Unvieling The Satire Of Swift Essay Research

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Unvieling The Satire Of Swift Essay, Research Paper To generations of schoolchildren, Gulliver s Travels has been a delightful visit to a faraway fantasy kingdom. Upon a closer look, Gulliver s Travels is found to be a potentially critical and very insightful piece, satirizing the political and social systems of eighteenth-century England. During the eighteenth-century there was an upheaval of commercialization in London, England, resulting in a change in attitude and thought in English society. It was an attempt by the middle class to obtain the dignity and splendor of the upper class, which resulted in the English society holding themselves in high regards as an elite society of mankind. Jonathan Swift satirizes English society in many ways, using metaphors to reveal his

disapproval of it. Swift makes comments addressing specific topics as current political controversies as well as universal concerns like the moral degeneration of man. Swift uses graphic representations of the body and its functions to reveal to the reader that grandeur is merely an illusion and a fa ade to hide behind. Swift was one of the greatest satirists of his age and Gulliver s Travels is probably the apex of his art. Gulliver s Travels is the story of Lemuel Gulliver, a ship s surgeon who has a number of adventures, which comprises four sections or books . In Book I, or the first voyage, his ship is blown off course and shipwrecked. Gulliver finds himself in a land of miniature people where his giant size is meant as a metaphor for his superiority over the Lilliputians.

This metaphor represented England s belief that it had superiority over other cultures. Swift goes on to demonstrate that despite his belief in superiority, Gulliver is not as great as he makes himself out to be when the forces of nature call upon him. Gulliver says to the reader that before hand he, was under great difficulties between urgency and shame , and after the deed says that he felt, guilty of so uncleanly an action (Jonathan Swift, Nortaon Anthology of English Literature, New York: Norton, 1986, pg. 2024). By revealing to the reader Gulliver s shame in carrying out 2 a basic function of life, Swift comments on the self-imposed supremacy of English society. By humbling Gulliver, England s representative, the author implies that despite the belief of the English to be

the most refined society, they are still human beings who are slaves to the same forces as every other human being regardless of their race or culture. Although Gulliver is too big to perceive them in detail, he judges the country s inhabitants to be as perfect and innocent as their toy-like appearances. The intelligence and organizational abilities of the Lilliputians at first impress Gulliver. This brings Swift to the essential conflict of Book I: the na ve, ordinary, but compassionate Everyman at the mercy of an army of people with small minds. Since the Lilliputians are technologically adept, Gulliver does not yet see how small-minded the Lilliputians are. Swift has developed his novel in such a way that, as his aspersions harshen and intensify, so do Gulliver s actions and

attitudes. The Lilliputians are separated into two tribes. One is holding Gulliver and the other lives on the second island which is separated from the first by a canal that resembles the watery division between England and France. Gulliver is with the littlendians and the enemy is the bigendians, which live on the island of Blefuscu. Gulliver helps the littlend to defeat the bigend. In this Swift emphasizes the stupidity in the war between England and France, along with every war which starts over a stupid reason. Also during Swift s life, a high level of animosity existed between various English sects that considered themselves Protestant, English Protestants collectively and the Catholics. Swift, an Anglican clergyman himself, is clearly showing how ridiculous such dissension