Drydenthe Art of Satire916

Drydenthe Art of Satire916

Satire – part 1


  • DrydenThe Art of Satire916
  • SwiftA Modest Proposal1114-18


  • prodigious
  • deplorable
  • rudiment
  • proficiency
  • deference
  • expedient
  • emulation
  • animosity
  • perpetual



  1. Define/explain satire in one of two sentences.
  2. List and explain two statements Dryden makes concerning the skill required and/or the effect of using satire.
  3. Do you agree or disagree with his assertions? Explain.

Swift – Proposal

  1. What is the target of Swift’s satire in the piece?
  2. In “A Modest Proposal,” what issues are of concern to the speaker?
  3. What does the speaker propose to alleviate the problem?
  4. What compassionate phrases can you identify in the paragraph at the bottom of page 1114 that begins “There is likewise another great advantage in my scheme…”?
  5. What tone is conveyed by the speaker’s mathematical calculations in the next paragraph on page 115 beginning “The number of souls in this kingdom…”?
  6. On the basis of the advice of the “American acquaintance,” what can you conclude about what stereotype the British might have had of the Americans in 1729?
  7. In the next paragraph, what is the effect of his use of the phrase, “for breed”? What does he mean?
  8. What is your reaction to the speaker’s statement about “landlords, who…have already devoured most of the parents”? (top of 1116)
  9. Based on the next paragraph, what prejudices does the speaker have about Roman Catholics?
  10. Based on the fifth paragraph on page 1116, what inference can you make about the intensity of Swift’s feelings against the landowners in Ireland?
  11. Look for irony in the final paragraph on page 1116.
  12. Whom does the speaker call the enemy in the fourth paragraph of page 1117 beginning “For first…”? Whom does he praise? Does Swift agree with what he’s saying? Who is really being criticized here?
  13. What is Swift satirizing in the phrase “the goods being entirely of our own growth and manufacture”?
  14. Explain the irony of the speaker’s claim that his plan would make mothers more caring and husbands fonder of their wives. What real prejudice, satirized here by Swift, underlies the obviously tongue-in-cheek claim?
  15. What effect is the speaker trying to create by listing the advantages of the proposal?
  16. IN the next to the last paragraph on page 1118 beginning with “Supposing that one thousand families…”, what inferences can you make from the speaker’s comment that the product would be sold cheaper in “the rest of the kingdom” (that is, in England)?
  17. What might be the speaker’s source for the “other expedients” he lists?
  18. To what country is the speaker referring when he says he “could name a country which would be glad to eat up our whole nation”?
  19. Whom or what is Swift actually satirizing in this whole essay?
  20. Why does the speaker claim that some of the poor might “think it a great happiness” to have been sold at a year old for the purpose of his plan?
  21. Why does the speaker mention that he has no children of his won that he could use in this plan at the end of the essay?
  22. What was your first reaction to the speaker’s suggestions? Do you think this was Swift’s intention?
  23. How is the title of this piece an example of verbal irony?
  24. What type of satire is this piece? Horatian or Juvenalian? Explain.
  25. Looking beyond the satire of the piece, what do you think Swift actually feels?

CP Eng 12Mellen 2013