A Modest Proposal Argument Analysis Activity

  • 18 pages
  • Subject: Ethos, Logos, Pathos, Rhetorical Devices, Thesis, Lesson Plans and Educational Resources
  • Common Core Standards: RI.11-12.6, RI.9-10.1, RI.9-10.5, RI.9-10.6, RL.11-12.6

Additional A Modest Proposal Resources

Product Description

Jonathan Swift’s satirical essay “A Modest Proposal” has served as an exemplary piece for not only studying satire but also the rhetorical elements of argument. Despite Swift’s character-author’s outlandish proposal, he utilizes several key elements of expository writing to advance his main claim.

This worksheet serves as a lesson plan or as an activity in a larger lesson for any kind of close-reading and analysis assignment. In this activity, students will engage with specific aspects of any piece of expository writing, working collaboratively and learning how to analyze how an argument develops.

Working in small groups, students focus on the argument/logic, the form/rhetoric, and the significance of a text in order to evaluate its effectiveness. This activity develops the class’s vocabulary as a community, allows students to experience close reading and analysis, and reinforces the benefits of peer work to provide a better understanding of how the class reads and interprets a text.

Skills: analyzing a text’s argument and evidence, drawing inferences from a text, interpreting hidden implications, evaluating a text’s credibility, appraising the effectiveness of an argument

Learning Objectives: By using this worksheet, students will:

  • Analyze the author’s argumentative stance
  • Explain the steps and rhetorical devices used by the author to advance his argument
  • Infer the influence of contemporaneous historical, religious, and political landscapes
  • Evaluate an argument’s effectiveness and suggest counterarguments