Oroonoko and Gulliver's Travels

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Oroonoko and Gulliver’s Travels


Melissa Eason

Mrs. Sarbani Bose
Eng 232-69
February 18, 2011

Oroonoko and Gulliver’s Travels

Gulliver’s Travels and Oroonoko shatter the myth that European culture was more civilized than “newly discovered” savage countries. The most prominent examples in Oroonoko are their treatment of the slaves and how they are punished. In Gulliver’s Travels the evidence revolves around how petty, destructive, illogical, and unreasonable human beings act. Though the authors of these stories differ on many levels from their writing style to the very reason why their story was written they have a common theme. They show glaring evidence that European culture is actually more savage than the countries they deemed savage from the way they treated their slaves, the reasons they fought, and their very destructive nature.

Oroonoko is the story of an African prince turned slave. The very way that he became a slave shows how sneaky Europeans were. “so that the captain, who had well laid his design before, gave the word and seized on all his guests; they clapping great irons suddenly on the Prince when he was leaped in the hold to view that part of the vessel” [p. 318]. This tells of how the captain played as if he was giving the Prince a tour of his ship but instead he put chains on him and betrayed him to slavery. This isn’t the only practice that shows the savagery of Europeans. They are also showed to be very dishonest and unable to keep their own promises not to mention how manipulative. After the slaves continued to refuse to eat, the captain released Oroonoko and let him convince the rest of the slaves to eat and that they would be freed upon their arrival. “entreated him to oblige them to eat, and assure them of their liberty the first opportunity” [p. 319]. This is a direct quote of what the captain said to Oroonoko. Though in the end the captain did not keep his word and he still sold Oroonoko along with his men when he...
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