Modest Proposal Satire Emulation

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“A Modest Proposal” Satirical Emulation
Objective: To create your own Modest Proposal, ala Swift.
1. 25-30 word subtitle. Your essay should be called “A Modest Proposal,” but the subtitle should flesh
out what societal problem you are trying to solve (without giving away your “shocking” element).
(Swift’s full title is “A Modest Proposal 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.” Shoot
for something like that.)
2. Choose a social institution or problem that you could write a satirical essay about. Some suggestions
include politics, school, fashion, relationships, or religion; however, you should narrow your topic to
something very specific, like overpopulation. Be careful about the topic you select and your manners.
For example, if you are seriously encouraging hatred for or violence against another race, religion,
nationality, or belief system, your essay will be inappropriate. State the problem.
3. Come up with an outrageous solution to your problem. Much like Swift’s suggestion that we eat
babies to solve the problem of starving children, you must come up with a suggestion that is over the
top and totally impractical, but treat it as the most rational solution ever.
4. Remember how Swift outlines or enumerates the advantages to his solution of eating babies? Include
an enumerated list of the advantages to your solution and explain them.
5. Remember how Swift brought up good solutions but insisted that they would not work? Include
realistic solutions to your problem that could work in the real world. You want to call attention to a
problem you want to be solved, so without realistic solutions, your essay is pointless. However, in the
essay, you will be treating these good solutions as weak or ridiculous solutions.
6. Your goal is to model Swift’s tone and style. He sounds very logical, serious, and straight forward
about a proposal that he has no intention of being enacted. You should strive to do the same.
7. At the bottom of your draft, include a typed paragraph explaining the overall meaning and purpose of
your satire, including an explanation of the rhetorical effect/ purpose in the essay. What are you
trying to accomplish? Why do you think you were effective?
Modest Proposal/ Satirical Essay Rubric
Category
Task
Write a satire
seemingly endorsing
a outrageous
solution to a
problem, but in
reality criticizing the
issue through
language and tone
Structure &
Organization
Satire includes all
elements of effective
satire (problem,
satirical solution,
advantages, real
solution)
Language
Clear, coherent, and
purposeful. Tone is
used to enhance
satirical solution and
denounce real
solution
Effective (A)
Competent (B)
Limited (C)
Inadequate (D)
Clear, consistent
focus on task
Clear, but less
consistent focus on
task
Vague or
inconsistent focus
Often unclear,
inconsistent, or
off topic
Effective control to
communicate
complexity of
argument
Control shows
ability to express
ideas clearly
Some control but
may be vague or
formulaic
Inadequate
control,
confusing or
unclear
Precise and
sophisticated use of
language
Clear use of
language
Errors, at times,
interfere with
meaning
Perceptive,
compelling
Reasonable,
convincing
Superficial or
generalized
Point/Purpose
Communicates
insight about the
topic through
critiques, satirical
language and tone,
evidence, structure,
etc.
Reflection
Paragraph
Comments:
Grade: _______________
Yes
Redo
Accumulation of
errors that
create
incoherence
Oversimplified,
misconstrued, or
absent
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