Gulliver Travels By Swift Jonathan Swift was born in Dublin on November 30 in 1967. Swifts father was an English lawyer died while his wife was pregnant to Jonathan. Right after he was born, his mother left him to be raised by his brother. He graduated from Trinity College and started a masters degree, but left to join the Glorious Revolution. The object of this revolution was to convince James II (King of England) to abdicate the throne.
Swifts last years were a torment. He suffered awful bouts of dizziness, nausea, deafness and mental incapacity. In fact, Swifts harshest critics tried to discredit this book on the grounds that he was mad when he wrote it. But he wasnt. The Travels were published in 1726 and Part IV, which raised the most controversy, was written before Part III and Swift did not enter a mental institution until 1745.
Swift was dean of St. Patricks Cathedral in Dublin when his novel came out. Since in this book he wrote about political figures, he published the book anonymously. It didnt take long for people to discover that the author was Jonathan Swift. Not only had he been involved in some important and heated political events of the time, but he was also a well-known political journalist and satirist whose style was quite distinctive. Gullivers Travels is the tale of Lemuel Gulliver as he voyages to the strange lands of Lilliput, Brobdingnag, the kingdom of Laputa, and the land of the Houhnnms.
(WHIN-NIMMS) Gulliver is the most important character in this novel. Hes the “author” of the Travels. Hes frustrating to deal with for a number of reasons. 1. Hes not steady; he changes in relation to the places he visits and the events that befall him as he voyages.
2. Hes often a victim of swifts satire. This means you have to be on your guard against what he says, even though hes the guide, you cannot follow him everywhere. 3. It’s impossible to feel relaxed with Gulliver.
Swift won’t let us trust him enough for that. 4. Because Gulliver directs a lot of his hostility toward us- readers beyond reform- we in turn feel hostile toward him. 5. Looking at Gulliver is a lot like looking in a mirror.
We are by turns fascinated, attracted, disgusted, and ashamed. You first meet Gulliver at the “end” of his story, in a letter he’s written to his publisher. By now Gulliver is out of his mind: he’s raving, he’s nasty, he lies, he’s proud beyond the limits of pride. But he wasn’t always. He grew up in Nottinghamshire, the third of five sons in a respectable, middle-class family. While in school he held jobs: as an apprentice, he proved his competence; as a physician, he was able to get work on ships, which had been his lifelong dream.
The first place he travels to is called Lilliput. People here are six inches high and Gulliver, in comparison is a giant, or a “man mountain” as they call him. This section of Part I is essentially an allegory of English politics in the early 18th century when the Whigs and the Tories were fighting over control of the country. His mission here is to aid the Lilliputians in their war against blefuscu (Lilliput represents England, Blefuscu, France) Gulliver literally seizes the enemy fleet and strides across the harbor with it back to Lilliput. For a short time hes a hero. But he urinates in a fire that saves the royal chambers, but he is impeached for disobeying an ordinance prohibiting public urination.
He escapes and then goes home to England. Part II begins in Brobdingnag. Gulliver here is seen cruel and vindictive just like the Lilliputians. One day hes at an outing with the King and Queen and his house “a box” is kidnapped by a bird and dropped in the sea. Its recovered by an English ship and he moves back to England.
Part III, Gulliver goes to the flying island of Laputa and some of its nearby colonies. Gulliver recedes in Part III. Not much happens to him personally, for the most part he recounts what he observes in the way of scientific experiments. Swift uses Gulliver to relate deadpan what he himself considers to be foolish attitudes and activities. Gulliver goes mad in Part IV. Presented with the Houyhnhnms and the Yahoos, Gulliver tries desperately to become a Houyhnhnm, an animal governed entirely by reason.
He cannot, of course. Gulliver isn’t able to see the Yahoos as Swift intends them to be seen- as representing the worst traits in human nature, and the lowest level to which he might sink. Gulliver sees the Yahoos as mankind, period. Gulliver also misapprehends the Houyhnhnms. It is only to Gulliver- not to Swift- that these creatures represent a human ideal. Gulliver, neither Yahoo nor Houyhnhnm, can find no species to which he belongs, and so goes mad. The overarching theme of the novel can be said to be the question, “What is it to be human?” In this book you are exposed to a host of creatures and situations and systems that also help you wonder such themes like Human nature is petty What is good government? What are the values of reason? What are the limits of reason? And The sin of pride is the most dangerous sin of all The style of this novel is composed chiefly of satire, allegory and irony.
The book is very entertaining and it s written to vex you, to startle you into deep reflection and to invite debate.