Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift is the second term book recommended at my Language school, so I have worked on it over the last two months.
As a brief introduction Gulliver travel’s is presented as a simple traveler’s narrative book. It’s both a satire on human nature and a parody which offers a clear caricature of colonialisms and its working against what is conventionally known in Swift’s period (18th Century).
The novel shows us an educated and trained surgeon, Lemuel Gulliver. He speaks to readers retelling his experiences and adventures at sea.
Gulliver’s adventures are divided into four parts. Each journey is preceded by a storm and in all four voyages new perspectives are brought to Gulliver’s life and opportunities for satirizing England.
The first part is situated in Liliput where he finds himself in the company of thousands of miniature people called Lilliputians. Gulliver is huge and the Lilliputians are small. Although the Lilliputians seem friendly, you soon see them for the ridiculous and the petty creatures they are.
The second is on the peninsula-type land of Brobdingnag, an opposite world from Lilliput where Gulliver becomes the Lilliputian and everyone is a giant to him. In addition Gulliver is afraid, but his keepers are very gentle although he is humiliated by the King when he is made to see the difference between what England is like and what it ought to be like.
The third part moves to the island of Laputa, a floating island inhabited by theoreticians and academics who oppress the land below, called Balnibarbi.
Gulliver is able to call up the dead and discovers the deception of history. he also meets the Stuldbrugs, a race endowed with immortality and Gulliver discovers that they are miserable.
Finally in the fourth part he arrives at an unknown land. This land is populated by Houyhnhnms, the rational-thinking horses who rule, and by Yahoos, the inferior brutish servants to the horses who bear the image of a human. Gulliver stays with them for several years, becoming so madly in love with them that he does not even want to leave.
Upon returning to England, Gulliver feels disgusted about other humans, in cluding his own family.
As regards the characters, the main character and narrator is Gulliver, captain Lemuel Gulliver.
Some important characters in the novel are: The Emperor. He is the leader of the Lilliputians. He is initially friendly toward Gulliver but changes his mind about him when Gulliver refuses to continue fighting Blefuscu.
Also in Lilliput, Flimnap, Gulliver's enemy at Lilliput, accuses Gulliver of sleeping with his wife.
Another important character in the second part is The Farmer in Brobdingnag, Gulliver calls the farmer who takes him in his master. The farmer eventually sells Gulliver to the Queen. She finds Gulliver very entertaining. But because of her huge size, Gulliver is disgusted when she eats.
In the second travel The King spends lots of hours discussing with Gulliver about politics and comparing their two cultures.
Also in his second travel, there is Glumdalclitch Her name means "little nurse" in Brobdingnagian. This is what Gulliver calls the farmer's daughter, who cares for him during his stay in Brobdingnag.
Finally in his last travel,there we are the Houyhnhnms; they are a species of horses who have great kindness and virtue. Gulliver lives among them for several years and afterwards is extremely reluctant to return to England.
On the whole the novel is a clear satire of the moment with lots of references to Swift's purpose of attacking politics, religion, morality, human nature and colonialism which is at the heart of the novel
Personally the novel was a bit difficult for me because it has many metaphors and 18th century vocabulary and structures. The author chooses each moment to criticize his own society and finally I recognize that the book has a very good and clear structure and narrative.
Graciela Suárez Díaz
2nd Advanced Level