • Read or skim the texts for each target group to help you decide which target group you’d like to study in the next episode.
  • If you have another idea for a target group and want to do your own research to come up with sources, that works too!