Gulliver’s Travels: Satirical Patterns
Jonathan Swift wrote a novel in 1776 called Gulliver’s Travels. This novel along with all of his other writing followed a satirical pattern. Because of Swift’s vast knowledge in politics he was capable of creating a masterpiece completely ridiculing the government found in England. In Gulliver’s Travels, Swift brings us, the readers, to join him on journeys to worlds of complete nonsense. These worlds are different ways that allow for Swift to mock the old European government. In our reading, we followed him to a land called Lilliput, and then later to a land known as Brobdingnab. Swift uses humor and knowledge to completely ridicule European politics in these two imaginative worlds. Although Swift wrote this novel to satirize politics in his time, we are able to understand the matters presented because of their over-abundance in today’s governmental world.
Political divisions have been taking place all through history, no matter where, or when. In the first book, Swift describes two types of Lilliputians, those who wear high heels, and those who don’t. In the text it describes how the high-heeled Lilliputians are very much in favor of absolutely no change in the constitution. And accordingly, the low-heeled favored change in the constitution. This type of situation is still going strong in America. We are blessed with two types of people as well, those who favor donkeys, and those who favor elephants. Now those elephant lovers go right along side those who wore the high heels in Lilliput. Both of the high heels and republicans had achieved dominance and wanted to preserve their position. They didn’t want anything to do with a change in their government. Conversely, the donkey/short heeled types favor change so as to enhance their power, prestige and position. Swift basically makes fun of the pettiness of the differences between democrats and republicans in their mutual quest for power. He is saying that the differences between the two groups are minute, as though the difference between high heels and low.
Swift continues on his journey scorning the political government by poking fun at the rituals performed by politicians of his day. In book one, the Lilliputians develop awkward ways of determining political office. The Lilliputians developed a “rope dance, performed upon a slender white thread, extended about two foot, and twelve inches from the ground.”(p. 47) This rope dance was for those who “are candidates for great employments and high favour at court.” (p. 47) The candidates would have to petition the emperor to entertain him if a spot is open in the court or in office. They would then jump as high as they could without falling. This ritual may seem a little ridiculous to the reader, but this is simply a...