Gulliver’s travels

I found this week’s reading to be rather interesting. As I read through Swift’s work I was able to imagine the world he had laid out on the paper. Toward the end of volume 1 I realized that he, as the author, had left a lot to the readers imagination. I wondered why someone would leave so much space for individuality in a novel. Each person who reads the story will have a completely different idea of what Swift is describing. This isn’t the case in many of the modern books I have read. I’m currently reading The Fault in Our Stars and there isn’t much left to the imagination in it. Maybe he desired to show people the different ways people can view a single piece of art. Swift seems to exaggerate the difference in size between him and the islanders, it’s almost the main part of the story. When he first arrives on the island, he describes being tied down and feeling little objects crawling over him. He then realizes these objects are people, he describes them as being only 6 inches tall. They have animals much like the people who are normal sized, but these animals are sized down to fit in with the people. He describes the horses as being roughly 5 inches tall. Now one would assume the trees are similarly proportioned but in fact he states they stand about 6 feet tall. Which doesn’t fit with the rest of the story, they literally stand out. I’m not sure why he would make the trees stand so tall.
The satire in this story is hidden in the way swift presents the civilizations he stumbles upon. We know when the Europeans were exploring new worlds they thought of themselves as better than others. In the story this could be seen by the fact that Swift portrays himself as being taller, and therefore better, than the inhabitants of the island. It took me a while to catch on to the idea as I haven’t had a straight history class in a while but it would make sense Swift would put something like this into his writing.


3 thoughts on “Gulliver’s travels

  1. Upon reading Guliliver’s Travels, I too, was taken back with the imagination used in a novel form of Swift. I’m curious how your other book, The Fault in Stars, contrast from Gulliver’s Travels. There is a definite flair of Sci-Fi in my opinion.
    You have a valid point in the ideology behind Gulliver in his exploration efforts. Maybe the size did dictation how Gulliver felt entitled or better than others. Strong era for people to have self discoveries and explorations of new lands and how these lands where adapted into the process by others. Can we relate this to any of our previous readings like Crusoe? The reader is the one that defers the satire Swift uses. You are right, each reader has a different idea of Swift’s intend.

    • As far as contrasts between the book I’m currently reading and Gulliver’s Travels is in the struggle. In Swift’s novel the main character is in a power struggle between himself and the little people he has been captured by, at least in the first chapter. In the other novel the struggle is for life and love and the hope of a tomorrow.
      In relation to Crusoe both Authors write in a fictional bibliography style. However, Crusoe allows an insight into multiple characters where Swift only portrays the adventure of Gulliver and does not offer a point of view from the capturing civilizations.

  2. Sara, I’m interested in how you see Crusoe as representing multiple characters? We never have any direct perspective from Friday, but that doesn’t mean we don’t see that perspective. I’m just wondering how we get there!?

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