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Satire in Gulliver's Travels

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Introduction

Alice Wei Prof. Cecilia Liu English Literature I Paper 3 5 Jan. 2004 Satire in Gulliver's Travels: Jonathan Swifts Gulliver's Travels is an elaborate concoction of political allegory, moral fable, social anatomy, and mock Utopias set within a parody of both travel fiction and journals of scientific exploration. When it was finally taken as satire, critics began insisting that Swift was mad; they did not like what they saw in the satirical mirror. Swift knew that people would see everyone's likeness but their own in this glass, so he wrote the character of Gulliver in a certain way in order to prevent the writing off of his actions as quirks. Gulliver visits four different societies in his travel, and upon his return home at the end, he cannot bring himself to rejoin society. The character of Gulliver will be examined in this section. Swift created him in such a way that the people of England could identify with him easily. He is a typical European: middle aged, well educated, has no overly romantic notions, is sensible, and conducts his affairs prudently. ...read more.

Middle

When he is in a bedroom with a few maids of honor, he is disgusted when they begin to undress in front of him because of their size and physical grossness. The voice of Swift, behind Gulliver, is saying ?look at yourself, especially if you are a girl, and most especially if you think yourself lovely; excepting your size, in what way are you less vulgar than these Brobdingnagians?? The king of the Brobdingnagians also provides straightforward commentary on the Europeans Gulliver describes to him. Gulliver is the first to explain away the king's criticisms. He says that the king cannot help thinking in such ways because he has been isolated his entire life and has certain prejudices and a narrowness of thinking. Because of this, Swift allows he to write the king openly criticizing the European way of life; to the untrained reader, the passage is taken as Gulliver takes it, which is as the product of a closed mind. The fourth book is perhaps the most important. This section will deal with the views expressed in Gulliver s journey to Houyhnhnmland. ...read more.

Conclusion

This section will deal with what happens to him and why it occurs the way it does. When he returns home, he faints for over an hour after being embraced by his wife. He describes her as an 'odious animal,' decides that her presence is morally unbearable, and describes her as a Yahoo. He cannot bear the company of Europeans anymore. Gulliver shuns the culture which bred him: ?the many virtues of the Houyhnhnms placed in opposite view to human corruptions, had so far opened my eyes and enlarged my understanding, that I began to view the actions and passions of man in a very different light, and think the honor of my own kind not worthy managing.?From this realization on, he walks around trotting like a horse and spends four hours daily speaking to horses, trying to force himself to be thought of as a horse. So although he comes to understand humanity better than any of his peers, he actually loses his grip on reality. In other words, the Houyhnhnms' society is perfect for Houyhnhnms, but it is hopeless for humans. Houyhnhnm society is, in stark contrast to the societies of the first three voyages, devoid of all that is human. Work Sited: www.sparknote.com http://jaffebros.com/lee/gulliver/ ...read more.

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