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Jonathan Swift

By caitlynhoang Jul 05, 2014 1058 Words

Jonathan Swift’s Story
“Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own.” What Swift is trying to convey through this quote is that when people are being satirical and expressing their comments of society, they tend to see all the flaws so clearly, like a glass. Yet, when people do this they don’t pay attention to what they are doing.  Jonathan Swift is one of the world’s best satirist and poet, born in Dublin, Ireland to Abigail Erick Swift and Jonathan Swift. He suffered a lot as a child, from not being able to have a father to getting kidnapped for many years by a family nurse, and even being sent away to college at the age of fourteen. Since Jonathan Swift was a person born and raised in the 1600-1700's,  he lived in a period of exploration and great political competition, which influenced his works of literature to include satire and much symbolism to express his thoughts and feelings toward political figures while making it humorous. During the time period that Jonathan Swift lived, there were many historical events that influenced his writings, such as when King James II of England, a Catholic, started a rebellion that caused Swift to move back to England and "by 1710 Swift has become associated with the ruling Tory party. He shifted his allegiance from the Whiggish Addison and Steele to a new group that included Alexander Pope John Gay, and John Arbuthnot" (Hager 5). This influenced his writing by giving him an idea to write Gulliver’s Travels, a book about the different events that occurred in Europe. Also during this time, there were many explorations and exposure to other parts of the world. This had a major affect on his writing because in one his novels, Gulliver's Travels, he wrote about the many explorations that the protagonist, Lemuel Gulliver, went on while discovering many different islands with mystical creatures. Furthermore, at this time period, many people were more interested with mystical and fantasy novels, which is another reason why Swift decided to write, Gulliver’s Travels. The events that occurred during his lifetime was not the only aspect that contributed to his writing, but people around him influenced him in a drastic way too. Swift has experienced and done many things throughout his life that has affected his writings in various ways such as during the time when he lived in England, his bestfriend, Temple, passed away and to let go of stress, he began to write. It is said that, " Under Temple's influence, [Swift started to] write." (The 5) Temple always wanted the best for Swift, so Swift began to write. “...His first major work being a Tale of a Tub” (Hager 3) was written and it was the beginning of his whole writing career. Following Temple's death he moved back to Ireland and went back to being a priest for the next ten years. While he was preaching and working at the church, Swift was inspired to write his first political pamphlet. Additionally, when he was working along side with Temple, “Swift met the most important woman in his life, Esther Johnson (‘Stella’)” (Hager 1). She was a girl that he loved so dearly and she influenced him to write her letters. These letters were later known as, The Journals to Stella. As time went on, Swift moved back to England to work for the government under the Tory party. He worked as an editor of their official paper, which caused Swift to gain opinions on how England and its government was so terribly set up (The As their editor, he had to write many articles that would talk awfully about the other political party, the Whigs. Swift chose to write about thing that he experienced and how he felt towards the government. All of these social influences led to his professional career.  In his professional career, Swift wrote many novels, pamphlets, and poems to express his feelings towards the problems he sees around him in England. His novel, Gulliver’s Travel, is one of the best known books that Swift has written. In this book, he was able to talk about all the complications  that he experienced while living in England (Swift). Swift also wrote many pamphlets such as, A Discourse on the Contests and Dissensions in Athens and Rome, which was his first political pamphlet. Additionally, Swift wrote many other books like, A Tale of a Tub, The Battle of the Books, and Ancients vs. Moderns, but he sent them in anonymously because he did not want anyone to really know his business. All of these books are still very well known today and these writings were influenced by his life and the people around him. Swift is one of the most well known satirist in the literary world. In his most well known book, Gulliver's Travels, he uses variations of literary devices to help explain to his audience how it was like to live in the time he did, which was around the 1700. Throughout his book, Swift  uses satire and symbolism to assist the audience in conveying what it was like in England during this time period. In this novel he wrote about different type of creatures, such as giants and small people to symbolize all the "intellectual abstraction and the delusions of human perfection" (Miller). Also, in the novel he writes about the Kingdom of Lilliput and how their government is separated into two parties, Tramecksan and Slamecksan, like how the government in England was separated into two also. Swift uses satire to represent the small arguments of the two English parties in the time he lived (Swift 44). Considering of his writing style, it is the reason why he is so well known and loved, because of the way he used satire is way different from the way others use it and it makes him unique. Over all, Jonathan Swift impacted the literary world in a gigantic way through the use of satire in most of his books. It is evident that Swift had many obstacles that he faced and many different things that influenced him to write the way he does. That is how he is now going to always be remembered as one of most famous satirist in the literary world.

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