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Gulliver's Search For An Identity Essay

1528 words - 6 pages

Gulliver's Travels is a novel that touches on many subjects. One of the lesser points discussed is how Gulliver seems to be searching for acceptance and for his identity on his many journeys. Upon entering any of these strange foreign lands, Gulliver makes it a point to learn the language. This is because knowing the language of a foreign land is a crucial part to your acceptance in that country. Another thing that Gulliver adapts in each of these foreign places is their manner of dress. Great pains are taken in each country to dress Gulliver in the kingdoms latest fashions. While on his journeys, Gulliver tried his part in many roles to find one that fit him and would grant him acceptance with the peoples of each land. I will discuss Gulliver's role in each society and if he is ever truly accepted by any of the peoples he meets.

The first stop on Gulliver's many journeys was the island of Lilliput. This is a civilization filled with people only a fraction of the size of human beings. Gulliver is a "man-mountain" compared to the tiny Lilliputians. It is here that Gulliver discovers what it is like to have immense power. He is ordered to "be our ally against our enemies"(34) and "at his times of leisure, be aiding and assisting our workmen"(34). Even though they are smaller then he they try to control him. The emperor even comments that "he hoped I should prove a useful servant"(35), which shows what the people truly saw him for. Gulliver lives up to the emperors' expectations in the battle against Blefuscu. "I took up the knotted ends of the cables...and with great ease drew fifty of the enemies men-of-war after me"(43). This act of heroic servitude gained him great favor with the emperor who "created me a nordac upon the spot, which is the highest title of honour among them"(45). Now Gulliver held a position as great as his stature. He very quickly learns that with great power comes great responsibility. When asked to destroy the whole of Blefuscu, Gulliver refuses so not to be "an instrument of bringing a free and brave people into slavery"(46). This act of rebellion highly displeases the emperor who only sees Gulliver as an instrument of war and power. Finally the Lilliputians grow to fear the great man-mountain and try to find some way to dispose of him. They suggest poking out his eyes, but veto it due to the fact that it really isn't reasonable to have a giant blind man terrorizing their village. They also suggest starving him to death and leaving his bones "as a monument of admiration to posterity"(66). It is only after these threats are made against him that Gulliver thinks to use his great strength against him, "I might easily with stones pelt the metropolis to pieces"(66). Even after all this he still see himself as a high ranking nordac, and needed to compose himself as such. Gulliver leaves the island never really...

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