A Modest Proposal Summary: An Overview of the Plot
In A Modest Proposal, Jonathan Swift tries to help solve the food shortage problem in Ireland by providing the proposal of consuming babies. He starts by mourning the fate of the Irish who struggle to find food for their children.
He calculates that only around a hundred thousand children have to be eaten. Children would be sold to meat markets while as young as a year old, and their low-income families would receive a substantial income. He goes further to state that he had a friend who knew recipes on how the meal would be made. The author is keen and even provides the weight of a child and how many guests they would serve.
Furthermore, raising the children as a source of food will provide a substantial boost to their economy. This is because there will be fewer occupants in Ireland. A reduction in population has made it easier for great England to control its subjects since the unruly individuals will be easier to find and punish. For those with doubts about the plan working, he brings the argument that one should ask parents whether they would prefer having to deal with a difficult and constantly crying child or some money.
He provides the angle that this practice of the sale of children and eating them will bear positive fruits. Some examples he highlights are: That wives will receive more respect from their husbands. Also, he believes that parents will also value children in some ways that are still unknown. He supports that his proposal is the solution to the complex economic, social, and political problems, better than any of the proposed measures.
As a way of showing that he is not biased, he would consider profiting from his children in this way except that they are too old and would not fetch him much money.