Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I love Jonathan Swift!

I liked these readings mostly because they included works by Jonathan Swift. Swift's essays and proposals are so witty and also pretentious but in a good way. Sometimes his works are so audacious, but it seems to work for him. My favorite passage was 'Hints towards an essay on conversation." As I read over "Hints Towards an Essay on Conversation" I realized that his ideas on conversation still hold true today. As I read I thought of people that I know and talk to that display the traits of speech in conversation which Swift describes, specifically "that of those who affect to talk of themselves" and "the men of wit". It is very common today for people to be so self absorbed that a whole conversation will revolve around petty aspects of their lives. I really liked the line where Swift says, "Of such mighty importance every man is to himself, and ready to think he is so to others; without once making this easy and obvious reflection, that his affairs can have no more weight with other men than theirs have with him;" He goes on to discuss conversation in a group of people where two of the people realize they have some connection as in going to the same school or growing up in the same place. From that point forward the two people engage in conversation leaving the rest of the group to listen in silence until someone becomes so irritated that they will burst into the conversation demanding attention. I think I like Swift's work so much because he addresses true life experiences and critiques with great detail and accuracy aspects of everyday things. It almost reminds me of the way modern comedians preform routines making jokes out of things that people experience everyday. Swift's description of critics in "A Digression Concerning Critics" was also quite accurate.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that a lot of the traits hold true today. I think the biggest contributing factor to our self absorbed society is the emergence of individualism. To function in this world we no longer need to rely on each other. It is really sad to think that the only time individuals connect to the societal identity is usually in times of crisis ie 9/11.