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Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels Essay

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The definition of a utopia is an imagined place or state in which everything is perfect. In book four of Gulliver’s travels Gulliver discovers a group of people called the Houyhnhnms and the group displays qualities of a possible utopia. The Houyhnhnms are very rational in their thinking, and try their best to stay away from entertainment and vanity. However the Houyhnhnms could not be considered creators of a utopia because they emphasized unrealistic rules and because of their treatment of the Yahoo people within their society. Instead it is the Lilliputians people who display the most signs of a potential utopia in Gulliver’s Travels.
The theme of their being a possible utopia in Gulliver’s Travels can be seen throughout the novel by Jonathan Swift and is present in all of the societies that Gulliver meets. The Houyhnhnm people were honestly the closest society to being a utopia that Gulliver encountered, but their way of thinking was too unrealistic to work. The Houyhnhnms did their best to try and refrain from doing anything that distracted them from seeking reason so they eliminated entertainment, any forms of vanity, and sexual desires. The problem with this way of thinking is that the citizens have no freedom to do what they want which will not make everybody happy, for a utopia to exist everything has to be perfect, and if everyone is not happy then a utopia does not exist. Instead it was the Lilliputians that showed the most realistic possibility of being a utopia. To point out the ways in which Lilliput is the definition of an true utopia for England, Jonathan Swift uses several pages in “Gulliver’s Travels” to detail the laws by which the citizens in Lilliput are governed. There is a comment about revolutions...


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...it expresses the thought that only non-humans can achieve a perfect utopia. For human beings, the work toward the goal of a perfect society will be long and may never produce the results of the Houyhnhnms, but by using new viewpoints, a utopia might be closer than it seems.
In conclusion the Houyhnhnms were almost too perfect for their own good. They stayed away from all of the things that would result in them losing focus of seeking reason, but there is no way everyone in their society would always be happy with their way of thinking. The lack of freedom is too evident in the Houyhnhnm society. Instead it was the Lilliputian people that had the closest chance at a utopia. Although some of their laws could be pretty extreme at times, the majority of their laws were for the greater good of all people, and is a government system I believe people could be happy in.



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