Gulliver's Travels and Self

Topics: Gulliver's Travels, Houyhnhnm, Human Pages: 2 (426 words) Published: March 27, 2007
Out of all the sections of "Gulliver's Travels" part four is the most revealing and satirical of human nature. Swift challenges the reader to examine the rationale of human beings and to question what is actually considered knowledgeable and important. As part four progresses through each chapter, Swift creates an upside down universe for the reader, as well as Gulliver, to examine, forcing both the reader and Gulliver to either compare themselves to the Houyhnhnms or to the Yahoos.

The transformation Gulliver undergoes from the beginning of part four to the end is astounding. When first approached by the Houyhnhnms, Gulliver uses his logic and reasoning to make sense of the situation he is placed in by concluding the horse-like creatures to really be magicians in disguise. Gulliver is unable to relate reason or sense to an animal and so he must create any excuse in order to explain the reason for such a civilized species of animal. Still under the impression that horses of this particular foreign island must act and behave as the brutal beasts that Gulliver is used to in England, Gulliver refuses to accept himself as the lower species.
When Gulliver is finally introduced to a Yahoo, his first impression is even more unsettling than with his first time with a Houyhnhnm. Noticing that a Yahoo holds an uncanny resemblance to himself, Gulliver becomes extremely distraught over whether or not he is, himself, a Yahoo. Gulliver then spends the rest of part four struggling to find his identity among the Houyhnhnms and the Yahoos.

Gulliver uses his humanistic ability to analyze events and thoughts to dissect his own life among the native inhabitants. The Houyhnhnms and the Yahoos represent polar extremes of human beings with their own flaws and mishaps as well. The Houyhnhnm race represent the happy and peaceful nature of human beings. Without fear of reason or doubt, the Houyhnhnms are able to live freely without enslaving themselves to their mind and body....
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