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In the article “Modest Proposal for Youth Scourge”, we see George Monbiot expressing his opinion about young people. Monbiot is making fun of those in society who want to go to extreme methods to keep youth out of public places – by using emotive and figurative language, tone and humour. At the beginning of the article, particularly in the first paragraph, you believe that Monbiot is serious about the topic. But by the end of the second paragraph, you begin to suspect that Monbiot is using humour and taking the subject of the text as a joke.

He refers to young people as ‘human vermin’ and claims that they are inclined to make unpleasant and distressing noises. In resolution to this ‘vermin’ problem, he mentions a way of keeping youth off of the streets – by using acoustic deterrence, which was previously used to repel rats, mice, and cockroaches. To sum up briefly, Monbiot compares youth to vermin and at this point – we are still not sure whether he is serious or not. After referring to youth as vermin, Monbiot begins to recommend that youth should be completely kept out of the public eye. Monbiot suggests that young people should be locked up in a small room except for when at school or working. He recommends allowing youth to work a chimney sweeps, which is a hazardous occupation without the correct training – which is why children do not chimney sweep anymore, and because child labour is illegal. By this point in the text, you know that he is making fun out of the matter.

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When he says that youth should stay in small rooms only to come out for schooling and working sounds very much like a prison environment. Overall, Monbiot humorously refers to youth as vermin and prisoners to make fun of those who believe that young people do not belong in society.In this text, Monbiot uses figurative language to portray negative connotations. He refers to being young in a public place as one of Britain’s most distressing and pervasive crimes. The word ‘distressing’ being used in this particular way makes the reader think about the negative things that youth bring to the world, and how it disturbs the public. Then using the word ‘pervasive’ reflects negativity about the fact that there are many young people in the world supposedly causing havoc.

Therefore, we can see that figurative language is used to create a negative atmosphere about this text.As the text develops, more figurative language is used. This is when similes, metaphors and hyperboles are used to explain something. Monbiot refers to politicians in Strasburg as fat cats – he is saying that they predominantly assume that this situation is okay with youth, as they believe the acoustic deterrence discriminates against young people and denies their free right to assemble. Technically, this is correct, but Monbiot turns it into a negative thing to make his points correct.

He also refers to Texas as a wet-blanket state because the child imprisonment minimum age is sixteen, whereas Britain’s is age ten. Thus, Monbiot likes to use figurative language to express his opinion.In conclusion, Monbiot uses humour in his tone of writing, figurative and emotive language to make fun of those who believe that youth are a menace and disturbance to society.


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