Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

Topics: Gulliver's Travels, Satire, Jonathan Swift Pages: 7 (1384 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Many authors write books about events, their lives and their environment,

and their corrupt government. One satirical author who wrote a novel about

living in a corrupt society is Jonathan Swift who wrote Gulliver's Travels.

The places the protagonist had visited reflected on the author's English

government. The life of the author will be shown similar to this book

because of the way he lived.

Jonathan Swift was well educated and graduated from Trinity College in

Dublin in English literature. He not only had a life in literature but also

had a life in politics. This experience helped him write many satirical

essays and novels against England and Ireland. His first political job was

to work for the remarkable statesman, Sir William Temple from 1689 to 1699.

During that time, he also became a minister for the church of England in

1694. After Sir William Temple died in 1669, Swift became a pastor of a

small Protestant parish in Laracor, Ireland. He was ordained in 1694. His

skill as a writer was greatly appreciated within the church and was well

known in Dublin. If one were to divide Swift's career into "periods," the

years 1710-14 would naturally fall into the "Middle Period."(Cook, V) In

1710, he became a powerful supporter of the Tory government in England.

Through many of Swift's articles and pamphlets in defense, he became one of

the most effective public relations men any English administration ever had.

The Tories saw how good Swift's literature was and hired him as an editor

for their journal, The Examiner. His political power ended when a new

government came to power. This was the Whig party. The Tory government and

the Whig party were against each other and shared different views like the

republicans and democrats in the U.S. The last stage of Swift's life shows

him transformed from an English into a Irish favorite, and this almost in

spite of himself.(Swift, XIV) He was betrayed and exiled to Ireland by his

friends. The unbearable lifestyle he endured while living in Ireland forced

him to write his brilliant satirical essay, A Modest Proposal. This essay

suggested that the people of Ireland should use their children for a cash


In the book Gulliver's Travels, the author reflects his life on the main

character to Prove a point, mankind are savages. All that was necessary

was that he take on a deliberate persona in the form some self-deceived

enthusiast. (Cook, pg.92) The protagonist of the story Lemieux Gulliver,

went on many voyages and left his wife and child back in England for months

at a time. The first voyage he went on in the book was to Lilliput. All of

the places he went to

were by accident. It was either he was shipwrecked or his boat was taken

over by pirates. In Lilliput, he fell asleep ashore and woke up tied down by

the barbaric Lilliputians. These natives are only three inches high and look

exactly like humans but smaller. Swift satirizes our bestial selves and use

them as these Lilllputians. These Lilliputians are pure evil and very

corrupt. Their government system is similar to ours. Their leader is an

Emperor who has all but some power over their country. He also has advisors

who seem to influence the Emperor in all his decisions even if he did not

agree. This system is similar to our government and congress having equal

power to the president. In order for a person to gain a seat in congress or

hold a certain political position in our society, they have to be elected by

the people. In Lilliput, the people gain their political power in the

strangest and silliest way. The emperor holds a stick out in front of the

person and in order for the person to get the highest position possible,

they must be able to jump over or crawl under the stick depending how the

emperor positions...
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