Bodily Functions in Lilliput
Swift’s satirical work, Gulliver’s Travels, tells the story of Lemuel Gulliver, a surgeon that by way of sea travels finds himself in four different, amazing lands. First: a land of six-inch tall human-like beings. Secondly: a land of giants. Thirdly: a floating island. Fourthly: a land ruled by thinking and talking horses. For the purpose of this essay, I will only take into consideration the first of these four voyages.
Gulliver finds himself stranded in a beach, tied by hundreds of tiny wires. Surrounding him are tiny creatures holding this wires. One can only imagine the fear the Lilliputians must have felt at the sight of such a giant. However, slowly but surely, they start to take a liking to this enormous man. They sharewith him their culture, their food, and provide him with a house.
There are two main instances, during this first journey, in which we are faced head-on with bodily functions. The first of these is when Gulliver describes how, after arriving to his new house in Lilliput for the first time; he had a major bowel movement: “I had been for some hours extremely pressed by the necessities of nature; which was no wonder, it being almost two days since I had last disburdened myself. I was under great difficulties between urgency and shame. The best expedient I could think of, was to creep into my house, which I accordingly did; and shutting the gate after me, I went as far as the length of my chain would suffer, and discharged my body of that uneasy load.” He goes on to say that, after this first “so uncleanly an action”, he would go outside any time he had this basic human need. Of course the excrement, which was of an equally impressive size a Gulliver compared to the Lilliputians, could not be left outside his house to pollute the air around it. Servants would come every day with wheel-barrows to remove this waste. The second time we are faced with a bodily function is the very point in which...
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