I think in many cases it’s the first time students have been introduced to satire essay proposal examples that level. Sometimes my students are appalled at Swift for even suggesting such a thing—and that’s the point, isn’t it? I don’t do anything magical when I teach it, and it’s certainly not creative or new, but maybe sharing what I do will help along someone whose never taught it before, and others of you who do fun things with it—feel free to share your ideas in the comments.
First, I think you need to introduce the concept of satire. I share an article from The Onion without telling students that’s where it’s from. Read the article and generate discussion. Ask students if they agree with it. If they don’t figure out it’s satire, you need to lead them toward that conclusion. Then ask them to generate a definition for satire based on their understanding of what it is.
Compare that definition to the one provided by your book or dictionary of literary terms. Ask what is the point of satire? Next we look at the argument The Onion article made by analyzing the subject, occasion, audience, purpose, and speaker. Subject: What is this article about?
What is going on at the time that the author is mocking? Audience: Who is this article aimed at? Purpose: What does the author hope to achieve by writing it? My students told me that the subject was children working in the industrial revolution. The occasion was the current economy and large number of out-of-work adults—they felt perhaps the author was drawing attention to the fact that times have been worse.
Audience they felt could be virtually anyone living through our current tough economy. They felt the purpose was to give the reader historical perspective, to think about the difficult lives of children in the past. I think the vocabulary is fairly difficult, so I read it in class with students. We stop and talk to clarify and define vocabulary. After reading the first few paragraphs, before Swift makes his proposal, I ask students what they think he will suggest. How would they solve poverty and hunger? They offer suggestions, and no one in my class at least thought of cannibalizing babies.