A modest Proposal



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Your Own Modest Proposal Essay Assignment

Assignment: After reading Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal,” write your own half-serious satirical solution to a problem in modern American society.

Some specifics: Your essay should be at least 3 pages, double-spaced. Use at least one outside source in your essay- this can be a book, magazine, Internet site, video, etc. Properly cite your source(s) at the end of your essay. It should have a structure similar to Swift’s essay, should contain a similarly sarcastic tone, and should implement some (if not all) of the four major satirical techniques: exaggeration, incongruity, parody, and reversal.

Process:

  1. Read and analyze Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal.” Note the structure and tone of the essay, as well as Swift’s use of satirical techniques.

  2. Brainstorm societal problems that you might want to address (i.e. the famine in Ireland, which Swift addresses). Your problem should be something that impacts our nation’s society as a whole, so don’t pick something that only applies to North Mecklenburg High.

  3. Outline and write your essay. You may feel free to add additional paragraphs where appropriate, but your essay should follow the basic model below:

    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. Paragraph 1: A clear first paragraph that contains an indelible image of your societal problem. (Swift’s image in his first paragraph is that of the mother with six children dressed in rags begging for alms. Try to include an image of your problem that elicits the readers’ sympathies in a similar way.)

    3. Paragraph 2: A paragraph description of your shocking solution. (This is like the paragraph in which Swift talks “delicious and nourishing” babies.)

    4. Paragraph 3: A list of six clearly labeled “logical reasons” for why your solution would work. (Label your sentences “firstly,” “secondly,” “thirdly,” as Swift does.)

    5. Paragraph 4: An italicized paragraph describing your response to the opposition’s argument. (Note Swift’s italicized paragraphs for guidance on this.)

    6. Paragraph 5: Conclusion.

  4. Write a brief (one-paragraph) meta-cognitive reflection about how you came up with your ideas and modeled your essay after Swift’s.

Assignment: After reading Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal,” write your own half-serious satirical solution to a problem in modern American society.

Some specifics: Your essay should be at least 3 pages, double-spaced. Use at least one outside source in your essay- this can be a book, magazine, Internet site, video, etc. Properly cite your source(s) at the end of your essay. It should have a structure similar to Swift’s essay, should contain a similarly sarcastic tone, and should implement some (if not all) of the four major satirical techniques: exaggeration, incongruity, parody, and reversal.

Process:

  1. Read and analyze Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal.” Note the structure and tone of the essay, as well as Swift’s use of satirical techniques.

  2. Brainstorm societal problems that you might want to address (i.e. the famine in Ireland, which Swift addresses). Your problem should be something that impacts our nation’s society as a whole, so don’t pick something that only applies to North Mecklenburg High.

  3. Outline and write your essay. You may feel free to add additional paragraphs where appropriate, but your essay should follow the basic model below:

    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. Paragraph 1: A clear first paragraph that contains an indelible image of your societal problem. (Swift’s image in his first paragraph is that of the mother with six children dressed in rags begging for alms. Try to include an image of your problem that elicits the readers’ sympathies in a similar way.)

    3. Paragraph 2: A paragraph description of your shocking solution. (This is like the paragraph in which Swift talks “delicious and nourishing” babies.)

    4. Paragraph 3: A list of six clearly labeled “logical reasons” for why your solution would work. (Label your sentences “firstly,” “secondly,” “thirdly,” as Swift does.)

    5. Paragraph 4: An italicized paragraph describing your response to the opposition’s argument. (Note Swift’s italicized paragraphs for guidance on this.)

    6. Paragraph 5: Conclusion.

  4. Write a brief (one-paragraph) meta-cognitive reflection about how you came up with your ideas and modeled your essay after Swift’s.

Student’s Name: _____________________________________________________________________

Due Date: ___________________________________

Grading Rubric (Please attach to your assignment when you hand it in):




Your Score

Possible Points

Subtitle




10

P1: Indelible Image




15

P2: Shocking Solution




15

P3: “Logical” Reasons




15

P4: Opponent’s Argument




15

P5: Conclusion




15

Meta-cognitive




15

Extra Credit




5

Total Score




100


Note on Extra Credit: Up to five points of extra credit will be awarded for your use of elevated vocabulary – like “melancholy” and “prodigious,” both of which Swift uses in his first few paragraphs.
Comments:


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