Gulliver's Travels: A Classic Adventure and Critique by Jonathan Swift - Oxford Bookworms Library PDF
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift: A Classic Satire and Adventure Novel
Gulliver's Travels is one of the most famous and influential works of literature ever written. It is a novel that combines satire, adventure, fantasy, and social commentary to create a unique and unforgettable story. In this article, we will explore what Gulliver's Travels is about, who wrote it and why, what are its main themes and messages, and how it relates to our world today.
gulliver's travels jonathan swift oxford bookworms pdf download
What is Gulliver's Travels about?
Gulliver's Travels is a novel that tells the story of Lemuel Gulliver, a surgeon and sea captain who goes on four voyages to different parts of the world. On each voyage, he encounters strange and wonderful people, animals, and places that challenge his assumptions and beliefs about himself and humanity. He visits:
Lilliput, a land of tiny people who are at war over how to break eggs.
Brobdingnag, a land of giants who treat him as a curiosity and a toy.
Laputa, a flying island inhabited by philosophers and scientists who are obsessed with abstract theories and experiments.
Balnibarbi, a land where everything is governed by impractical rules and regulations.
Luggnagg, a land where some people are immortal but cursed with old age and misery.
Glubbdubdrib, an island where a sorcerer can summon the ghosts of historical figures.
Japan, a country that is similar to Europe but has different customs and manners.
The country of the Houyhnhnms, a land where intelligent horses rule over brutish human-like creatures called Yahoos.
Through these adventures, Gulliver learns more about himself and the world, but also becomes more disillusioned and cynical about human nature and society.
Who is Jonathan Swift and why did he write Gulliver's Travels?
Jonathan Swift was an Anglo-Irish writer, clergyman, and political activist who lived from 1667 to 1745. He is considered one of the greatest satirists and prose writers of English literature. He wrote Gulliver's Travels in the late 1720s, during a time of political and social turmoil in Britain and Ireland. He was influenced by his own experiences, observations, and opinions, as well as by other literary works such as Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe and The Travels of Sir John Mandeville by an anonymous author.
Swift wrote Gulliver's Travels as a satire, a literary genre that uses humor, irony, exaggeration, and ridicule to expose and criticize the follies and vices of human beings and institutions. He wanted to mock the corruption, hypocrisy, greed, pride, prejudice, and violence that he saw in his society and in human nature in general. He also wanted to entertain his readers with imaginative and amusing stories that appealed to their curiosity and sense of wonder. He published Gulliver's Travels anonymously in 1726, under the full title Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. It was an immediate success and has remained popular ever since.
What are the main themes and messages of Gulliver's Travels?
Gulliver's Travels explores many themes and messages that are relevant to both Swift's time and ours. Some of the most important ones are:
The relativity of perspective and truth. Gulliver's Travels shows how different people and cultures have different ways of seeing and understanding the world, and how these perspectives can affect their judgments and actions. For example, the Lilliputians think that Gulliver is a giant, while the Brobdingnagians think that he is a dwarf. The Laputans value abstract reasoning over practical knowledge, while the Balnibarbians value useless projects over useful ones. The Houyhnhnms value reason over emotion, while the Yahoos value appetite over morality. Swift suggests that there is no absolute or universal truth, but rather multiple truths that depend on one's point of view.
The critique of human nature and society. Gulliver's Travels exposes and criticizes the flaws and vices of human beings and their social institutions. Swift portrays humans as irrational, selfish, greedy, violent, hypocritical, proud, prejudiced, and corrupt. He also portrays their governments, religions, laws, sciences, arts, and customs as absurd, arbitrary, oppressive, wasteful, or harmful. He contrasts humans with other creatures that are either superior or inferior to them in different ways. For example, the Lilliputians are more civilized than humans in some aspects, but more barbaric in others. The Brobdingnagians are more moral than humans, but less sophisticated. The Houyhnhnms are more rational than humans, but less compassionate. Swift implies that humans have the potential to be better than they are, but they often fail to live up to it.
The quest for self-knowledge and happiness. Gulliver's Travels depicts Gulliver's journey as a quest for self-knowledge and happiness. Gulliver starts as a naive and optimistic traveler who hopes to learn from his experiences and find happiness in different lands. However, as he travels more, he becomes more disillusioned and cynical about himself and humanity. He loses his sense of identity and belonging, and becomes alienated from his own kind. He also loses his sense of happiness and satisfaction, and becomes depressed and miserable. He ends up rejecting both humans and non-humans as unworthy companions, and prefers to live alone with his horses. Swift suggests that self-knowledge and happiness are not easy to achieve or maintain, but require constant reflection and adjustment.
A Voyage to Lilliput
How does Gulliver end up in Lilliput?
Gulliver ends up in Lilliput after his ship is wrecked by a storm in the South Indian Ocean. He swims to a nearby island where he falls asleep on the shore. When he wakes up, he finds himself tied up by hundreds of tiny ropes attached to tiny stakes on the ground. He realizes that he is surrounded by a crowd of tiny people who are less than six inches tall. They are the inhabitants of Lilliput, a kingdom that occupies part of the island.
