Satire Essay On Welfare
Form: "City Shower" is in heroic couplets, rhyming pairs of loose iambic pentameter lines (with a few extra syllables tucked in there when necessary.Its style is "mock heroic." For a modern parody of the style, see "Al Pope"'s Swifts "Projector" persona, the Irish poor, and Irish and English readers, in "A Modest Proposal"; in "City Shower," a survey of typical "town" types, rather like the General Prologue of "Canterbury Tales," but concentrating on the new city-scape of the seventeenth century: Susan, the Templar, the "sempstress," Tories, Whigs, and beaux."Description of a City Shower": A city shower ironically levels the pretensions and class differences which ordinarily divide the town's population, even as it exposes the disgusting waste that the new "mode" (viz. All social surfaces suddenly are exposed, from low to high: Susan takes down her linens from the line, Tories and Whigs "forget their feuds, and join to save their wigs" (line 41), etc.(Compare with Dryden's "Annus Mirabilus" which turns a city ruined by the great fire into a rising, angelic ruler of the world.) Be sure to visit the U. E-text of "City Shower" (link above) to see images of the poem's pseudonymous first edition in Joseph Addison's The Tatler, one of England's first periodical publications (i.e., a "magazine").Swift uses savage irony to point out the inhumane condition of the colonized Irish.Near the end, his "Projector" rejects several rational ways to help the poor, strategies Swift, himself, had previously proposed in pamphlets, including the series known as "The Drapier's Letters." Part of the satire's effect derives from the thoroughness with which it works out its basic metaphor equating the English devouring of innocent babies and wealthy absentee landowners devouring the Irish economy.Look closely at the pronoun "we" as it is used in the last paragraph on 2474, or "our merchants" on 2475, and especially "our" in the paragraph about "other expedients" on 2478.
"Projectors," such as the one using socio-economic analysis to solve Ireland's poverty problem, were behind the "Bubble," too.Swift may be more skilled than any other English satirist in the speed with which he leads readers from their comfortable absorption in the "normal truth-telling" discourse to the Projector's sudden descents into foolish (Horatian) or criminal (Juvenalian) assumptions.For an early clue that something is wrong with the Projector's calm description of the socio-economic disaster, see the first sentence's numeric sequence of poor children following their begging mothers from door to door. What does that sequence look like as a graphed curve?Why didn't this satire stop the exploitation of the Irish poor?Remember Sidney's ("Defense of Poesy") assertion that "praxis" (deeds) rather than mere "gnosis" (knowing) was the true test of poetry's powers..Better yet, see the real thing in Goucher's Rare Book Collection!"For preventing the children of poor people in Ireland from being a burden to their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the public." The essay satirically promotes the consumption of one-year-old children to eliminate the growing number of poor citizens in Ireland.In C17 editions of "Modest Proposal" some of the text was italicized in order to emphasis the meaning of these sections. One of the infuriating things about the "Proposer"'s or "Projector"'s voice is its serene rationalism.Usually these sections contained Swifts personal feelings or attitudes toward modern issues of poverty and poverty (esp. All of its rhetoric imitates the ideal C17 public speaker's tone of sweet reason and enlightened concern for the well-being of others. The scariest part of the essay may be when the argument turns to the suggestion that, if the Irish were offered the chance to kill their children, they might prefer it to seeing them grow up in such total poverty (cf. Though the typical student reading of this "proposal" is that the morally bankrupt "Proposer" wishes to sell Irish babies to the absentee English landlords, the narrator specifically points out that this is because "this kind of commodity will not bear exportation, the flesh being of too tender a consistence to admit a long continuance in salt, although I perhaps I could name a country which would be glad to eat up our whole nation without it." That's Swift's closest approach to the "English landlords eating Irish babies" reading, and he turns it into a hypothetical metaphor in the end.This has the effect of literalizing the metaphor as the butchery, sale, and consumption of the "product" are worked out.This also was a satirical strategy we saw in Jonson's because they both use satire to discuss the welfare of society.