A Modest Proposal

A Modest Proposal

What Shocked You?


Complete a Quick Write.

  • Describe a book, film, story, speech, or show that shocked you.
  • What might be the result of shocking your audience? Can this backfire?

Open Notebook

Then discuss your response with your classmates.

Poverty in 18th-Century Ireland

Work Time

Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” is concerned with 18th-century Ireland.

  • To better understand this important essay, read about 18th-century Ireland and the economic conditions there.

You Have a Choice
You can choose whether to read and think about the text independently, with a partner, or in a small group. Or request a conference with your teacher. If possible, listen to the text being read.

A Modest Proposal

Work Time

This, of course, is an essay written in a somewhat strange way. It’s not at all what it appears to be!

Discuss the following with your classmates.

  • What does Swift appear to argue as you begin reading the essay?
  • Can you cite any evidence from the essay that supports this thinking?
  • What do you think he’s really arguing?
  • Again, is there any evidence that supports your thinking?

A Modest Passage


Look at “A Modest Proposal” again.

  • Identify one piece of the text from Swift’s essay that you found especially interesting, moving, or horrific and annotate it.
  • Share the example and a sentence on why you chose the passage for your classmates to read.

A Modest Comment


Look at your classmates’ passages from “A Modest Proposal.”

  • Comment on at least two of the passages.