Essay on Gulliver's Travels: Where Size Doesn't Matter

Essay on Gulliver's Travels: Where Size Doesn't Matter

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In Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver's Travels, satire is ever-present: in plot, character and setting. Dystopia and utopia set the story, with grotesque added to sharpen character facets. The title character narrates the novel, and all actions are told through his point of view. His voyages expose him to extraordinary and absurd circumstances, used as fodder for mockery, and all throughout Gulliver’s travails society is ridiculed, and a bitter light is cast on humanity. Character growth is not spared: in the beginning Gulliver is much one-dimensional, and as he changes, Swift uses his growth as another ancillary conduit to let loose more satirical prowess. In the world as painted by Swift, Dystopia and Utopia are not what they seem: all through the changes happening in the novel, corruption and deceit brings rewards; moral rectitude brings emptiness and misfortune.

Right at the beginning of the novel, in the first voyage, corruption is rewarded. Gulliver buys into the Lilliputians' extravagant imaginings because he is frightened by their threats of punishment. Their issue of a formal conviction for sedition is surprisingly rewarded, given their lack of any significant physical prowess over him. As the novel advances, Gulliver changes through the events in his journeys: when he is a giant in Lilliput, he is concerned about stepping on the Lilliputians and crushing them. In the land of Brobdingnag, however, he is the one at risk of being crushed, and is treated more like a toy than a human being. To the end of the book Lemuel Gulliver is changing: on the last voyage he becomes so fond of the Houyhnhnms that his once great desire to return to humankind completely vanishes.

Dystopia and utopia are substantia...


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...g by Patrick Galloway. Shirley Galloway, 1994. Web. 22 Feb. 2012. .

Kukreja, Ridhi. "Book: Gullivers Travels." Book Review: Gullivers Travels-Jonathan Swift. 2009. Web. 22 Feb. 2012. .

Parkin-Speer, Diane. "The Genres Of Gulliver's Travels (Book Review)." Utopian Studies 2.1/2 (1991): 266. Advanced Placement Source. Web. 23 Feb. 2012.

Lindberg, John. "Gulliver's Travels (Book Review)." Utopian Studies 1.2 (1990): 167. Advanced Placement Source. Web. 22 Feb. 2012.

Hart, Vaughan. "Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift (Book Review)." Utopian Studies 9.2 (1998): 250. Advanced Placement Source. Web. 22 Feb. 2012.

"Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels." Kirkus Reviews 79.21 (2011): 2026. Advanced Placement Source. Web. 22 Feb. 2012.

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