A Modest Proposal
A Modest Proposal For preventing the Children of Poor People From being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, For making them Beneficial to the Publick referred to as A Modest Proposal, is a Juvenalian satirical essay written and published anonymously by Jonathan Swift in 1729. The essay suggests that the impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food for rich gentlemen and ladies; this satirical hyperbole mocked heartless attitudes towards the poor, as well as British policy toward the Irish in general. In English writing, the phrase "a modest proposal" is now conventionally an allusion to this style of straight-faced satire; this essay is held to be one of the greatest examples of sustained irony in the history of the English language. Much of its shock value derives from the fact that the first portion of the essay describes the plight of starving beggars in Ireland, so that the reader is unprepared for the surprise of Swift's solution when he states: "A young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, baked, or boiled.
He uses methods of argument throughout his essay which lampoon the then-influential William Petty and the social engineering popular among followers of Francis Bacon. These lampoons include appealing to the authority of "a knowing American of my acquaintance in London" and "the famous Psalmanazar, a native of the island Formosa". In the tradition of Roman satire, Swift introduces the reforms he is suggesting by paralipsis: Therefore let no man talk to me of other expedients: Of taxing our absentees at five shillings a pound: Of using neither clothes, nor household furniture, except what is of our own growth and manufacture: Of utterly rejecting the materials and instruments that promote foreign luxury: Of curing the expensiveness of pride, vanity and gaming in our women: Of introducing a vein of parsimony and temperance: Of learning to love our country, wherein we differ from Laplanders, the inhabitants of Topinamboo: Of quitting our animosities and factions, nor acting any longer like the Jews, who were murdering one another at the moment their city was taken: Of being a little cautious not to sell our country and consciences for nothing: Of teaching landlords to have at least one degree of mercy towards their tenants.
Lastly, of putting a spirit of honesty and skill into our shop-keepers, who, if a resolution could now be taken to buy only our native goods, would unite to cheat and exact upon us in the price, the measure, the goodness, nor could yet be brought to make one fair proposal of just dealing and earnestly invited to it. Therefore I repeat, let no man talk to me of these and the like expedients,'till he hath at least some glympse of hope, that there will be some hearty and sincere attempt to put them into practice. George Wittkowsky argued that Swift's main target in A Modest Proposal was not the conditions in Ireland, but rather the can-do spirit of the times that led people to devise a number of illogical schemes that would purportedly solve social and economic ills. Swift was attacking projects that tried to fix population and labour issues with a simple cure-all solution. A memorable example of these sorts of schemes "involved the idea of running the poor through a joint-stock company". In response, Swift's Modest Proposal was "a burlesque of projects concerning the poor" that were in vogue during the early 18th century.
A Modest Proposal targets the calculating way people perceived the poor in designing their projects. The pamphlet targets reformers who "regard people as commodities". In the piece, Swift adopts the "technique of a political arithmetician" to show the utter ridiculousness of trying to prove any proposal with dispassionate statistics. Critics differ about Swift's intentions in using this faux-mathematical philosophy. Edmund Wilson argues that statistically "the logic of the'Modest proposal' can be compared with defence of crime in which he argues that crime takes care of the superfluous population". Wittkowsky counters that Swift's satiric use of statistical analysis is an effort to enhance his satire that "springs from a spirit of bitter mockery, not from the delight in calculations for their own sake". Charles K. Smith argues that Swift's rhetorical style persuades the reader to detest the speaker and pity the Irish. Swift's specific strategy is twofold, using a "trap" to create sympathy for the Irish and a dislike of the narrator who, in the span of one sentence, "details vividly and with rhetorical emphasis the grinding poverty" but feels emotion for members of his own class.
