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Essay/Term paper: Gulliver's travels by jonathan swift

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Cliff Notes

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Many authors write books about events, their lives and their environment,

and their corrupt government. One satirical author who wrote a novel about

living in a corrupt society is Jonathan Swift who wrote Gulliver's Travels.

The places the protagonist had visited reflected on the author's English

government. The life of the author will be shown similar to this book

because of the way he lived.

Jonathan Swift was well educated and graduated from Trinity College in

Dublin in English literature. He not only had a life in literature but also

had a life in politics. This experience helped him write many satirical

essays and novels against England and Ireland. His first political job was

to work for the remarkable statesman, Sir William Temple from 1689 to 1699.

During that time, he also became a minister for the church of England in

1694. After Sir William Temple died in 1669, Swift became a pastor of a

small Protestant parish in Laracor, Ireland. He was ordained in 1694. His

skill as a writer was greatly appreciated within the church and was well

known in Dublin. If one were to divide Swift's career into "periods," the

years 1710-14 would naturally fall into the "Middle Period."(Cook, V) In

1710, he became a powerful supporter of the Tory government in England.

Through many of Swift's articles and pamphlets in defense, he became one of

the most effective public relations men any English administration ever had.

The Tories saw how good Swift's literature was and hired him as an editor

for their journal, The Examiner. His political power ended when a new

government came to power. This was the Whig party. The Tory government and

the Whig party were against each other and shared different views like the

republicans and democrats in the U.S. The last stage of Swift's life shows

him transformed from an English into a Irish favorite, and this almost in

spite of himself.(Swift, XIV) He was betrayed and exiled to Ireland by his

friends. The unbearable lifestyle he endured while living in Ireland forced

him to write his brilliant satirical essay, A Modest Proposal. This essay

suggested that the people of Ireland should use their children for a cash


In the book Gulliver's Travels, the author reflects his life on the main

character to Prove a point, mankind are savages. All that was necessary

was that he take on a deliberate persona in the form some self-deceived

enthusiast. (Cook, pg.92) The protagonist of the story Lemieux Gulliver,

went on many voyages and left his wife and child back in England for months

at a time. The first voyage he went on in the book was to Lilliput. All of

the places he went to

were by accident. It was either he was shipwrecked or his boat was taken

over by pirates. In Lilliput, he fell asleep ashore and woke up tied down by

the barbaric Lilliputians. These natives are only three inches high and look

exactly like humans but smaller. Swift satirizes our bestial selves and use

them as these Lilllputians. These Lilliputians are pure evil and very

corrupt. Their government system is similar to ours. Their leader is an

Emperor who has all but some power over their country. He also has advisors

who seem to influence the Emperor in all his decisions even if he did not

agree. This system is similar to our government and congress having equal

power to the president. In order for a person to gain a seat in congress or

hold a certain political position in our society, they have to be elected by

the people. In Lilliput, the people gain their political power in the

strangest and silliest way. The emperor holds a stick out in front of the

person and in order for the person to get the highest position possible,

they must be able to jump over or crawl under the stick depending how the

emperor positions it. The emperor may raise the stick and lower it for

whomever he wants. He may pick favorites and make it easier for them to get

over the stick. The Lilliputians were in the middle of a civil war with a

neighboring island called Blefescu. The war was caused due to a

misunderstanding in the past. The Lilliputian and Blefescudian ancestors

were eating breakfast and they broke their eggs on

different ends. They got into an argument about which end is better to break

and split up. The Lilliputians called themselves the Big Enders and the

Blefescudians called themselves the Little Enders. Gulliver's stay was short

because they did not trust him and was plotting against his life. He then

fled to Blefescu, which was an enemy of the Lilliputians. They soon rejected

him and he started on his journey home.

The second place Gulliver arrives is Brobdingnag. These natives are about

ten stories high and looked like humans because of their facial features.

The farmer that found Gulliver brought him to the queen. The Brobdingnagian

government is similar to the communistic government. In this society, there

is no currency because everyone gets the same amount of food and luxuries.

The queen explained how her government was based on equality and Gulliver

explained on how his government was based on conquering other and in

constant war with other countries with simple problems that can be solved

with talking it out. The queen heard of his horrid government and was

appalled at what he was saying. The Brobdingnagian society is not similar

because it is morally advanced, but they have all of our incomplete values.

The queen eventually exiles him and he leaves for England. Unfortunately he

never makes it to England but gets his ship taken over by pirates. He is

given a small boat and is left to die.

Some natives of a flying island called Laputa picked up Gulliver. The

natives of this island were very peculiar. The elders would stare at the sun

and think deep thoughts. They would ask questions like, "How's the sun?".

They were usually in so much of deep thought that they would be unconscious.

There is a man always following them and tapping them trying to bring them

back to reality. Swift is satirizing the scientists with their wild theories

and unproven facts. There were many of these people around his time that

made many theories that turned out to be false.

The last place Gulliver went to was The Land of the Houynhnms. The natives

of this island were horses. They ruled the island and all of the other

inhabitants on it. The other inhabitants were Yahoos. These yahoos were

humans who were uncivilized and were supposed to satirize our bestial sides

of us. The Houynhnms had the reasoning and language of our human race. They

did not know what love was, so they did not know what was jealousy, rage,

anger, insanity, and many other emotions that love may harvest. The

Houynhnms and the Yahoos were being satirized because those two species put

together were called the Homo sapiens species. Given man's instinctive

corrupt nature and the downward drift it fostered, social change of almost

any sort was apt to be worse. (Cook,120) Gulliver was accepted in to the

Houynhnm society even though he resembled a yahoo. He learned to speak their

language and learned their ways. As Gulliver explains to his Houyhnhnm

master about England, noble families in England nearly always die out after

three generations, "unless the wives take care to provide a healthy father

among her neighbors, or domesticks, in order to improve and continue the

Breed." (Cook,124) He was eventually ostracized from them because he was a

threat to them for being a yahoo. Eventually, Gulliver returned home and

shared his stories with every one. They marked him as mad and he lived the

rest of is days in an insane asylum.

Many authors like Jonathan Swift reflect their lives in their books. This

book was a good example in my opinion of an author reflecting his life and

his society which may be fair or corrupt. All authors should reflect their

lives in their books so that the reader will know more about them.


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