Sharon Tate once said, “Everything that’s realistic has some sort of ugliness in it” (BrainyQuote). Through the problem/solution structure used in essays written by Jonathan Swift and Barbara Kingsolver, the ugly side of realistic solutions is exemplified. In Jonathan Swifts essay “A Modest Proposal”, the problem of the famine in Ireland is addressed, followed by a very disturbing solution.
Swift proposes that to solve this problem, the citizens of Ireland should use human babies for food. Although this proposal is quite unethical, the author proves it to be realistic through the use of logical reasoning to support his idea.In the essay “The Not-So-Deadly Sin” by Barbara Kingsolver, a different approach is taken to prove the solution proposed is realistic.
In the essay, Kingsolver illustrates the power of lies and the fact that people expect a lie to be ones’ truth. Since people are so vulnerable to lies, Kingsolver proposes that to solve this problem, one should simply take advantage of this fact. Kingsolver applies her personal experiences to the issue, thus proving that her solution is realistic. Therefore, in both essays the authors present a realistic solution to a specific issue.In the essay, “A Modest Proposal” Jonathan Swift proves that his solution to the famine in Ireland is realistic through the use of logical reasoning. Swift argues that by eating the babies in Ireland, the struggling parents will no longer have the burden of providing for their young. Swift illustrates this when he states, “Fourthly, the constant breeders, besides the gain of eight shillings per annum by the sale of the children, will be rid of the charge of maintaining them after the first year” (Swift 289).
Thus, one of the consequences of the famine is eliminated.The parents, instead of becoming poorer from having to support their children, become richer. Not only are these individuals relieved of the burden of providing for their young, but they also gain income by selling their babies as product. Furthermore, Swift declares that using babies as food will also aid Ireland’s economy. For example, Swift says, “Thirdly, whereas the maintenance of a hundred thousand children, from two years old and upwards, cannot be computed at less than ten shillings a piece per annum, the nation’s stock will be thereby increased fifty pounds per annum…” (288).Since the babies are entirely a product of Ireland, all of the money earned by this product will belong to the country and will circulate throughout it. Subsequently, the debt of Ireland will be eliminated.
Therefore, through the use of logical reasoning to explain his solution, Swift proves his proposal is in fact realistic and will alleviate the problem. In the essay “The Not-So-Deadly Sin”, Kingsolver applies her own personal experiences to the issue at hand, ultimately proving that taking advantage of people’s vulnerability to lies is a realistic solution.The author alludes to her adolescence, when she would tell outrageous, made up stories to bus passengers, waiting for someone to call her bluff. However, Kingsolver states that, “No one ever did” (Kingsolver 276). At this point, she discovered that people’s vulnerability to lies came as a result of a desire for wanting to be entertained. Also, she discovered her passion for providing them with this type of entertainment, and thus began her career as a writer.This is illustrated when Kingsolver says, “Now I spend hours each day, year after year, sitting at my desk with a wicked smirk on my face, making up whopping, four-hundred page lies” (276).
Clearly, the author used her realization of people’s susceptibility to believing lies to her fullest advantage, making a career out of her talent for “lie-telling”. Through this Kingsolver shows that developing a career out of lying is possible. In summary, the author uses the story of how she gained her career as proof that her solution to the presented problem is sound.Overall, the realistic aspects of these two authors’ derogatory solutions illustrate truthfulness in Sharon Tate’s statement. Although cannibalism and lying are proven to be realistic solutions, they both have an ugly side to them. However, the ugliness is overlooked for the reason that the problems addressed by Swift and Kingsolver will be solved by these ideas. Throughout their essays, Swift and Kingsolver successfully prove that their proposed solutions are realistic, yet they also illustrate the ugly ideology of humanity; that the end does not always justify the means.