Gulliver’s Travels: Satire and Narrative Skills
- Date:Jan 15, 2021
- Category:Gulliver's Travels
Gulliver’s Travels is undoubtedly Swift’s painstaking work. The author brings out satire and narrative skills in the book into full play. The owner of the work, Kilmel Gulliver, is a British surgeon who served as a doctor on board an ocean-going ship and later served as a captain. He is well-educated and proud of his motherland. He seems to be quite both professional and political. It is also evident that Gulliver is a typical 18th-century Englishman who embodies the basic values of the people at that time. He trusts reason and believes that acquired experience is the source of knowledge. Gulliver was just an ordinary person, reflecting the general concept at the time. Besides, Gulliver’s reaction to this world was rational and scientific (Swift 34). On the other hand, Swift is the opposite of Gulliver. He believes that the typical values at the time were dangerous for human beings. If Gulliver, who has a scientific mind, puts his beliefs on this material worship world, then it would be foolishness. Scholar Marlowe pointed out that Swift set up this role to prove the huge flaws hidden in the values of the “Era of Enlightenment”. Gulliver is certainly a mediocre person, and Swift has used this limitation of the protagonist to achieve the fullest effect of irony and satire. Gulliver’s Travels is intelligent and satirical, with ingenious ideas and spontaneous humor. One would describe the book as pungent ridicule but filled with joy at the same time. Its style is wonderful. No one has used our hardship so far. The writing of Swift is more concise, brighter, and quite natural. Tired of living in society, the surgeon Lemuel Gulliver decides to sail in search of new adventures. Right on the first route of the trip, his ship sinks, and the crew member is taken by the sea to a beach where, after sleeping, he wakes up tied from foot to hair, surrounded by small and curious locals. This is just the beginning because, in addition to this which is the most famous country visited by the intrepid navigator, the reader accompanies the author through three more villages, each one with its particularities.
The book is, in fact, such a forceful criticism of several human thoughts that it still has its validity, addressing the way countries, religions, professions and social groups are organized (Eddy 23). Due to its fabulous tone and delicious prose, it turns out to be pleasant reading for both adults and children. The latter has made it successful since the first publication. As time went by, it became associated with youth reading, but it is still appreciated as a historical and insightful piece of writing.
Of men and horses
As Gulliver himself writes his travels around the world, there are full of impressions about his visits to the countries. The first country he visits is Lilipute, which has become best known of all, with its ferocious inhabitants, divided into two opposing parties and solving problems through disputes. Soon after, the traveler heads towards the land of Brobdingnag, where he finds himself in the unfamiliar ground, in a land of giants twelve times bigger than himself, apparently living in peace and ruled by a king and queen against violence (Swift 37). The third stop is the floating island of Laputa, where much is thought and nothing is accomplished. Finally, his last trip takes him to Houyhnhnms, a country of intelligent horses that live with the rude and coarse Yahoos, in the most exemplary land found by Gulliver. Among these countries, he passes through others like Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Glubbdubdrib. and Japan itself.
The way of telling this whole story, whose veracity is always highlighted by the narrator, turns out to be a parody of the literary style in fashion in Europe at that time: the travel narrative. The popularity of this type of narrative is from an England that is still experiencing a process of maritime expansion, with new lands always being discovered (Eddy 43). Also, there is also an appeal for the exoticism and difference between British society and the discovered peoples. Swift uses this fictional apparatus, which was very popular at the time, to achieve another objective: that of satire, which also had a strong presence in English literature. Gulliver’s Travels is no exception in his work, which is full of satirical essays. Swift’s own work counteracts the optimism that governs Defoe’s, suggesting little hope for human abilities.
The writer sets out his ideas in his own way. According to the text, the children, instead of becoming thieves because they are jobless, or abandoning their homelands to fight for a pretender to the British throne, James Stuart, should be kept by the British during breastfeeding during their first year, until they grew fat. They were served as appetizers before dinners (Swift 44). It is clear that there would be an organization around this, even considering the conservation of 20 thousand of them for procreation in the future. The French writer and essayist, André Breton, when writing about Swift, already in the 20th century, considers him the precursor of black humor, praising his perspicacity when dealing with politics and social ills. In fact, Britain was a breeding ground for criticism, in addition to its already traditional literary culture focused on texts that provoke peculiar types of laughter.
Swift was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1667, the son of an English woman living in the country. Due to economic problems, his mother, Abigail Erick, sister of a vicar still resident in England, sent Swift as a teenager to London and, thanks to good relations with a diplomat who had previously worked in the Irish parliament, Sir Willian Temple. As a result, Swift gets a job as his secretary in England, while receiving a doctorate in theology from the University of Oxford. After completing his studies, he became a canon in Killrooth.
Since 1685, English politics was divided between two major parties: the Whigs’ party that defended liberal ideas, however, opposed to the rise of a Catholic king; and the party of Tories, conservatives, and defenders of the Protestant monarchy (Eddy 23). This year, the Catholic James II is crowned. Under strong pressure, however, he was dethroned in the same year by his Protestant daughter and son-in-law Guilherme III, who started to rule. This battle of powers also divides conservative intellectuals, such as Willian Temple himself, and modernizing authors. Swift was careful to the extent possible. When he launched Gulliver’s Travels, for example, did not sign the work, whose authorship is simply of the fictional traveler, avoiding suffering possible processes. But Swift spoke out against everything related to politics. He was for the truth and against any form of human organization.
Mouse in the burrow
Due to the ironic texts, he ends up paying a price. In 1713, when England was ruled by Queen Anne of the Tory party, Swift lost an important position. Instead of obtaining the Hereford Cathedral in England, he was appointed as dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. He is offended by the appointment, but he believes that the best thing to do is to return to Ireland, where he is said to feel like a well-kept rat (Swift 39). The following year, the Whigs would return to power, but Swift was already a strong voice for the Irish cause. In any case, and as much as he had his own political vision, which seems to tend to the more conservative side of scientific and social knowledge, Swift was non-partisan. Instead of raising flags against one party or another, he wrote his greatest work, on men from different lands, comparing their attitudes with curious European society and English politics. Gulliver talks and learns about the societies he visits, but in the best of them, he himself ends up being rejected, as he has an appearance that resembles the irrational caste of society. Gulliver leaves the seas and returns to his secluded life.
In conclusion, Jonathan Swift (1667–1745), with his four-part novel published in 1726, critically and paradoxically referred to the literary form of travelogues that were popular at the time. Often given as factual descriptions, they shone above all by fantastic decoration. The fact that Gulliver was immediately well-received by readers of all levels and ages was due less to satire in his writings. The unsuspecting Gulliver gets on his travels in increasingly insane areas of the world, which undermines his trust in normality and ultimately in the good in people. The sharp-tongued ridicule aims at, or only shows specific references to time in exceptional cases. Swift was more important in exposing general human weaknesses, of which the naive title hero is not exempt. He learns little in all his adventures and brags to the emperor of Liliput with military achievements of his own civilization.