Thursday, October 22, 2015

An Introduction to Satire as Argument: "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift

Here's the text of "A Modest Proposal" with helpful footnotes. (The footnotes were added by an organization called "readthinkwrite".)

Consider the SOAPSToneS elements of rhetorical discourse:
speaker, occasion, audience, purpose, subject, tone, style.

1. Take SOAPSTone notes*. (Identify and explore the significance of speaker, occasion, audience, purpose, subject, and tone in the text. Explore the significance means write several thoughtful sentences that interpret the element and make direct references to the text.) Bring your notes (in sentence form) to class tomorrow.

2. While preparing your SOAPSTone notes pay particular attention to how all of the elements contribute to the purpose. In your notes include at least three direction quotations (each from a different part of the text) that helped you figure out Swift's** purpose***.
* WARNING: Stay on your toes, so to speak. Be careful not to take speaker, purpose, and tone at face value. (For example, consider the possibility that the speaker may not present the author's sincere ideas. Then, consider the "purpose" of having the speaker present those ideas.)

**Note on the author: Jonathan Swift (1667-1744) was an Anglo-Irish clergyman, satirist, and poet . He published "A Modest Proposal" as an anonymous pamphlet in 1729.

***David Cody of Hartwick College offers some relevant context that might help you better understand the complex relationship of speaker, occasion, audience, and purpose in "A Modest Proposal".

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