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The Age of Reason

"A Modest Proposal": Jonathan SwiftJonathan_Swift_by_Charles_Jervas_detail.jpg

Question #3: Whom does Swift satirize in this piece? Identify three targets of satire from "A Modest Proposal" and provide SPECIFIC examples to prove each assertion.


First of all, Swift satirizes the Irish government. He claims that there are "a vast number of poor people" and "the young laborers, they are now in as hopeful a condition; they cannot find work." Swift goes on to say that the conditions are so horrible, people would even eat their own children to survive. Despite these conditions, the government still remains completely indifferent. The government fails to provide jobs and aid to the ever increasing population of Ireland. Swift states that the politicians have "avoided such a perpetual scene of misfortunes...", and that nothing else has been proposed to attempt to help the economy. Furthermore, Swift satirizes the wealthy people and landlords of Ireland, claiming that "I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title to the children." In this quote, Jonathan Swift is comparing the landlords to cannibals themselves, who figuratively consume the money and possessions away from the lower class parents. Finally, Swift satirizes the sanctity of marriage in his "Modest Proposal", claiming that many people marry for economic reasons rather than love. In the proposal, Swift states that more people will marry due to the economic benefits of having babies, and husbands will not hit their wives, not out of love, but due to the fear of the wife having a miscarriage.

Nothing goes with a fresh-cooked baby than a glass of orange juice?

Our Modest Proposal
With all the talk about Global Warming, you'd think that our planet is detoriating right before our very eyes. Although, what most people fail to recognize are the major benefits of this environmental issue. With rising temperatures, bathing suits will become a year round commodity. There will no longer be any need to spend hundreds of dollars on winter coats and paraphernalia. Or, better yet, why spend money on any clothes at all? With the extremely warm weather, people can just live life completely naked, free from the burdens of clothing. No longer will people have to worry what to wear to school, or spend an enormous sum of money keeping up with the new styles. Extra cash can be spent on more important things, and nonetheless, the needy won't have to worry about saving money for such luxuries as clothing. Also, no longer will you have to spend all that money at a tanning salon. Global warming helps speed up the time it takes to get an all natural tan, and its free!

With the depletion of the ozone layer and increased UV radiation entering our beloved planet, the number of people with skin cancer will skyrocket. But this increase will no doubt be an advantage for our society! With this increase, perhaps more people will be motivated to find the cure for cancer, and save all of those innocent people succumbing to the disease.

And Global Warming will also prove to aid the economy in the housing and development industry! Antarctica, a once barren arctic wasteland, will reach its potential as a thriving new community for much of our increasing population. Once it gets warm enough, Antarctica will be a promising new land to be conquered and developed.

So many people have complained about and mourned the loss of polar bears due to Global Warming, but in the big picture, what good have these monstrosities done us anyway? Clearly, humans fail to recognize the complete danger polar bears pose to us. Polar Bears are killing machines, and would attack any human at the first chance they get. Global Warming will take care of the rest of these beasts that pose such a high threat to the human race.

In all, global warming has many advantages that are constantly being overlooked. However, global warming clearly can help improve the overall quality of life for human beings all over the world!

Polar Bears are EVIL!
Polar Bears are EVIL!

The Rape of the Lock: Alexander Pope
Question #3: The Age of Reason values order, symmetry, and balance. In what way does the style of The Rape of the Lock model Age of Reason values? Use specific examples from the text.
Answer: "The Rape of the Locke" by Alexander Pope, no doubt models the order, symmetry and balance. First of all, the entire piece is written using heroic couplets, which are verse units consisting of two rhymed lines in iambic pentameter. This use of heroic couplets provides a neat, orderly, and melodic flow throughout. The following is an example of a heroic couplet in "The Rape of the Lock":
"What dire offence from am'rous causes springs,
What mighty contests rise from trivial things."
Furthermore, after awaking, Belinda goes through a very strict orderly ritual to get dressed and put on make-up. As Pope explains,she gets ready with "each silver vase in mystic order laid." Pope then goes on to further explain Belinda's extremely regimented ritual, beginning with her lookin into the mirror and ending with a priestess putting a mass of jewelry onto Belinda. The card game played by Belinda in "The Rape of the Lock" also models the Age of Reason Values of order, symmetry, and balance. Card games usually follow a specific order and structure, which one must carefully observe in order to win.

Also, "The Rape of the Lock" uses many comparisons as well as contrasts within the heroic couplets, which provide balance and symmetry. For example, Pope mentions:

"Two Handmaids wait the Throne: Alike in Place,
But diff'ring far in Figure and in Face."

In this quote, Alexander Pope is both comparing and contrasting two handmaids, claiming that both are in a similar position to take over the throne, but look very different. Many other comparisons and contrasts occur throughout the work, creating balance and symmetry.

The Modern High School Dictionary: Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson

Ballin' adj.- 1. to be cool or awesome 2. v.- to be victorious, superior over another person

"Yo, my new ride is ballin'!"
"The score was 45 to 8, we were totally ballin' on the other team!"

-orignates from several rap songs beginning in 2007.

