Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ and Swifts’ ‘Gulliver’s Travels’

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Orwell and Swift represent satirical scientific writers at opposing ends of ideology and a historical era. Swifts’ Tory anarchism and Orwell’s socialist beliefs would lead the audience to expect two very different views on progress. However, both choose to parody and satire progress to create fear and debate in the public domain. By examining the historical contexts in the themes of progress, anti-enlightenment and technology, it can be seen that the misuse of progress is feared in the time of Orwell and Swift. Orwell dystopian earth is a state of equilibrium. The war of maintaining the status quo between the superpowers and between the layers of the party ensures that there is no progress in Airstrip one. This creates a war-torn ‘Airstrip one’, which parodies the reality of Post World War Two London: The experience described in the first paragraph of not being able to close the door quickly enough ‘to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him’ was a familiar experience: the dust from the bombsites. […] ‘victory mansions’ was familiar, and what a victory it seemed: food shortages and rationing had actually increased after the war. This suggests that Orwell parodied post war life to show that without the ongoing war to distract people, progress would need to be made to increase the welfare of the population. This can be contrasted with Gulliver’s attempts to educate the king of Brobdingnag in warfare. Gulliver reports that the king is ‘struck with horror’ as he describes the abilities of a cannon. ‘He was amazed how […] I […] could entertain such inhuman ideas, and in a manner so familiar as to appear wholly unmoved at all by the scenes of blood and destruction’ . This could suggest that European cult... ... middle of paper ... ...ed sentiment as swift is criticising the wastefulness of exploring the unknown. Moreover, the Grand Academy can be seen as a satire on the Royal Society of science. The academy inverts traditional science by making the discoveries counter productive. For example, the building of a house from the roof down and the eating of academic wafers are clearly useless scientific progresses, as they have no scientific base. The same can be said of the Royal Society which promised much but did not deliver. Samuel Johnson describes the Society in a humanist sense and shows its irrelevance to living values: ‘The society met and parted without any visible diminution of the miseries of life. The gout and stone were still painful; the ground that was not ploughed bought no harvest, Works Cited Politics vs. Literature: An Examination of Gulliver’s Travels (1946)

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