The Qualities of the Houyhnhnm’s Civilization in Gulliver's Travels Essay

The Qualities of the Houyhnhnm’s Civilization in Gulliver's Travels Essay

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In part 4 of Gulliver’s Travels, Gulliver is abandoned on an island by his crew. As Gulliver begins to explore his surroundings, a group of savages attack him. These savages appear to be human, however they behave like wild animals. Gulliver is rescued by a couple of horses. The horses are called “Houyhnhnms” are rational creatures which are capable of speech and thought. The horses refer to these human-like creatures as “Yahoos” and treat them as wild animals incapable of reasoning. Gulliver is very surprised how the Houyhnhnms speak to each other, while the Houyhnhnms are equally surprised at the appearance and behavior of Gulliver. The horses lead Gulliver back to their base where they proceed to find out more about him. Gulliver also describes them and how they converse with each other. Gulliver pays close attention to their language and eventually learns how to speak with them. He asks them questions about their culture and learns about their society. He tells them about his society and how horses are treated and how the humans are far superior to the horses. Gulliver is treated very well by the Houyhnhnms.

Gulliver spends a lot of time with one horse in particular. Gulliver refers to this horse as his master. Gulliver tells his master of his life and his native land which is England. Gulliver talks about his crew and their lives and troubles. Many of Gulliver’s crew were lost at sea and they were replaced by criminals and men who were desperate for work. In describing these men, Gulliver shows his master what human nature is like. Gulliver has a hard time explaining the crimes and motives of men and their actions because his master does not understand dishonesty and treachery. Gulliver talks about why humans wage wars aga...

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... of the Houyhnhnm and their pursuit of knowledge allow them to live in perfect happiness. They are not selfish or greedy and are perfectly honest. If humanity were to strive towards gaining these qualities which the Houyhnhnm possess, humans would be more likely to create a better society. Humanity has created governments in order to promote justice, peace and prosperity. The Houyhnhnm created a similar government to help them maintain their virtuous society.

Humanity must place a large importance on virtue in order to make human society better. Humanity is very different from this land of horses. The horses seem to lack any emotion and are incapable of joy and sorrow. Humans often allow emotions to guide their decision-making process. The Houyhnhnm allow only reason to guide them. Humans should try to replicate this pattern to create better effects for society.

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