How does Gulliver interact with the Lilliputians?
How does Swift satirize human nature and politics in Lilliput?
Swift satirizes human nature and politics in Lilliput by showing how the Lilliputians are obsessed with trivial and ridiculous matters, such as the proper way to break eggs, the color of their clothes, or their skill at rope dancing. He also shows how they are divided by political factions, such as the High-Heels and the Low-Heels, who represent the Tories and the Whigs, the two major political parties in England at the time. He also shows how they are prone to corruption, hypocrisy, ingratitude, and violence. For example, they try to use Gulliver as a weapon against their enemies, they accuse him of treason for saving the palace from a fire, and they plot to blind and starve him to death. Swift implies that humans are often petty, irrational, and cruel, and that their governments are often unjust and oppressive.
A Voyage to Brobdingnag
How does Gulliver end up in Brobdingnag?
Gulliver ends up in Brobdingnag after his second voyage is interrupted by pirates who attack his ship and leave him on a small boat. He lands on an unknown coast where he is captured by a giant farmer who takes him to his home. He realizes that he is in a land of giants who are about 60 feet tall. They are the inhabitants of Brobdingnag, a continent that lies to the northwest of California.
How does Gulliver interact with the Brobdingnagians?
Gulliver interacts with the Brobdingnagians in different ways depending on their social status and attitude towards him. The farmer initially treats him as a profitable curiosity and exhibits him around the country for money. The farmer's daughter, Glumdalclitch, treats him as a pet and a plaything and teaches him their language and customs. The queen buys him from the farmer and makes him a court favorite and an entertainer. The king treats him as a guest and a conversationalist and listens to his stories about Europe. The courtiers and ladies treat him with varying degrees of curiosity, amusement, contempt, or disgust. The common people treat him with fear, awe, or hostility. The animals treat him as a prey or a nuisance.
How does Swift satirize human nature and politics in Brobdingnag?
Swift satirizes human nature and politics in Brobdingnag by showing how Gulliver's perspective changes when he is reduced to a miniature size. He becomes more aware of his own insignificance and vulnerability, as well as of the physical flaws and imperfections of the Brobdingnagians. He also becomes more humble and ashamed of his own culture and history, as he realizes how barbaric and immoral they appear to the Brobdingnagians. He tries to impress the king with his accounts of European civilization, but the king dismisses them as absurd, wicked, or foolish. Swift implies that humans are often deluded by their own pride and vanity, and that their achievements are often tainted by violence, injustice, or folly.
A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Glubbdubdrib, and Japan
How does Gulliver end up in these places?
Gulliver ends up in these places after his third voyage is diverted by various accidents and incidents. He leaves England as a captain of a merchant ship bound for Surat in India. On his way back, he is forced by bad weather to stop at several islands in the South Pacific Ocean. He visits:
Laputa, a flying island that can move around by adjusting its magnetic force. It is inhabited by philosophers and scientists who are obsessed with abstract theories and experiments that have no practical use or benefit.
Balnibarbi, a land below Laputa where everything is governed by impractical rules and regulations imposed by Laputa. It is a land of ruin and decay where nothing works properly or efficiently.
Luggnagg, an island near Japan where some people are born immortal but cursed with old age and misery. They are called the Struldbrugs and are treated as outcasts and burdens by the rest of society.
Glubbdubdrib, an island of sorcerers where the governor can summon the ghosts of historical figures and make them answer any questions. Gulliver converses with the ghosts of Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Homer, Aristotle, and others.
Japan, a country that is similar to Europe but has different customs and manners. Gulliver obtains permission from the emperor to leave Japan and return to England.
How does Gulliver interact with the people and creatures he meets there?
Gulliver interacts with the people and creatures he meets there in various ways depending on their nature and behavior. He is curious and respectful towards the Laputans, but also finds them absurd and ridiculous. He is sympathetic and helpful towards the Balnibarbians, but also finds them miserable and foolish. He is fascinated and horrified by the Struldbrugs, but also finds them pitiful and pathetic. He is eager and inquisitive towards the ghosts of Glubbdubdrib, but also finds them contradictory and unreliable. He is polite and cautious towards the Japanese, but also finds them strange and exotic.
How does Swift satirize human nature and politics in these places?
Swift satirizes human nature and politics in these places by showing how different people and cultures have different values and priorities that often lead to absurd or harmful consequences. He mocks the Laputans for their excessive rationalism and detachment from reality, which make them neglect their families, their subjects, and their environment. He mocks the Balnibarbians for their blind obedience and submission to Laputa, which make them ruin their land and waste their resources. He mocks the Struldbrugs for their immortality without youth or happiness, which make them envy and hate the mortals. He mocks the ghosts of Glubbdubdrib for their vanity and dishonesty, which make them distort or conceal the truth about themselves and history. He mocks the Japanese for their isolationism and xenophobia, which make them distrustful and hostile to foreigners.