Boo n.- 1. term of affection or endearment for a boyfriend or girlfriend

"Awh, I love you boo."
-came about after people became too lazy to say the entire word

Bounce v.- 1. to exit or depart a location or situation

"Man, this party is so boring...let's bounce!"
-came about in the 1990s, due to the fact that when one bounces a ball to another person, it goes from one location ot another

n.- 1. a love and affection shared by two straight males who are close friends

"My boyfriend is totally in a bromance with his best friend, he would rather go on a date with him than he would with me!"
-became popular after the success of the 2008 MTV television series Bromance

v.- 1. to hang out 2. to relax 3. adj- to be cool or easy going

"Hey girl, we should totally chill this weekend."
"Dude, chill! It's no big deal!"
"Yeah, I'm friends with him, he's a pretty chill kid."

-came about during the Cold War Era when tensions began to increase between the U.S. and Soviet Union.

n.- 1. a person who stalks, follows, or may know things about you

"That kid keeps messaging me on facebook...i don't even know him! He's such a creeper!"
-came about due to the rising popularity of Facebook, to describe a person who constantly looks at other peoples' information

Ill adj.- 1. to be very good, excellent, cool or awesome

"Check out my new nikes, they're so ill."
-came about in the 1990s, origins of the word are linked to the fact that when someone becomes ill, their forehead feels hot (another slang term meaning "in style")

adj.- 1. really or extremely 2. a lot

"Geez, it is mad hot out today!"
"I can't hang out tonight, I have mad homework."

-came about in the 2000s after the words "really" and "very" became mad uncool

1. a person's distinctive style and confident presentation of self

"Check out that boy, he's definitely got some swagger!"

-became popular in 2000s after being used in several successful rap songs. Originated in 1590, when it was recorded in Shakepeare's "Midsummer' Night's Dream"

Tool n.- 1. an uncool person, a loser

"Wow, check out that kid's powder blue tux, he looks like such a tool."
-gained popularity in the 1980s to describe men who have no social graces and an IQ equal to that of a hammer.

ryan-matsuflex-matsunaga.jpg equals.jpg hammer-1.jpg

Addison and Steele


On Female Vanity

In this article, Addison reflects on the contemporary fashion of women and give their feedback on how women present themselves. In their view, nothing is better than a woman in a plain dress, because simplicity in a wardrobe displays the woman’s natural beauty in her body and face. The authors reference the jewelers’ choice of presenting their lovely gemstones in plain black velvet boxes so that nothing will take away from the gems’ inherent beauty. They also note that when women look in the mirror, they try to create a totally different person instead of trying to enhance their own beauty. Addison and Steele think the cause of this is spending too much time in front of the mirror and attending to their work there too diligently. They conclude that since ladies dress to please men, ladies should wear what men think is fashionable for them instead on what they themselves fancy.

This article epitomizes the fact that some things never change. First off, it is just like men to judge women based on their appearance and criticize what they wear, even if women have not made the most fashionable of choices. However, Addison and Steele do bring up the valid point that women should not try too hard to make themselves look beautiful, but rather simply enhance their natural beauty. Girls with overdone make-up and overly thought out outfits can be seen walking down the halls of Emmaus High School everyday. Also a valid point brought up by Addison and Steele, women still spend too much time fussing over what they look like and try to change themselves so much that the end result looks nothing like the original girl. A recent study done in the women’s restrooms of Emmaus High School shows that 100% of girls spend too much time in front of the mirror. If girls spent less time on their appearance and more on their personality, they wouldn’t have nearly as many social issues (Gossip Girl would be Deep Conversation Girl.)

This article relates to the Age of Reason through the authors’ use of rationality and common sense. Addison and Steele laid out their opinions of women by using logic instead of flowering their words up. Some people, especially women, might take offense to this article, but truth hurts sometimes.

On Omens

This article tells the story of the author’s encounter with a superstitious woman at a dinner at his friend’s house. The woman, who was the wife of his friend, had very strange behavior throughout the night because her superstitions took the best of her. First, she discussed a bizarre dream she had the previous night and explained that it meant misfortunes upon the whole family. Next the narrator accidently dropped a salt shaker, and when as it landed in the wife’s direction, she went berserk. After dinner, when the narrator finished using his fork and knife, he placed them on opposite sides of the plate, and the wife asked that they be placed on the same side of the plate. The narrator confessed that from then on, he placed his silverware on the same side of the plate, even though admitting, “I do not know any reason for it.”

This article relates to modern day, though not to the extent that On Female Vanity does. Superstitions are well known and still used today by some people. For example, many tall buildings do not have a thirteenth floor, people cross their fingers or have lucky items to bring them good fortune, and the majority of cats in animal shelters are black. As for the woman in the story, she would most likely be diagnosed with OCD by today’s standards.

Along with On Female Vanity, Addison and Steele employ rationality and common sense in their article, deeming it fit for the Age of Reason. As for the idea of superstitions, the wife of the story exemplifies the Age of Reason principle that man needs to be controlled. Some unknown force is driving the woman to do what she does, and even the narrator admits to not knowing what that force is.

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