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Gulliver's Travels: A Journey Of Self Discovery

1513 words - 6 pages

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 away from the self-identity he had in the beginning of the voyage, he was once a self-proclaimed Yahoo and loved mankind but now as he talks to the Master about the Houyhnhnms he starts to shift his identity wanting to be a part of their society. He also expresses that he does not want to return to England to see his family and the three Yahoo's he created (14). It is Gulliver's pride which ultimately shifts his self-identity becoming an irrational being. He refuses to see the aspect of the Yahoo's in himself so he identifies with the Houyhnhnms. Gulliver's new self-identity clouds his judgment and what he fails to realize is that the Houyhnhnms are just as irrational as the Yahoo's. The Yahoo's are held captive by the Houyhnhnms and pose as servants being looked at as inferior. This does not make them any better than the Yahoo's because they both possess qualities of greed and destructiveness, however Gulliver does not see this and still pursues becoming part of their society. In the end, the Houyhnhnms do not believe Gulliver is one of them and exile him out of their land which results in him going mad. The Yahoo's represent all that is deceitful, violent, and selfish, but what Gulliver fails to comprehend because of...

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