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Gulliver’s Travels review

Gulliver’s Travels is a satiric novel written by the Irish Jonathan Swift and was first published in 1726 without mentioning the author’s name. Although it has been mainly considered as a children’s book, it is actually a scathing attack on society and human condition, but obviously disguised as a travel’s book around picturesque countries, which was a common genre at that time.

The story is narrated by the main character, whose name, ‘Gulliver’, only appears in the title. After a brief summary about Gulliver’s life, the plot develops his experiences in four parts, one for each of the fantastic countries he accidentally visits. The first one happens after a shipwreck, when he wakes up on a beach in Lilliput, fastened to the ground by the natives, who are no more than 15 cm tall and called him Man-Mountain. Not only doesn’t he make harm to inhabitants, but he helps the Emperor to win a battle against their enemies in the island of Blefuscu and he also saves the Emperor’s Palace. But once he was warned by a friend about the Lilliputians’ intentions of getting rid of him by leaving him starving, he manages to escape sailing with Blefuscudians’ help.

After two months since his return to England he enlists again in ‘The Adventure’. This ship was forced to land on an island called Brobdingnad whose inhabitants were giants. He was founded by a farmer who shows Gulliver as a curiosity across the country and takes him to the court. Gulliver leaves Brobdingnag when his cage (a house to be transported in) is picked up by an eagle and dropped into the sea.

In his third voyage, after being taken by pirates, he ends up in a floating island called Laputa where everybody is devoted to mathematics and music. In this travel he also visits Balnibarbi, the island of Glubbdubdrib, and Luggnagg. After sailing to Japan, he goes to Amsterdam and from there he goes home to England.

Finally, in Gulliver’s fourth voyage, as a captain, he was abandoned by his crew in a land populated by Houyhnhnms, rational-thinking horses who are the rulers and are served by Yahoos, who are brutish humanlike creatures.

This novel has become classic in universal literature and has also inspired many films. Nevertheless, to be honest I should admit that I’ve been unable to finish reading it, because although I love books about journeys, I have found this ‘masterpiece’ boring and not easy to read due to his eternal prose describing everything in detail and also because you need to look at many explanations to understand Swift’s references and allusions, as well as some classical words. Therefore, I am sorry but I cannot recommend this book to anyone and much less to young readers.

By Elena, Advanced Level. Year 2


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