Reflects on the Society in Gulliver's Travels

Topics: Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift, Satire Pages: 5 (1839 words) Published: June 11, 2011
Reflects on the Society in Gulliver's Travels

Jonathan Swift wrote Gulliver's Travels in 1762 with the intent of providing entertainment for people. Entertainment through satire was what Swift had in mind. In Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift traveled to four different foreign countries, each representing a corrupt part of England. Swift criticized the corruption of such parts and focused on the government, society, science, religion and man. Not only did Swift criticize the customs of each country, he mocked the naive man who was unable to figure out the double meaning of things. When reading Gulliver's Travels, reflects upon plot, characters, settings, theme, point of view, conflicts, climax, resolution, symbolism and figurative language will be of great help to comprehend the ideas portrayed throughout the novel as well as how Swift developed the story. I. Settings of Gulliver's Travels

The setting plays an important role in all novels, but in Gulliver’s Travels, one must take into consideration that the four different parts of the book have separate settings. The first setting was more or less on an island called Lilliput where Gulliver cast ashore due to a ship wrecks on November 5, 1699. The setting of the second part in the novel happened to be upon his arrival at another island which Gulliver had wished to inspect for water. The third part of the book consisted of many different little scenes where Gulliver’s experience on an island called Laputa was pictured first. The fourth and also the last part of the book took place in the country of Houyhnhnms 1711.   II. Discussion of Characters

a) The Main Character
Gulliver, main character in the novel, used to be a well educated sailor who was recommended to be a surgeon later. Traveling around the world and exploring new places, Gulliver had met many new cultures and civilizations. He wore clothes uncommon in 1700s and had long hair which sometimes restricted him from turning his head. Gulliver was a sophisticated character and this could be seen when he referred to past experiences during an adventure. However, by the end of Book II in Gulliver's Travels, it was very clear that the character of Gulliver was not the same man who wrote the letter in the beginning of the story. In fact, he was not the same man he was in Book I. From the onset of Gulliver's Travels, Swift created for us a seemingly competent character and narrator in Gulliver from whom we could learn how adventures have changed him and his perception of people.           Gulliver is an entirely credible and probable person as well as the one being the instrument for Swift's satire. In his incredible circumstances, Gulliver proved himself resourceful and observant of his surroundings, thus he could change in accordance with the places he visited and the events he witnessed. As a traveler in Lilliput, he was careful in observations and complete in descriptions. Occupied as he was with the surface of things, we see Gulliver's problem of not seeing with eyes wide open wane his judgment of character, making him become more and more narrow-minded as the story proceeded. On the whole, Gulliver is a very frustrating character to deal with for a number of reasons. For example, he is not steady. This unsteadiness as a narrator leads us to question the validity of what Gulliver told us, which means that we have to be on our guard against what he said. This Gulliver is not, by any means, a wholly allegorical character but as much an individual as the next person. In certain ways, Gulliver proved to be more resilient than the ordinary man was by managing to survive the disastrous shipwrecks and people so foreign they might as well be aliens. Still in other ways Gulliver is a naïve person, bereft of decency and consideration. b) Other Minor Characters

In Gulliver's Travels, there were many minor characters more easily referred to in the names of their peoples. They were: the small Lilliputians, the...
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