Swift

A comparison of the major changes in American enterprise

indicated in the writings of

Jonathan Swift (pre-20th Century) and Herman Melville (20th Century).



Abstract

The authors of the selected works, Jonathan Swift\'s essay "A Modest
Proposal" and Herman Melville\'s "Case: Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story
of Wall Street", the reader can imagine the poor working conditions in the
early time of our industrial growth. In Swift\'s proposal it was apparent that
the poverty of Ireland was of major concern during the 1700\'s. Swift, in his
satire reflects on the class distinctions of the very wealthy and the extremely
poor. In Herman Melville\'s essay it is apparent that life on Wall Street,
although the character Bartleby was apparently bankrupt in more than financial
ways, business life has considerably change for that time era to the typical
businesses of our modern time.

Assessment of Jonathan Swift\'s essay, "A Modest Proposal"

Jonathan Swift was a satirist writer and at first when reading this proposal,
the reader is appalled by the perverse and cruel idea that he was proposing. The
reader would have to know that this was a satire to understand that he has taken
the proposal to an extreme. Swift was considered to be an intellectual and
philosopher and attempts to enlighten the reader of the problem of the poor and
desolate of Ireland. Swift criticizes the false values of society of that time
by exaggerating his possible solution of the problem in his perverse proposal.
The criticism of the rich was the suggestion that they would enjoy the delicacy
of eating yearling children as food. He infers the extremely wealthy would
rather eat the problem than solve the problem by coming up with another feasible
and acceptable solution. Swift brings to light the fact that the poor was
society\'s problem and not the unfortunate state, an accident of being born to
the wrong side of humanity, or the unfit for life people in Ireland. His satire
makes you wonder how ignored by the wealthy and people of status were this
problem. He sees the wealthy as the consumers of life and resources and their
prosperity makes them responsible to find ways to help this social problem. The
suggestion that the wealthy would raise, market and eat human kind was an insult
and enlightenment to the wealthy. I believe his intent was to bring awareness of
the lack of the prosperous to address this problem. The sad part is that there
were probably many who actually thought it would be a good way to alleviate the
problem.

Assessment of Herman Melville\'s essay,

"Case: Bartleby the Scrivener: A story of Wall Street"

Melville\'s essay "Bartleby the Scrivener" dramatizes the mechanical
and inhumanity of the business world was. Symbolism to convey the feeling of the
mechanization and demoralizing atmosphere of big business was used. Bartleby was
like a robot and although he was doing his work at first lacked any social
graces. He does his work like a machine, pushing on until it was turned off. The
employer was perplexed in how to deal with this person. His compassion or his
inability to lead allows Bartleby to rebel against authority. Bartleby becomes a
mindless shell and demonstrates mental illness either cause by his life
situation or the business. Bartleby stares at a brick wall outside the window
for long periods of time and again while in prison. The walls represent big
business and paint a dull, dark, dreary, lifeless, cold and incapable to
feeling. Bartleby seems helpless to change his plight in business. His other
job, we learn was dealing with dead letters suggest that Bartleby was dead
inside already. There was no mention of family or friends, just the job. The
frequent use of the word "prefer" becomes a joke to co-workers. Most
people would prefer not to do things requested in business but do them anyway.
Bartleby completely shuts down mentally, eventually physically and dies. Did big
business kill him or was it suicide cause by a deeper mental problem? That is up
to the reader to decide.

Comparison

Historically, Swift\'s essay shows how the culture in Ireland was of the
"have and have not". Prosperity in the 1700\'s in Ireland was of
extreme wealth or extreme poverty. The wealthy were people of means and likely
to be the businessman and socialites of Ireland. Business was not available to
the poor. Jobs were not plentiful and wages, if you had a job was meager. Those
who could not support themselves resorted to begging, stealing and other
dishonest means of survival. The wealthy regarded them with disgust and wish
them away rather than deal with this social problem. Swift\'s essay brings to
light