A Blind Search Essay

A Blind Search Essay

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Utopia is a term coined by Thomas More from his novel Utopia. Utopia has two possible meanings: the Greco-definition of “good place” or the Anglo-definition of “no place”. Many argue that Johnathan Swift aimed to represent the “no place” definition in Gulliver’s Travels. However, others believe that Swift aimed to represent the “good place” definition. This essay will focus on the “no place” definition and how Swift supported it. Swift does this by using Gulliver and the Houyhnhnms as satiric tools to represent the “no place” definition of utopia, meaning that it cannot exist in the real world and is unattainable.
In order to better understand the utopia Swift was aiming to describe, knowledge of eighteenth century theories on utopias are needed. Nicole Pohl describes two types of utopias derived by Richard Saages:
“utopias that are strictly regulated by the state/government in all aspects of
human life and society (‘archistic’) and utopias which are based on the
idea of absolute freedom and self-regulation (‘anarchistic’)”(Pohl 3).
We see both of these types in Gulliver’s Travels, although one of them failed at becoming a Utopian society. The Brobdingnagians represent an archistic utopia, while the Houyhnhnms represent the anarchistic utopia. However, the Brobdingnagians failed at becoming a utopia. Despite having a king with strict laws, beggars and murderers are still present. Nonetheless, when disregarding the Houyhnhnms, the Brobdingnagians were the closest to becoming a utopia. Swift took these two popular types of utopias and used them as examples in Gulliver`s Travels. He did this to enlighten the reader to the utopias faults and fraudulence. These utopias exist as a hope for happiness outside of the known world; Swif...

... middle of paper ...

...er, hoping to make eighteenth century England a better place. Swift hoped to make Don Pedros out of us all. Swift hoped we would be kind for the pleasure of being kind, not for the chance at a utopia.

Works Cited

Johnathan, Swift. Gulliver’s Travels. New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2008. Print.
Keesey, Donald. " The Distorted Image: Swift’s Yahoos and the Critics." Papers on Language & Literature 15.3 (1979): p320. Literary Reference Center. EBSCO. Web. 15 Mar. 2011.

Pohl, N. "The Quest for Utopia in the Eighteenth Century. " Literature Compass 5.4 (2008): p685-706. British Library Document Supply Centre Inside Serials & Conference Proceedings. EBSCO. Web. 30 Mar. 2011.

Radner, John B. "The Fall and Decline: Gulliver's Travels and the Failure of Utopia. "Utopian Studies 3.2 (1992): p50. Literary Reference Center. EBSCO. Web. 14 Mar. 2011.

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