Duality Jonathan Swift and Mary Wollstonecraft Term Paper

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Jonathan Swift and Mary Wollstonecraft were both consummate social commentators on the duality of power and oppression. Through the analysis of two of their works, namely, Swift's a Modest Proposal and Wollstonecraft's a Vindication of the Right of Women one can see an easy assimilation of the challenges that such minds made to the disproportionate balance between the powerful and the oppressed. In fact each offers a differing view of the powerful as the greatest evil in the world. Swift through sarcasm, indicting the wealthy and powerful as mock heartless and capable of almost anything to retain control, and Wollstonecraft by directly annihilating the wealthy and powerful for openly subjugating fifty percent of the human population (women) as a measure of fashion and power over those that he sees as lesser than himself. Wollstonecraft is not only talking about women's oppression but about the extreme and hurtful traditions of the duality of power and oppression as it appears repeatedly and oppresses all of man, by not allowing the full expression of knowledge to build the culture. Secondly, Swift is horrifying his readers to attempt to make them understand that addressing a problem of humanity, as an economist in power is essentially flawed and reinforcing the duality of power and oppression is not effective in solving any problem.

Swift's work has been analyzed from countless angles with some even assassinating him, in the assumption that he really meant for the rich to eat the poor's children, even though such a stand is completely divergent from all his other progress building proposals.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Term Paper on Duality Jonathan Swift and Mary Wollstonecraft Were Assignment

Swift 377) Swift really just meant to garner attention, for the social conditions that plagues Ireland at the time. He was also making fun of the fact that so many proposals that are secondary to the humanitarian are put forward by those in power and even implemented without thought of the consequences that they will have upon the people. The people in Ireland at the time of his writing were still very much subjects of English colonization, with little real power and even less freedom to change the situation they were in, even though those in power assumed that the famine and poverty was their own fault and needed to be dealt with by their own sacrifices. Swift picked the ultimate and most precious sacrifice, that of ones own children to use an example oh how preposterous the idea that they needed to give up more to have a better condition really was and how ridiculous the demands upon them really were. Swift informs the politicians who believe that the poor should resolve their own problems, even when they have no tools to do so that they should ask the mothers of poor children if they would rather have sold their children as food than to continue to allow them to live lives of complete and eternal suffering.

A desire those politicians, who dislike my overture, and may perhaps be so bold to attempt an answer, that they will first ask the parents of these mortals, whether they would not at this day think it a great happiness to have been sold for food at a year old, in the manner I prescribe, and thereby have avoided such a perpetual scene of misfortunes, as they have since gone through, by the oppression of landlords, the impossibility of paying rent without money or trade, the want of common sustenance, with neither house nor clothes to cover them from the inclemencies of the weather, and the most inevitable prospect of entailing the like, or greater miseries upon their breed for ever.

Swift 378)

Swift no doubt believes that if such question was ever posed to the families of the poor it would just add to a long list of historically absurd demands having been made on them by their oppressors. Swift wants to bring to the attention of the wealthy and powerful, the extreme nature of their demands and their self-righteous attitude, with regard to the Irish poor. In his time there was a sincere and perpetual dialogue among the English of common and elite blood, regarding "the Irish question" and Swift wishes to use such dialogue of absurdity to make clear how little of this dialogue has any actual thought for the individual lives it wishes to deal with. The duality of power and oppression, is a clear emphasis in any situation where there is colonial and profiteering interests. The powerful wish to say as they hold the oppressed down with one foot and look away, that the oppressed have the power to change the situation in which they live. To those in power the "Irish question" was simply a matter of economy, and not decisions being made to improve the fate of real people, hence Swift's use of the economic breakdown of the sale of one-year-old human children for food, and the new market and delicacies they would create. (367-378)

According to Wollstonecraft and many of her contemporaries, man has placed power and his own assumed knowledge in the development of culture above all else. Wollstonecraft, being a gifted philosopher has a long lead into her point, and in so doing she assassinates the assumptions of man and the dispensing of ideals of power among men. There is a clear sense of the extreme insult that she is wielding and that the ultimate villainy of man will no doubt amount to one that would make him shamed, yet the suppression of the "weak" is a providence that man finds to be a complete right that goes without question.

For whilst rank and titles are held of the utmost importance, before which Genius 'must hide its diminished head,'* it is, with a few exceptions, very unfortunate for a nation when a man of abilities, without rank or property, pushes himself forward to notice. -- Alas! what unheard of misery have thousands suffered to purchase a cardinal's hat for an intriguing obscure adventurer, who longed to be ranked with princes, or lord it over them by seizing the triple crown!*Such, indeed, has been the wretchedness that has flowed from hereditary honours, riches, and monarchy, that men of lively sensibility have almost uttered blasphemy in order to justify the dispensations of providence.

Wollstonecraft 77-78)

Wollstonecraft even goes so far to say that man has lost sight of reality in the development of his own culture and society and has placed himself above God in importance, through the assumption that he alone knows what is best.

Man has been held out as independent of his power who made him, or as a lawless planet darting from its orbit to steal the celestial fire of reason; and the vengeance of heaven, lurking in the subtile flame, like Pandora's pent up mischiefs,* sufficiently punished his temerity, by introducing evil into the world.

Wollstonecraft 78)

The message brings to mind the kind of overt oppression that one might associated with colonization or countless other oppressive acts, but in truth Wollstonecraft moves on to assassinate man for denying women the right to fully use the mind that God gave her and women for accepting the inferior position because it is easy. In a sense though Wollstonecraft only ends with this what she considers the worst of all shortcomings on the part of man, first she attacks other dear standards and practices, she finds wanting.

Surely it is madness to make the fate of thousands depend on the caprice of a weak fellow creature, whose very station sinks him necessarily below the meanest of his subjects! But one power should not be thrown down to exalt another -- for all power inebriates weak man; and its abuse proves that the more equality there is established among men, the more virtue and happiness will reign in society.

Wollstonecraft 80)… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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