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A Short Essay Talking About Gulliver's Travels And How Johnathan Swift Uses Satire To Poke Fun At Europe During The 18th Century

523 words - 3 pages

Gulliver's Travels details a sailor's journey to four very different fantastical societies. The first, Lilliput, is populated by miniature people who fight wars over the proper way to break an egg. The second, Brobdingnag, is inhabited by giants who put Gulliver on display as a curiosity. The third consists of a kingdom governed by a king who lives on a floating island; the kingdom also contains an academy of scientists performing futile experiments, such as trying to extract sunbeams from cucumbers. The fourth is a society in which human-like creatures are made to serve their horse-like superiors, the Houyhnhnms.In his first adventure, in Lilliput, Gulliver ...view middle of the document...

In his next adventure, in Brobdingnag, Gulliver finds himself in the opposite situation, now many times smaller than his hosts. He is made to see things up close, and notices flaws that would have escaped him had the people been his own size. To him, the Brobdingnagians seem vulgar and ugly, since the flaws which would be invisible on smaller beings become all too obvious when expanded to their gargantuan size. Gulliver is treated poorly by the farmer who first discovers him, but is then rescued by the Queen, who turns him into a pet. The giants see him, and the society from which he comes, as tiny and insignificant.Next, Gulliver visits the floating island of Laputa, where he encounters a government so absorbed in its theories that the King must be aroused during conversation by being hit with a stick. While the people on the floating island concern themselves with theories, the people of the kingdom below suffer from poverty and hunger. On the ground a scientific academy is similarly concerned with the most impractical projects; the value of academia is challenged by their ineptitude.Finally, Gulliver travels to a country populated by intelligent horses, the Houyhnhnms, and the brutish, human-like Yahoos who serve them. During his stay, he is treated like a Yahoo and comes to think of his own European society as being not that different from theirs. He wants to stay with the Houyhnhnms, but he is eventually banished from their company for resembling a Yahoo. Knowing that the ways of his people are flawed and irrational, he finds it very difficult to return home to England.

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