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November 30

Jonathan Swift was born on this day in 1667.

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Jonathan Swift was born on this day in 1667.

Grades 9 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Author & Text

 

EVENT DESCRIPTION

 

 

Anglo-Irish writer Jonathan Swift was born on November 30, 1667. Swift is famous for works including Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, and A Tale of a Tub. Known for his satirical writings, as well as his poetry and essays, Swift also wrote under several pseudonyms, including the name Isaac Bickerstaff.

CLASSROOM ACTIVITY

 

 

A Modest Proposal is considered to be one of the best examples of satire ever written. Have students explore the elements of satire and parody using the lessons below. Then, have them extend that exploration by surveying instances of satire and parody in television and film, advertising, and journalism. Begin by dividing students into three groups and assigning each to either television and film, journalism, or advertising.

  • Have each group explore their assigned topic, looking for examples of satire or parody. As they find examples, encourage students to locate concrete examples they can bring in for a class display. Examples might include a DVD case or movie review, a magazine advertisement, a newspaper editorial, a book or book jacket, etc.
  • Working as a group, have students create an exhibit that highlights their findings. As part of the display, students should describe how each item is an example of satire or parody, what satirical technique is being used, and other related information.

WEBSITES

 

 
  • Jonathan Swift

    This site, part of the Victorian Web, includes a biography of Swift, information about the political and social context of his time, his views on religion, and more.

  • Jonathan Swift

    Read a brief biography of Swift at the HyperHistory Online page. Also included is a link to related information.

  • Gulliver's Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World

    This website offers the full text of Swift's Gulliver's Travels, available online or in PDF, Kindle, and several other formats.

RELATED RESOURCES

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Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Literary Parodies: Exploring a Writer’s Style through Imitation

This lesson asks students to analyze the features of a poet’s work then create their own poems based on the original model.

 

Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan

Exploring Satire with Shrek

The movie Shrek introduces the satirical techniques of exaggeration, incongruity, reversal, and parody. Students brainstorm fairy tale characteristics, identify satirical techniques, then create their own satirical versions of fairy tales.

 

Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Semicolons and Swift: Analyzing Punctuation and Meaning

This lesson will help punctuation make a mark on students as they read Jonathan Swift’s work and analyze his use of punctuation.

 

Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

From Dr. Seuss to Jonathan Swift: Exploring the History behind the Satire

Use Dr. Seuss's The Butter Battle Book as an accessible introduction to satire. Reading, discussing, and researching this picture book paves the way for a deeper understanding of Gulliver's Travels.