Gulliver’s Travels Essay
Jonathan Swift Gullivers Travel is a story written by Jonathan swift which discusses the journey of an Englishman surgeon known as Lemuel Gulliver. Gulliver tries his luck in business which fails to flourish and then he decides to travel around the world. During his journey out in the sea, a storm befalls his fate and he finds his ship wrecked and gets stranded on an island bounded by tiny ropes and threads by captors. Gulliver and the tiny captors through negotiations and talks reach to an agreement and it is viewed that after that Gulliver helps the people of Lilliput in various ways. Some major events lead him to repairing his ship and setting out to England, again, where he stays for a while and takes up his next sea voyage. Following the visit to the land of the tiny beings, his journey lands him to the land of the Giants. The story is about an extraordinary sea journey which always lands the individual among strange utopian characters and lands that do not fall in the ordinary context .
Gulliver narrates the story in which every travel destination depicts a utopian society that is different from the other one but there are still certain strikingly similar characteristics with the present society when taken into context. Much of his travel relates not only to politics but also societal practices that take place within the human community that makes the reader relate it to the current worldly scenario. Utopian societies are an imagination of what the author would like the world to be like or what they believe it to be, and among the various utopian societies experienced by Gulliver such as the Lilliputians, the Houyhnhnms also exhibited a utopian society where the author highlights the side of rationality and simplicity.
In the society of Houyhnhnms, it is seen that the people are not accustomed to a lot of things that are present in todays society. The utopian land which is described by the author is backwards in all terms where the use of metal machinery and even proper speech is underdeveloped. In contrast, during the era in which Swift lived not only was the world progressing in mechanical advancements but also methods of communication were developing at a faster pace. The utopian society and the present one are surely a paradox of one another. What made the Houyhnhnms more utopian to Gulliver was the fact that they did not have an urge to explore what was beyond their world (Orwell).
Curiosity is an act that is found in our modern world and perspective which has led to not only many discoveries but advancements of mankind, but seeing the Houyhnhnms so ignorant towards the outer community instills a more profound sense of rational simplicity. This rational simplicity can be taken into account in the fact that if they do not know what is outside then it would not bother them and surely, the utopian society exhibited the factor oh how ignorance can be a bliss.
Gulliver is seen as an individual who does not seem to belong in his current society that is England and when he encountered the Houyhnhnms, it is seen that he gets a sense of belonging for the first time in his life. There is no individual existence in the society and even though the society has its logical practices that made its existence possible for so long, there is something unusual that gives the author a sense of communal union. The utopian society with its lack of individuality as the present world makes it not interesting on survival basis. It rather gives a total opposite sense as compared to the real world, where individuality is not only encouraged but celebrated and it is seen as a sign of independence to stand out from the crowd. The utopian society however, did not seem to exhibit all these factors. It cherished collectiveness and fusion with one another and the society they lived in. It was this collectiveness that gave Gulliver a sense of belonging. The utopian society gave him a feeling of being in the right place as all his life he could not relate to the society that he lived in.
In conclusion, the society of the Houyhnhnms differed in a lot of ways from the present society that we live in. Speaking from a modern perspective it was the opposite that made it utopian to Gulliver who had so badly been affected by the ideology of individuality that he forgot the charm of a collective society.
Orwell, George. “Politics vs. Literature — An examination of Gullivers travels.” Polemic, No. 5. —GB, London. 1946. Web. 14 Feb. 2015.
Swift, Jonathan. Gullivers Travels. New York: Norton, 1961. Print.