The novel, Gulliver’s Travels, is just that, a novel about the main character, Gulliver who goes on many journeys. The part of this book that brings out the reader’s interest is Gulliver’s character and the ways his character changes as the story progresses. He begins as a naïve Englishman and by the end of the book he has a strong hatred for the human race. Gulliver shows that his adventures have taught him that a simple life, one without the complexities and weaknesses of human society, may be best, but the simple life he longed for should not have been the route he took.
Before leaving his hometown in England, Gulliver was an open-minded character. His first journey lead him to the land of the Lilliputians, who were relatively hospitable to him, providing him with food and drink. There, in this foreign land, Gulliver noticed that the Lilliputians were in war with a rebel nation. The reason these two nations were in battle with each other was because they disagreed on something as simple as which side of an egg, the larger or the smaller, should be cracked. Gulliver thought that this was a ridiculous situation and that this was not a reason to be fighting. Although he didn’t agree with this war between the nations, he did agree, out of courtesy, to help defend the Lilliputians against their enemies. After this, Gulliver was seen as a hero to the Lilliputians. Gulliver was then asked by the Lilliputian emperor to retrieve the military ships of the enemy, but Gulliver refuses to do so because he felt that it was not necessary to take the enemies into slavery or injustice. Gulliver argued and protested in Part I, Chapter V, pg. 66 “I would never be an instrument of bringing a free and brave people into slavery.” Mind you that these are Gulliver’s words, his reason for not taking the rebel nation captive.
In the land of the Lilliupt, Gulliver is physically taller than the rest of the Lilliputian population. He is far-sided, while the Lilliputians are near-sided, implying that Gulliver is able to see deeper into situations than the Lilliputians and is more open-minded about seeing the bigger picture of the fighting while the Lilliputians continue to fight over something miniscule. Gulliver’s ability to see far-sided was evident and when the Lilliputians turned against him, deciding to punish him, they wanted to blind him. By doing ...
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...t those who have any tincture of this absurd vice, that they will not presume to appear in my sight” (Part IV, Chapter XII, pg. 277).
Gulliver began his journeys, to find wealth and returned with an entirely different view on life. Gulliver began his travels with an open-mind about his society and the different cultures that existed in the world. Being away from his people and in a foreign land, Gulliver adopted the way of the Houyhnhnms, who were a nation that were based on simplicity. The Houyhnhnms lacked many of the features that mankind had, and adjusting to the Houyhnhnms’ culture, Gulliver neglected his own. He thought that a simple life would be better than the complex life he was use to, but this theory only led Gulliver to go mad, eventually replacing his family with horses, wishing to never have to deal with mankind again.
This novel can be interpreted in many ways, as we noticed in class. I think that one thing the entire class could agree on was that Gulliver, like Don Quixote, drove himself into a fantasy land where, in Gulliver’s case, horses could hold a conversation.
Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver's Travels. Adamant Media Corporation, 2008.
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