APEN 1201 TWAIN AND SWIFT NOTES.docx - TITLE a Comparison...

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TITLE: _________ a Comparison of “Advice to Youth” by Mark Twain and “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift - Compare and contrast two works of satire on the course OR two works of rhetoric. Which work is more effective? (Be sure to explain what, for you, constitutes an “effective” work of satire or rhetoric.) If you are discussing satires, clearly identify the satiric targets and methods. If you are discussing rhetoric, be sure to consider the modes of persuasion and other rhetorical devices employed by the writers/speakers “Advice to Youth” and “A Modest Proposal” are both satires that use the parody to incorporate humour to offer social criticism. Swift parody’s political proposals and criticizes the Similarities between both texts: - They are both parodies Swift parodies political proposals offering a horrendous mock proposal Twain gives us a parody of advice literature or sermon - Both texts are highly ironic, readers must read between the lines, active critical reading is required in order to extract the true meaning of the text - Both use a kind of persona/literary mask Twain is an experienced older person and his persona shifts after the first paragraph. As he offers advice we realize that he is not a morally upstanding wise counsellor who will dispense conventional advice rather he is a mischievous gentleman who dolls out cheeky advice; advises youth to outwit and trick older adults whenever they can The authorial persona that Swift presumes in this text starts by describing the present deplorable state of Ireland and then offers a proposed solution to the problem “The number of souls in this kingdom being usually reckoned one million and a half, of these I calculate there may be about two hundred thousand couple whose wives are breeders; from which number I subtract thirty thousand couple, who are able to maintain their own children, (although I apprehend there cannot be so many, under the present distresses of the kingdom) but this being granted, there will remain an hundred and seventy thousand breeders. I again subtract fifty thousand, for those women who miscarry, or whose children die by accident or disease within the year. There only remain an hundred and twenty thousand children of poor parents annually born. The question therefore is, How this number shall be reared, and provided for?” (Swift) The tone is very rational Author further dehumanizes the Irish by using words like breeders and reared language usually reserved for livestock which foreshadows what he will propose Throughout this mocked sermon, twain’s persona offers the antithesis of conventional and moral wisdom He is satirizing the corruption and immorality of his society
Advice to youth - it is a speech, satires are often humourous - humourous parody of a didactic speech (“didactic”: intended to teach a lesson or provide moral instruction).

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