Literary Analysis Essay: Gulliver's Travels

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Literary Analysis Essay:
Gulliver’s Travels

Gregg Poisel
HUM 3000

Although the textbook uses only an excerpt from part one of the story, the author tells a tale that provides interesting perspectives and symbolism on humanity’s dichotomy of power and servitude. Using the first person narrative, Swift creates an odd empathy for the story’s hero, Lemuel Gulliver. In the rounding out of the protagonist, Swift creates a wholly relatable character for the reader: an unremarkably average man with an unremarkably average life and an unremarkably average self-image. Within our own minds, we are all hard pressed to see our own lives as anything aside from average, regardless of our spheres of influence. It is this lack of reference that allows the reader to empathize with the mediocrity of the story’s hero. We all long for something amazing to happen in our lives, without really understanding that through our mere existence, we are already experiencing the amazing. Within this excerpt, the hero’s quest evolves through many facets. The first is to travel. As a young schoolboy, Gulliver set about learning the skills and knowledge as a medical apprentice that would be of best use when time and circumstance allow his desired travel. Circumstances come to fruition and allow Gulliver to fulfill his desire for travel at sea and his first quest is satisfied. Swift uses Gulliver’s second pursuit to outline several obstacles with which to outline a third quest without completing the prior. The second quest is to have success on land as a practicing medical doctor. In the process of becoming a medical practitioner, Gulliver both accepts and is forced into new challenges: the gain of a wife and the loss of a mentor. Since the timeline of the story falls within the span of Swift’s lifetime, the economic description used in this part of the chapter speaks of an intimate first-hand understanding and knowledge of the conditions of the era. It is this economic uncertainty that...
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