Swift's use of gripping details of poverty and his narrator's cool approach towards them create "two opposing points of view" that "alienate the reader unconsciously, from a narrator who can view with'melancholy' detachment a subject that Swift has directed us, rhetorically, to see in a much less detached way."Swift has his proposer further degrade the Irish by using language ordinarily reserved for animals. Lewis argues. Once the children have been commodified, Swift's rhetoric can turn "people into animals meat, from meat, into tonnage worth a price per pound". Swift uses the proposer's serious tone to highlight the absurdity of his proposal. In mak
In language, a clause is the smallest grammatical unit that can express a complete proposition. A typical clause consists of a subject and a predicate, the latter a verb phrase, a verb with any objects and other modifiers. However, the subject is sometimes not said or explicit the case in null-subject languages if the subject is retrievable from context, but it sometimes occurs in other languages such as English. A simple sentence consists of a single finite clause with a finite verb, independent. More complex sentences may contain multiple clauses. Main clauses are those. Subordinate clauses are those that would be incomplete if they were alone. A primary division for the discussion of clauses is the distinction between main clauses and subordinate clauses. A main clause can stand alone, i.e. it can constitute a complete sentence by itself. A subordinate clause, in contrast, is reliant on the appearance of a main clause. A second major distinction concerns the difference between non-finite clauses.
A finite clause contains a structurally central finite verb, whereas the structurally central word of a non-finite clause is a non-finite verb. Traditional grammar focuses on finite clauses, the awareness of non-finite clauses having arisen much in connection with the modern study of syntax; the discussion here focuses on finite clauses, although some aspects of non-finite clauses are considered further below. Clauses can be classified according to a distinctive trait, a prominent characteristic of their syntactic form; the position of the finite verb is one major trait used for classification, the appearance of a specific type of focusing word is another. These two criteria overlap to an extent, which means that no single aspect of syntactic form is always decisive in determining how the clause functions. There are, strong tendencies. Standard SV-clauses are the norm in English, they are declarative. The pig has not yet been fed. - Declarative clause, standard SV order I've been hungry for two hours.
- Declarative clause, standard SV order...that I've been hungry for two hours. - Declarative clause, standard SV order, but functioning as a subordinate clause due to the appearance of the subordinator thatDeclarative clauses like these are by far the most occurring type of clause in any language. They can be viewed as other clause types being derived from them. Standard SV-clauses can be interrogative or exclamative, given the appropriate intonation contour and/or the appearance of a question word, e.g. a. The pig has not yet been fed? - Rising intonation on fed makes the clause a yes/no-question.b. The pig has not yet been fed! - Spoken forcefully, this clause is exclamative.c. You've been hungry for how long? - Appearance of interrogative word how and rising intonation make the clause a constituent questionExamples like these demonstrate that how a clause functions cannot be known based on a single distinctive syntactic criterion. SV-clauses are declarative, but intonation and/or the appearance of a question word can render them interrogative or exclamative.
Verb first clauses in English play one of three roles: 1. They express a yes/no-question via subject–auxiliary inversion, 2, they express a condition as an embedded clause, or 3. They express a command via e.g. a. He must stop laughing. - Standard declarative SV-clause b. Should he stop laughing? - Yes/no-question expressed by verb first order c. Had he stopped laughing... - Condition expressed by verb first order d. Stop laughing! - Imperative formed with verb first ordera. They have done the job. - Standard declarative SV-clause b. Have they done the job? - Yes/no-question expressed by verb first order c. Had they done the job... - Condition expressed by verb first order d. Do the job! - Imperative formed with verb first orderMost verb first clauses are main clauses. Verb first conditional clauses, must be classified as embedded clauses because they cannot stand alone. Wh-clauses contain a wh-word. Wh-words serve to help express a constituent question, they are prevalent, though, as relative pronouns, in which case they serve to introduce a relative clause and are not part of a question.
