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Gulliver's Travels

By sammipap Feb 19, 2013 663 Words
The novel Gulliver’s Travel’s, written by Jonathan Swift, was centered on three specific themes. These themes included the following: corruption in government, intellect without common sense, and bodily secretions and excretions. One of the first themes shown in Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels was the theme of corruption of government. This theme was portrayed through the actions and personality of the Emperor of Lilliput. For example, the Emperor of Lilliput was impulsive, gullible, and callous. Gulliver first encountered the Emperor’s uninspiring personality when he heard of the one hundred year feud between the Lilliputians and their neighboring island, Blefusca. Gulliver was shocked when he discovered this dispute was over how to crack an egg. The Emperor portrayed his gullibility when he was influenced by his children and executed his first wife, and married a haughty, prideful woman half his age. Then, the Emperor’s corrupt nature was revealed when he wanted Gulliver to terminate every man, woman, and child in Blefusca, as well as their royal navy. Gulliver refused and was accused of treason. The emperor was insulted that Gulliver did not follow through, and wanted to “blind” the giant Gulliver without realizing that he would have then wandered about the countryside innocently hurting the emperor’s subjects. The Emperor’s actions expressed the theme of corruption of government. A second theme in the novel was the theme of intellect without common sense. For instance, the Rajah of Laputa was highly intelligent, but had no common sense. He was the ruler of the flying island, but he was oblivious and ignorant when it came to the day-to-day well being of Laputa. On this island, there were no women, and the men’s lives revolved around theoretical and abstract thinking. Although cunning, the men could never solve anything for over-analyzing and overthinking the solutions. The Rajah would always criticize his son who was the only practical, smart man on the flying island. Because of this he was ironically called an idiot. His stupidity continued by his predictions of the end of the world, but this never occurred. The Rajah also bombed his wife and threated to stop the rainfall above her kingdom, but her son pointed out that there was a river on his mother’s land. To further prove his unintelligence he did not even try to save his falling “floating island,” and Gulliver had to do it with help from the Rajah’s son. Intellect without common sense is proved by the Rajah’s foolish actions and the mentality of the men of Laputa. The final theme in Gulliver’s Travels was the theme of bodily secretions and excretions. This theme is first exemplified when Gulliver drooled onto the Empress of Lilliput’s hand, by which she was appalled. The Empress was further traumatized when her kingdom caught on fire and Gulliver then urinated on her, in attempt to distinguish the fire. Although he saved her life, the Empress was only further humiliated and disgusted. More excretions are seen from the slime that was excreted on Gulliver’s food in Brodingnag, the land of the Giants. While in Brodingnag, Gulliver also observed the disgusting puss-filled pores and the horrendous body odor of the giants. Gulliver experienced more secretions when he was in the Country of the Houyhnhnms. This land was inhabited by yahoos, these were disgusting, un-trainable, animalistic half-human creatures. The Yahoos horrific mannerisms were shown by when they defecated on each other and on Gulliver. Gulliver was obviously horrified by this and then further traumatized when two female Yahoos tried to rape him with their savage, repulsive bodies. Bodily secretions and excretions were exemplified throughout the novel on various occasions. In conclusion, in his novel Gulliver’s Travels Jonathan Swift created the themes of corruption in government, the theme of intellect without common sense, and the theme of bodily secretions and excretions. Swift used these themes to create imagery and satirize the British lifestyle in hopes to prove that his country’s government and culture needed to change.

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