Gulliver's Travels: Swift's Opinions Of The English

958 words - 4 pages

After being washed ashore and then falling asleep, Lemuel Gulliver awakens to find himself tied firmly to the ground. In confusion, Gulliver hears noises and feels an object move about on his chest. He looks down and accounts, "I perceived it to be a human creature not six inches high, with a bow and an arrow in his hands and a quiver at his back" (6).

     Imaginative stories, such as the one with the small human creature, are parts of the classic piece of literature Gulliver's Travels . The many humorous stories in Gulliver's Travels have appealed to audiences of all ages since the book was written in the early eighteenth century by Jonathan Swift, a political writer (xvii).

     Gulliver's Travels is written as Lemuel Gulliver's account of his voyages to the strange lands of Lilliput, Brobdingnag, the kingdom of Laputa, and the land of the Houyhnhnms. Swift's opinions on the English politics of his time are disguised in Gulliver's strange encounters, allowing the reader, rather than Gulliver, to discover them. Gulliver remarks about his encounters in a straight forward way, reporting on the cultures instead of analyzing them.

     Part one of Gulliver's Travels takes place in an area called Lilliput, where all the inhabitants are six inches high. In Part one, Gulliver is portrayed as a solid, decent, and responsible person, symbolic to the powerful lords that existed in Swift's time. One example that demonstrates this point is Gulliver's remark; "[the emperor] had so good an opinion of my generosity and justice as to trust their persons in my hands" (22). During his stay in Lilliput, three officers develop a hatred and jealousy towards Gulliver because of his popularity in Lilliput. They devise a plan to have Gulliver executed for treason, but Gulliver learns of this and flees from the kingdom. Gulliver writes, "This preface made me so impatient, being conscious of my own merits and innocence..." (64). The small immoral Lilliputians represent a part of the English government that Swift opposes.
     In Part two, Gulliver discovers a race of giants in a place called Brobdingnag. Now, Gulliver appears to be the six inch man, much like the Lilliputians appeared to him.
     Gulliver, close to death, is rescued by the king and queen of Brobdingnag, and shortly after Gulliver says, "I already found my spirits to revive by the influence of her [majesty's] most august presence" (108). Gulliver lives a life of comfort in the court, where he spends much of his time talking with the king. To the reader, the king seems to be a fair and humane ruler, characteristic of socialistic rulers.
     In this part of Gulliver's Travels , the Brobdingnagians appear to represent the English people, and many of these people were socialistic during this time. Socialistic people are fair, and their governments are community oriented, much...

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