Grammatical Principles

Swift's Attitude and Irony

Work Time

Look again at the first sentence of the opening paragraph and answer the following questions.

  • “It” is the subject, but what is the “melancholy object” that “It” is?
  • Whom are “those” referring to? How does the reader know they are different from the melancholy objects that they see?
  • What in this sentence provides evidence of Swift’s attitude toward both “those who walk through this great town” and the “objects” they see? Particularly note:
    • How “great town” fits with what the reader sees.
    • Why Swift uses the word object to describe the beggars .
    • Other word choices Swift makes.
  • What kinds of irony can you find here, and does Swift’s use of irony suggest anything about his attitude?

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