“It is a melancholly Object to those, who walk through this great Town, or travel in the Country, when they see the Streets, the Roads, and Cabbin-Doors, crowded with Beggars of the female Sex, followed by three, four, or six Children, all in Rags, and importuning every Passenger for an Alms. These Mothers instead of being able to work for their honest livelyhood, are forced to employ all their time in Stroling, to beg Sustenance for their helpless Infants, who, as they grow up either turn Thieves for want of work, or leave their dear native Country to fight for the Pretender in Spain, 2  or sell themselves to the Barbadoes.”

The author first starts out by adding imagery to this opening paragraph. He points out what one might see while walking through the streets of Ireland on a typical day: “the streets, the roads and cabin-doors, crowded with beggars of the female sex.” He makes it a point that these beggars are mothers with many kids to add to his overall proposal of making use of these kids that he reveals later in the story. He uses strong verbs like “forced ” and fight to convey the idea that these mothers have no choice. This is the only method they have to make an income. Using adjectives like “melancholy” and “helpless” add to the incapability of the mothers and provides an ambience that promotes that. He first lays out the actions of the mothers, and then the outcome of the children to evoke an emotion from the audience. He wants them to feel pity for the mothers and their children to ultimately persuade them into believing that his proposal is a good idea. In this way he is using Pathos to convey his idea.

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3 Responses to

  1. Lindsey Grubbs says:

    Nice–you’ve picked out really specific words and phrases and do a good reading of their implications. Swift’s sentences are notable in their length and number of clauses–we get so many commas and turns to the grammar of each. Can you make something of that?

  2. A.J. Jackson-Sherrod says:

    The second sentence demonstrates a cause and effect. Because these mothers beg their children grow up to be “thieves” or “leave their dear native country to fight for the pretender in Spain.” The author uses the length of the sentence and commas to demonstrate that cause and effect. He also uses the length to show the different options of how the mothers make their money and what could happen to their infants as they grow up.

  3. Lindsey Grubbs says:

    Good details in here. A little more explication would help the reader–for instance, why would a long sentence show cause and effect? How do commas add to that? But you’re on the right track.

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