Self -Discovery is acquiring knowledge about your identity which stems from a mixture of the people you associate with and the environment you're surrounded by. One of the underlying themes in Gulliver's Travels is the journey of self-discovery. Gulliver starts out his expedition as an ambitious, practical, and optimistic character who appreciates mankind however, by the end of the voyage he develops an overt hatred towards humanity. Because of Gulliver's surroundings, his outlook on mankind is cynical which leads to a shift of self-distinctiveness, an identity crisis, and an overall jaded mental state.
In part IV of Gulliver's Travels we start to see Gulliver's hatred towards mankind explicitly stated. It is when he comes across the Houyhnhnms, a society completely governed by reason, having no major conflicts, and caring for one another among other things that makes Gulliver worship the Houyhnhnms and start to despise the Yahoo's. His self-identity starts to shift when he tries to explain to the Master how the Yahoo's treat one another. The Master cannot comprehend this behaviour and argues that the Yahoo's have no rationality or reason which makes Gulliver question where he comes from and where he belongs. A pivotal moment where Gulliver's self-identity shifts is when he overtly states his love for the Houyhnhnms "But I must freely confess, that the many virtues of those excellent quadrupeds, placed in opposite view to
human corruptions, had so far opened my eyes and enlarged my understanding, that I began to view the actions and passions of man in a very different light, and to think the honour of my own kind not worth managing; which, besides, it was impossible for me to do" (Swift 13). Here, Gulliver starts to shy a...
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...eginning all he wanted was human interaction, exploring different lands, but once he met different people he realized that humanity isn't something he wants to be a part of and resorts to only talking to horses. After he speaks with the master of the Houyhnhnms, we start to see Gulliver's self-identity shift from giving to bitter. His self-individuality turns in to a identity crisis when his beloved new society decides to exile him for being a Yahoo. His shift in personality and identity crisis eventually effects his mental state, making him delusional and introverted. It is said that your surroundings influence your characteristics, in the case of Gulliver his ambitious voyage turned into a journey of self-discovery.
Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver’s Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. 1726. London: George Bell & Sons, 1892. Public Domain.
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