Test: ACT Reading

Adapted from A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift (1729)

It is a melancholy object to those who walk through this great town—or travel in the country—when they see the streets, roads, and cabin doors crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags, and importuning every passenger for alms. These mothers, instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in strolling to beg sustenance for their helpless infants who, as they grow up, either turn into thieves for want of work, or leave their dear native country to fight for the Pretender in Spain—or sell themselves to the Barbados.

I think it is agreed by all parties that this prodigious number of children in the arms, on the backs, or at the heels of their mothers—and frequently of their fathers—is in the present deplorable state of the kingdom, a very great additional grievance; and therefore whoever could find out a fair, cheap, and easy method of making these children sound and useful members of the commonwealth would deserve so well of the public as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the nation.

My intention is very far from being confined to provide only for the children of professed beggars: it is of a much greater extent, and shall take in the whole number of infants at a certain age, who are born of parents in effect as little able to support them as those who demand our charity in the streets.

As to my own part, having turned my thoughts for many years upon this important subject, and maturely weighed the several schemes of our projectors, I have always found them grossly mistaken in their computation. It is true that a child just dropped from its dam may be supported by her milk for a solar year, with little other nourishment: at most not above the value of two shillings, which the mother may certainly get, or the value in scraps by her lawful occupation of begging; and it is exactly at one year old that I propose to provide for them in such a manner as—instead of being a charge upon their parents, or the parish, or wanting food and raiment for the rest of their lives—they shall, on the contrary, contribute to the feeding, and partly to the clothing, of many thousands.


What "subject" is the author referring to in the final paragraph?

How to handle his own mother

None of the other answers

Something to do with maturity and age

How to handle faith and belief in God

How to handle impoverished children

1/40 questions


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