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Gullivers Travels

Uploaded by char_muse on Mar 19, 2006

On the surface, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver's Travels appears to be a travel journal, made to record the adventures of a man, Lemuel Gulliver, on the four incredible journeys. Primarily, however, Gulliver's Travels is a work of satire. In order to convey this satire, Gulliver is taken on four adventures, driven by fate, a restless spirit, and the pen of Swift. Gulliver's first journey takes him to the Land of Lilliput, where he finds himself a giant among six inch tall beings. While there, the people and customs he encounters act merely as a vehicle for Swift’s satirical ranting of politics, war, and religion. Gulliver’s voyage to Lilliput gives the reader an insight into the politics of the land of little men. Through the course of his stay in Lilliput, Gulliver learns of the land’s political parties; ongoing war, as well as the religious basis of their conflict; and means by which Lillputians are appointed to political positions.

During Swift’s era, there was an uprising of two political parties: the Whigs and the Tories. These two factions of political beliefs were noted for their staunch differences, much as the two political factions of Lilliput, the Tramecksan and Slameckstan. These two parties are distinguished “from the high and low heels on their shoes.” Swift uses this satirical representation to characterize the Whigs and the Tories of his own native England. The book, through footnotes, further notes of satirical representations of kings of England. When speaking to Gulliver, Principle Secretary Reldresal notes “that the high heels are most agreeable to our ancient constitution: but however this be, his Majesty hath determined to make use of only low heels in administration of the government,” much as King George I was more sympathetic to the Whigs than the Tories during Swift’s era.

Upon the visit of Principle Secretary Reldresal, Gulliver learns that the Lilliputians “labor under two mighty evils; a violent faction at home, and the danger of an invasion from the most potent enemy from abroad.” The enemy abroad he speaks of is Blefuscu, the island located across the water from Lilliput. The two countries have been fighting a war for “six and thirty moons past” over something that must be deemed silly and unimportant: the proper end by which one must crack an egg. Reldresal informs Gulliver that many years ago, “the primitive way of breaking eggs…was upon the larger end: but...

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Uploaded by:   char_muse

Date:   03/19/2006

Category:   Literature

Length:   4 pages (886 words)

Views:   9891

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