Jonathan Swift’s Use of Size: Satirizing the Negative Form of Humans

Topics: Gulliver's Travels, Satire, Jonathan Swift Pages: 3 (932 words) Published: September 3, 2012
Swift reveals the negative side of the Europeans in the 18th century. He satirizes Gulliver and the different inhabitants Gulliver comes across. By using size, Swift shows the dreadful sides of the Europeans and their faults. Although some readers say that Swift uses size in Gulliver’s Travels to satirize people positively, he uses satire to reveal the negative side of people showing their human pride, existence, and knowledge. First of all, Swift claims that Gulliver’s size symbolizes misplaced human pride. He uses the Lilliputians, Houyhnhnms, Yahoos, and Gulliver to point out the misplaced pride of humans. Swift writes, “...and the promise of honour I [Gulliver] made them [Lilliputians], for so I interpreted my submissive behaivour, soon drove out those imaginations.” Swift is insisting that the Lilliputians, the tiniest race, show excessive pride in themselves. He makes the argument that even Gulliver respects the Lilliputians. Many will disagree with this assertion that Swift is emphasizing misplaced pride between higher authorities and lower authorities. Although other critics have interesting analyses on this topic, Swift emphasizes the wrong use of pride of humans who are “higher” than others, such as kings or the wealthy. Also, according to Swift, “My Master [Houyhnhnms]…was sure that the weakest servant in his house would be able to shake off the strongest Yahoo…” Swift makes this argument to dispute that the Houyhnhnms, the horse race, show excessive pride in animals rather than humans. Those unfamiliar with this belief may be interested to know that it basically boils down to the enormous, misplaced pride of the Houyhnhnms. Although not all readers think alike, some of them will probably dispute the claim that Swift shows the misplaced pride humans have for animals; however, the animals are showing misplaced pride in themselves. It is important to recognize Swift’s use of satire of Gulliver’s and the other inhabitant’s sizes to show the misplaced...
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