Seminar Paper On Issues Mocked In Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels

1484 words - 6 pages

Jonathan Swift's, Gulliver's Travels satirically relates bodily functions and physical attributes to social issues during England's powerful rule of Europe. Through out the story we find many relations between bodily features and British and European society. Swift uses this tone of mockery to explain to his reader the importance of many different topics during this time of European rule. Swift feels that the body and their functions relate to political as well as the ration of a society. Swift's fascination with the body comes from its unproblematic undertone which gives his audience recognizable parallelism to many issues such as political change and scientific innovation.Gulliver's first adventure takes place in Lilliput. Gulliver swims to a foreign shore after his boat and rowboat capsize due to a fierce storm. Washed upon the shore, Gulliver finds himself tied to the grass surrounded by little bodied people called the Lilliputians. The Lilliputians stood no more than six inches high. During this time Swift recognized that England was also a kind of six inch being that had great influence in Europe. Swift wrote Gulliver's Travels during a time when Europe was the worlds most dominant and influential force. England, despite its small size, had the potential to defeat any nation that might try to conquer them. Swift relates this phenomenon to the small stature of the Lilliputians. They stood a mere six inches high but had the power to siege the mammoth Gulliver. The capability of a nation consisting of miniature people, who are able to capture someone ten times their size can be seen as reinforcing the capability of a small nation, such as England, becoming and remaining a great power. Even though this is true, Swift entices a condescending tone to Gulliver's portrayal of the small Lilliputians, who easily fit into the hands of Gulliver, yet still manage to threaten his life.Even though the Lilliputians are piteously small in Gulliver's eyes, they do not see themselves the same way. To themselves, the Lilliputians feel they are normal and Gulliver remains the outlandish giant. The unexpected infringement of giant Gulliver into the Lilliputians well-developed society reminds the European society, that size and strength are always relative, and there is no way for Europe to be certain that a Gulliver-like giant, might not arrive and conquer them at any moment. This encounter, between Gulliver and the Lilliputians would put Europe's confidence in its power in jeopardy. Swift made sure that this message got across to humble the society of England.In chapter three we see the advance of Gulliver in the Lilliputians society. During the process of integrating Gulliver finds that their culture is based around trivial issues. These trivial issues can be looked at as subsequent to their small stature. Gulliver finds that their government officials are chosen by rope dancing. To Gulliver and the reader these practices are ridiculous and arbitrary, but to...

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