The wh-word focuses a particular constituent and most of the time, it appears in clause-initial position. The following examples illustrate standard interrogative wh-clauses; the b-sentences are direct questions, the c-sentences contain the corresponding indirect questions: a. Sam likes the meat. - Standard declarative SV-clause b. Who likes the meat? - Matrix interrogative wh-clause focusing on the subject c. They asked. - Embedded interrogative wh-clause focusing on the subjecta. Larry sent Susan to the store. - Standard declarative SV-clause b. Whom did Larry send to the store? - Matrix interrogative wh-clause focusing on the object, subject-auxiliary inversion present c. We know. - Embedded wh-clause focusing on the object, subject-auxiliary inversion absenta. Larry sent Susan to the store. - Standard declarative SV-clause b. Where did Larry send Susan? - Matrix interrogative wh-clause focusing on the ob
The Elements of Style
The Elements of Style is a prescriptive American English writing style guide in numerous editions. The original was composed by William Strunk Jr. in 1918, published by Harcourt in 1920, comprising eight "elementary rules of usage", ten "elementary principles of composition", "a few matters of form", a list of 49 "words and expressions misused", a list of 57 "words misspelled". E. B. White enlarged and revised the book for publication by Macmillan in 1959; that was the first edition of the so-called "Strunk & White", which Time named in 2011 as one of the 100 best and most influential books written in English since 1923. Cornell University English professor William Strunk Jr. wrote The Elements of Style in 1918 and published it in 1919, for use at the university. He and editor Edward A. Tenney revised it for publication as The Elements and Practice of Composition. In 1957 the style guide reached the attention of E. B. White at The New Yorker. White had studied writing under Strunk in 1919 but had since forgotten "the little book" that he described as a "forty-three-page summation of the case for cleanliness and brevity in the use of English".
Weeks White wrote a feature story about Strunk's devotion to lucid English prose. Macmillan and Company subsequently commissioned White to revise The Elements for a 1959 edition. White's expansion and modernization of Strunk and Tenney's 1935 revised edition yielded the writing style manual informally known as "Strunk & White", the first edition of which sold about two million copies in 1959. More than ten million copies of three editions were sold. Mark Garvey relates the history of the book in Stylized: A Slightly Obsessive History of Strunk & White's The Elements of Style. Maira Kalman, who provided the illustrations for The Elements of Style Illustrated, asked Nico Muhly to compose a cantata based on the book, it was performed at the New York Public Library in October 2005. In The Elements of Style, William Strunk concentrated on specific questions of usage—and the cultivation of good writing—with the recommendation "Make every word tell"; the book frames this within a triplet credited to an influential lecturer: Omit needless words Use active voice Use parallel construction on concepts that are parallel The 1959 edition features White's expansions of preliminary sections, the "Introduction" essay, the concluding chapter, "An Approach to Style", a broader, prescriptive guide to writing in English.
He produced the second and third editions of The Elements of Style, by which time the book's length had extended to 85 pages. The third edition of The Elements of Style features 54 points: a list of common word-usage errors; the final reminder, the 21st, "Prefer the standard to the offbeat", is thematically integral to the subject of The Elements of Style, yet does stand as a discrete essay about writing lucid prose. To write well, White advises writers to have the proper mind-set, that they write to please themselves, that they aim for "one moment of felicity", a phrase by Robert Louis Stevenson, thus Strunk's 1918 recommendation: Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts; this requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that he make every word tell.
Strunk Jr. no longer has a comma in his name in the 1979 and editions, due to the modernized style recommendation about punctuating such names. The fourth edition of The Elements of Style, published 54 years after Strunk's death, omits his stylistic advice about masculine pronouns: "unless the antecedent is or must be feminine". In its place, the following sentence has been added: "many writers find the use of the generic he or his to rename indefinite antecedents limiting or offensive." Further, the re-titled entry "They. He or She", in Chapter IV: Misused Words and Expressions, advises the writer to avoid an "unintentional emphasis on the masculine". Components new to the fourth edition include a foreword by Roger Angell, stepson of E. B. White, an afterword by the American cultural commentator Charles Osgood, a glossary, an index. Five years the fourth edition text was re-published as The Elements of Style Illustrated, with illustrations by the designer Maira Kalman; this edition excludes the afterword by Charles Osgood and restores the first edition chapter on spelling.
The Elements of Style was listed as one of the 100 best and most influential books written in English since 1923 by Time in its 2011 list. Upon its release, Charles Poor, writing for The New York Times, called it "a splendid trophy for all who are interested in reading and writing." American poet Dorothy Parker has, regarding the book, said:If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second-greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first-greatest, of course, is to shoot them now. Criticism of Strunk & White has focused on claims that it has a prescriptivist nature, or that it has become a general anachronism in the face of modern English usage. In criticizing The Elements of Style, Geoffrey Pullum, professor of linguistics at the University of Edinburgh