Monday, November 28, 2011

A Modest Proposal

I have identified the use of the three modes, pathos, ethos and logos in A Modest Proposal, by Jonathan Swift.

Pathos - emotion - " It is a melancholy object to those, who walk through this great
town, or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the
roads and cabbin-doors crowded with beggars of the female sex,
followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags, and
importuning every passenger for an alms. These mothers instead of
being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to
employ all their time in stroling to beg sustenance for their
helpless infants who, as they grow up, either turn thieves for
want of work, or leave their dear native country, to fight for
the Pretender in Spain, or sell themselves to the Barbadoes."
Swift describes the emotion of melancholy which is felt when walking through the streets of Dublin. He describes how these poor beggar children follow their mothers and the mothers are often forced to do miserable things in order to sustain their poor little children.

Logos - Logic - "I have already computed the charge of nursing a beggar’s child
(in which list I reckon all cottagers, labourers, and four-fifths
of the farmers) to be about two shillings per annum, rags
included; and I believe no gentleman would repine to give ten
shillings for the carcass of a good fat child, which, as I have
said, will make four dishes of excellent nutritive meat, when he
hath only some particular friend, or his own family to dine with
him. Thus the squire will learn to be a good landlord, and grow
popular among his tenants, the mother will have eight shillings
neat profit, and be fit for work till she produces another child.
Those who are more thrifty (as I must confess the times require)
may flea the carcass; the skin of which, artificially dressed,
will make admirable gloves for ladies, and summer boots for fine
gentlemen." 
Clearly, Swift is using pure logic to determine how much it will cost in order to raise a "beggar's child" thriftily.He is not using emotion or authority but simply stating the cold hard facts. 

Ethos - authority - "But in order to justify my friend, he confessed, that this
expedient was put into his head by the famous Salmanaazor, a
native of the island Formosa, who came from thence to London,
above twenty years ago, and in conversation told my friend, that
in his country, when any young person happened to be put to
death, the executioner sold the carcass to persons of quality, as
a prime dainty; and that, in his time, the body of a plump girl
of fifteen, who was crucified for an attempt to poison the
Emperor, was sold to his imperial majesty’s prime minister of
state, and other great mandarins of the court in joints from the
gibbet, at four hundred crowns." 
Swift is clearly quoting this scholar Salmanaazor and is following his example. He is using the form "According to Salmanaazor," and therefore is using ethos because he is following the authority of the scholar. 


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