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Poverty Analysis

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Poverty deeply affects those involved. Both Jo Goodwin Parker (“What is Poverty?”) and Jonathan Swift (“A Modest Proposal 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”) employ strategies that call attention to the horrors of poverty, although they speak of two different time periods and locations. After reading both authors’ views on the subject of poverty and what can be done, if anything, to help the matter, it is clear which author more effectively delivers a plea to the audience for the abolishment of poverty. Jo Goodwin Parker delivers a much more effective plea to the audience for the abolishment of poverty and a much more realistic one, too.

In “What is Poverty?” Jo Goodwin Parker uses creative, “outside-the-box” thinking when discussing the topic of abolishing poverty. She does not offer a planned, statistical solution, but instead, has an arguably better and definitely more realistic idea. Her belief is that people just need to listen to those in need, rather than feel bad for the people suffering in poverty. Parker just wants her audience to listen and try to understand. She does not want anybody’s pity for her situation, or anybody else who lives in poverty. “I cannot use your pity. Listen with understanding. Put yourself in my dirty, worn out, ill-fitting shoes, and hear me” (1). Parker is asking her audience to listen. She does not want anybody to feel bad for her or anybody else in a situation like hers. Her position on the matter is simple. The less poverty is talked about, the less poverty there will be. Although not statistically true, she is right indeed. This viewpoint offers a unique perspective on poverty, as it offers a realistic way to mentally abolish it as whole.

On the other hand, Jonathan Swift’s plan for abolishment is completely unrealistic. Swift believes that a certain percentage of children should be reserved for breed. “I do therefore humbly offer it to public consideration that of the hundred and twenty thousand children, already computed, twenty thousand may be reserved for breed, whereof only one fourth part to be males, which is more than we allow to sheep, black cattle, or swine; and my reason is that these children are seldom the fruits of marriage, a circumstance not much regarded by our savages, therefore one male will be sufficient to serve four females” (419). Is this guy serious? Breed children? In order for a plea to be successful in abolishing poverty, it must first be realistic, and Jo Goodwin Parker’s plea is.

Jo Goodwin Parker is very realistic and understands that poverty will not ever be completely abolished, let alone a good portion of it. She takes this into consideration and because of this, does not waste any time in getting to her point. People in poverty need to vent, need to be listened to, and when done, need the listener to not feel any sort of pity for them. “Others like me are all around you. Look at us with an angry heart, anger that will help. Anger that will let you tell of me. The poor are always silent. Can you be silent, too?” (3). Parker is so effective in her plea because her perspective on the topic is so different then what one would expect. Her plan is not based off statistics, but is in mental and moral, and arguably genius. Poverty needs to not be discussed. It needs to be silenced and that is what Parker is trying to tell the world. On the contrary, Jonathan Swift not only thinks poverty should be discussed more, but he thinks his unrealistic plan of stopping is some sort of genius, amazing idea that no one ever thought of.

Swift’s ideas are not only exaggerated, but they are morally disturbing. “I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked or boiled, and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout” (418). This guy cannot be serious. His ideas are laughable. Swift is proposing that young children should be breaded, and furthermore, determines the appropriate age to “cook a child.” That proposition is not only remarkable, but flat out ignorant. Rather than exaggerate and come up with a completely irrational solution, Jo Goodwin Parker offers a totally realistic and mentally ideal solution to abolish poverty. People need to stop talking about it.

Jo Goodwin Parker delivers a much more effective plea to the audience for the abolishment of poverty and a much more realistic one, too. Not only is she direct in describing his solution to abolish poverty, but she is also very simple, too. Silence is what is needed to abolish poverty and she is right. The poor do not want to talk about their situation, and neither should we. Jonathan Swift does not relate any realistic idea to abolish poverty, while Parker does. Parker not only more effectively delivers her plea on destroying poverty in full, but she keeps it real and simple in her proposition, as well.

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