A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms
How does Gulliver end up in the country of the Houyhnhnms?
Gulliver ends up in the country of the Houyhnhnms after his fourth and final voyage is betrayed by his mutinous crew who seize his ship and leave him on a deserted island. He builds a small boat and sails away from the island until he reaches a land where he sees a group of deformed savage creatures chasing a horse. He follows the horse to a house where he meets more horses who can speak and reason. They are the Houyhnhnms, a race of intelligent horses who rule over the land. The savage creatures are called Yahoos, a race of degenerate humans who are kept as servants or pests by the Houyhnhnms.
How does Gulliver interact with the Houyhnhnms and the Yahoos?
Gulliver interacts with the Houyhnhnms and the Yahoos in opposite ways depending on his admiration or disgust for them. He is amazed and delighted by the Houyhnhnms, who are rational, virtuous, peaceful, and harmonious. He tries to learn from them and imitate them as much as possible. He becomes a disciple of a Houyhnhnm master who teaches him their language, their history, their philosophy, and their way of life. He is repulsed and ashamed by the Yahoos, who are irrational, vicious, filthy, and miserable. He tries to avoid them and deny any resemblance to them as much as possible. He becomes an enemy of a Yahoo leader who attacks him several times out of jealousy or hatred.
How does Swift satirize human nature and politics in the country of the Houyhnhnms?
the Houyhnhnms by showing how Gulliver's perspective changes when he is confronted with a society that is radically different from his own. He admires and idealizes the Houyhnhnms, who are rational, virtuous, peaceful, and harmonious. He rejects and despises the Yahoos, who are irrational, vicious, filthy, and miserable. He also rejects and despises his own kind, who he realizes are more similar to the Yahoos than to the Houyhnhnms. He tries to become a Houyhnhnm himself, but he fails to convince them that he is not a Yahoo. He is eventually expelled from their land and forced to return to England. Swift satirizes human nature and politics in the country of the Houyhnhnms by showing how Gulliver's admiration for the Houyhnhnms is misguided and excessive. He ignores or overlooks the flaws and limitations of the Houyhnhnms, such as their lack of emotion, imagination, diversity, or creativity. He also ignores or overlooks the virtues and potential of his own kind, such as their compassion, curiosity, variety, or innovation. He becomes a fanatic and a misanthrope, who hates himself and his fellow humans. Swift implies that humans are neither as bad as the Yahoos nor as good as the Houyhnhnms, but somewhere in between.
What is the impact and legacy of Gulliver's Travels?
Gulliver's Travels is one of the most influential and enduring works of literature ever written. It has been widely read, translated, adapted, and imitated by generations of readers and writers. It has inspired many other works of fiction, such as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, and The Simpsons by Matt Groening. It has also influenced many fields of study and thought, such as philosophy, psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, and literary criticism. It has been interpreted in various ways by different critics and scholars, who have found different meanings and messages in its rich and complex satire.
What are some of the lessons and insights that Gulliver's Travels offers to modern readers?
Gulliver's Travels offers many lessons and insights to modern readers who can relate to its themes and issues. Some of them are:
The importance of perspective and relativism. Gulliver's Travels teaches us that there is no absolute or universal truth, but rather multiple truths that depend on one's point of view. It also teaches us that we should be open-minded and tolerant towards other people and cultures who have different perspectives and values from ours.
The critique of human nature and society. Gulliver's Travels exposes and criticizes the flaws and vices of human beings and their social institutions. It also challenges us to reflect on our own behavior and morality, and to question our assumptions and beliefs about ourselves and others.
The quest for self-knowledge and happiness. Gulliver's Travels depicts Gulliver's journey as a quest for self-knowledge and happiness. It also shows us that self-knowledge and happiness are not easy to achieve or maintain, but require constant reflection and adjustment.
# FAQs - Q: What genre is Gulliver's Travels? - A: Gulliver's Travels is a satirical novel that combines elements of travel narrative, fantasy, adventure, allegory, parody, and science fiction. - Q: What is the full title of Gulliver's Travels? - A: The full title of Gulliver's Travels is Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships. - Q: Who is Lemuel Gulliver? - A: Lemuel Gulliver is the protagonist and narrator of Gulliver's Travels. He is an Englishman who works as a surgeon and a sea captain. He goes on four voyages to different parts of the world where he encounters strange people and creatures. - Q: Who is Jonathan Swift? - A: Jonathan Swift is the author of Gulliver's Travels. He is an Anglo-Irish writer, clergyman, and political activist who lived from 1667 to 1745. He is considered one of the greatest satirists and prose writers of English literature. - Q: What are the main themes of Gulliver's Travels? - A: The main themes of Gulliver's Travels are perspective, moral vs. physical power, society and the state, knowledge, truth and deception, and human folly and evil. 71b2f0854b