top-rated free essay

Gulliver's Travels Satire

By Candice-Matthews Apr 14, 2014 837 Words
1. Write a short analysis, of about 350 words, identifying features of the passage that demonstrate that it is an eighteenth-century text. You might consider features such as vocabulary and language, or social, political or cultural concerns. Firstly, the passage is written in the form of prose. The eighteenth century literary realm was dominated with English prose, and is called an age of ‘prose and reason’. With the critical literary writers of the period in need of something more than poetry to rationalize what was going on in their society, English prose took the forefront. Politics were rampant at the time, with the two battle groups the Whigs and Tories at each other’s throats. Prose brought a modern simplicity and practicality that was easily comprehensible, void of any rhythmic structure aimed to inform and relay information of factual discourse and produced works of topical fiction. Swifts use of prose makes every scene, no matter how surreal seem convincingly natural. A second feature indicating the passage as an eighteenth century text, is the questioning of Gulliver’s political stance, if he is a Whig or a Tory “…asked me whether I were a Whig or a Tory”(p.96). As mentioned above the eighteenth century was a period where politics were rife. Swift was a member of the Tory party and loyal to the Stuart family the former successors of the crown. Mentioning the two known political labels in the passage ensures a direct identification that the writing is of the eighteenth century, as this is when the two parties conflicts were most prominent. A third feature of eighteenth century literature present in the passage is that of the capitulation of nouns. The elements of capitalisation that still remain today are present in the passage- a capital letter at the beginning of every sentence, proper name and place. However it was common for eighteenth century literature to use capitalisation of any noun the author felt was important. For example not all the common uses of capitalisation are seen here, as Swift has capitalized various other nouns “And Thus he continued on, while my Colour came and went several Times” (p.96). Finally the last feature of this passage is that it is a work of satire (which is explained at length in the next section). For example when the King refers to the human race as animalistic, Swift is directly attacking humankind “I dare engage, these Creatures…they contrive little Nests and Burrows, that they call Houses and Cities” (p.96). 2. Write a second short analysis, of about 400 words, focused on satire. Which parts of this passage are satirical and what satirical techniques does the passage use? Who or what is the satire directed against? Swift used satire to target aspects of the British society. In doing so he provided a much-needed criticism of the prolific moral and political corruption that existed in society at the time. Gulliver’s Travels points out the flaws in humanity with a close reference to the English society. With closer analysis to the studied passage the following satirical techniques are used and are directed against the British society, furthermore humanity itself. Firstly Swift uses the King of Brobdingnag as a direct juxtaposition to King George I of Britain. The King of Brobdingnag has a great soul, is intellectual, is kind by nature, and has an insightful awareness of justice. In the passage the King converses with Gulliver and is entertained at his description of Europe, “ His Apprehension was so clear, and his judgement so exact…after a hearty Fit of laughing, asked me whether I were a Whig or a Tory” (pg. 96). The King cannot understand how Gulliver’s society works and laughs at the insufficient justice system they have in place. This is a direct example of satire as the King of Brobdingnag is referring directly to the weakness of British society and is criticising the political system under the leadership of King George I. Swift uses the satirical technique of juxtaposition again to emphasize size and the significant difference between the ‘big and little’. Size is treated satirically to represent the difference of character; the Brobdingnag’s are large, as they possess superior intellect, moral goodness, and a successful political system while Gulliver (Englishman) is little, signifying narrow mindedness, inadequacy and the deficient and the inferiority of the society in which he lives in. The Brobdingnag culture shows what Europe could be. Another satirical technique used in this passage is the use of invective language, “how contemptible a Thing was human Grandeur; which could be mimicked by such diminutive Insects as I…these creatures… they contrive little Nests and Burrows…” (pg.96). The way the King describes Gulliver and the people of his society as small insects, Swift is attacking and abusing humanity with Gulliver’s shame and change of colour impacting on us (Englishmen) also. The point of the satire in this passage is to evoke moral change as it showcases the pettiness of how humanity thinks with Gulliver as the symbol for humanity.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Gulliver's Travels: Satire on a Nation

    ...Jonathan Swift's, Gulliver's Travels satirically relates bodily functions and physical attributes to social issues during England's powerful rule of Europe. Through out the story we find many relations between bodily features and British and European society. Swift uses this tone of mockery to explain to his reader the importance of many differe...

    Read More
  • satire in gulliver's travel

    ...Gulliver’s travel was one of the famous satirist novels written in 1726 by the most famous satirist in all JOHNATHAN SWIFT.” before understanding the novel and the satire hidden in the novel, we can explain the satire as, “Satire is a technique employed by writer to expose and criticize the corruption and injustice of an individual and ...

    Read More
  • The Role of Satire in “Gulliver's Travels”

    ...The Role of Satire in “Gulliver’s Travels” Sir Thomas More wrote “Utopia” in 1516, Daniel Defoe produced “Robinson Crusoe” in 1719, Jonathan Swift brought forth “Gulliver’s Travels” in 1726. The first coined the much used today word “utopia”, the second created the first English novel about reason and moral values, and...

    Read More
  • Gulliver's Travel Satire

    ...Gulliver's Travels is written from the perspective of a shipboard doctor named Lemuel Gulliver, and tells of four of his journeys into remote parts of the world. At the time Jonathan Swift wrote (1726), the increase in exploration of all parts of the globe had made stories of travels quite popular; the travels Swift wrote of, though, were fictio...

    Read More
  • Gulliver's Travels

    ...Gulliver’s Travels “A Voyage to the Houyhnhnms” Jonathan Swift uses the metaphors of Gulliver, Pedro, the Houyhnhnms, and the Yahoos in “ A Voyage to the Land of the Houyhnhnms” to satirize humans so that they could realize that to be human, you cannot go to opposite extremes. Swift has characters to represent ma...

    Read More
  • Compare the satire in Gulliver's Travels & Candide

    ...Compare the satire in Gulliver's Travels & Candide Satire means irony. People use satire to expose folly or vice. Interestingly, in Voltaire's Candide and Swift's Gulliver's Travels, they both use satire to express their profound observations. They have some similarities; such as they both criticize the human weakness. They also have many diffe...

    Read More
  • Gulliver's Travels

    ...Gulliver's Travels INTRODUCTION Gulliver's Travels (1726, amended 1735), officially Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, is a novel by Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swift .This novel is considered both a satire on human nature and a parody of the “fictional travelogues’ tales" liter...

    Read More
  • Gulliver's Travels

    ...Caleb Foard 9/7/10 Ms. Hanson Thematic Essay Gulliver’s Travels is a satire of England’s government in the early 1700s. Gulliver’s Travels was written by Jonathan Swift. During the late 1600s to early 1700s Swift took part in politics. Swift was not treated well by most politicians. Noticing all of the corruption and abuse of ...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.