Swift was dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin when his novel came out. Since in this book he wrote about and often harpooned-prominent political figures, he published the book anonymously. While most readers were trying like mad to find out who the author was. Swift’s close friends had fun keeping the secret. Londonwas stunned with thoughts about the author’s identity, as well as those of some of his characters. Swift’s dying years were a torment. He suffered awful bouts of dizziness, nausea, deafness, and mental incapacity. In fact,
Swift’s harshest critics tried to discredit the Travels on the grounds that the author was mad when he wrote it. But he wasn’t. The Travels were published in 1726- and Part IV, which raised the most controversy, was written before Part III- and Swift didn’t enter a mental institution until 1742. He died in 1745. The Plot Gulliver’s Travels is the story about Lemuel Gulliver as he travels to the strange lands of Lilliput, Brobdingnag, the kingdom of Laputa, and the land of the Houyhnhnms. In Lilliput people are six inches high, and Gulliver, in comparison, is a giant, or a “Man-Mountain,” as the little people call im. Gulliver becomes involved with the domestic problems of the Lilliputian government.
The government made to deal with Gulliver. The document outlines the terms of his freedom. One of these terms is that Gulliver must help the Lilliputians in their war against Blefuscu . Gulliver steels the enemy’s fleet and takes it across the harbor back to Lilliput. For a short time he’s a hero. But Gulliver intervenes in the peace talks, and gets a more profitable treaty for the Blefuscudians than they would have had gotten. After that it’s downhill for Gulliver.
When he pee’s onto a fire at the palace and there by saves the royal chambers, he is put on trial for disobeying a law prohibiting public urination. This and some other charges against Gulliver result in a conviction of high treason, punishable by blinding. Gulliver doesn’t feel like having that done so he escapes to Blefuscu. Part II, which takes place in the land of Brobdingnag. This time Gulliver is extremely small compared to the giant Brobdingnagians. After a short time as a working freak. Gulliver is rescued by the king and queen and lives a life of comfort. He spends much of his time earning the language and talking with the king about life in England. The king turns out to be as a fair, merciful ruler and a very sympathetic and humane man.
Gulliver, in comparison seems petty, vindictive, and cruel like the Lilliputians. One day while on an walk with the king and queen, Gulliver’s box/house is kidnapped by a bird with him inside and dropped in the sea, and is then recovered by an English ship. Gulliver stays in England a while with his family then goes back to sea. In Part III, where Gulliver goes to the flying island of Laputa and some of its colonies nearby.
His first stop is Laputa, where the people have one eye turned inward and one eye turned up to the sky. They’re thinking always of their own thoughts (inward) and of other issues like mathematics, astronomy and music (upward). They’re so focused they need flappers to hit them self’s on the ear to let them know someone is talking to them. The Laputans are so distracted from everyday life that they’re barely aware of their wives. Because the Laputans are bossy rulers of their colonies, and because they pay little attention to Gulliver, he gets sick of them and goes on to the island of Balnibarbi.
There Gulliver becomes friendly with Count Munodi, who is the only one on the island who lives in a nice well-built house and whose lands yield crops. The other people engaged in scientific research and do everything according to the most sophisticated way possible. Therefore their houses are in ruins and their land are the same way. Gulliver visits the Academy of the Projectors to learn more about them, and witnesses a series of totally useless, wasteful experiments. In Luggnagg Gulliver meets the Struldbrugs, a race of people who are immortal. They do not have eternal youth, instead they grow onstantly older more feeble, miserable, and useless.
Gulliver returns to England before again setting sail. In Part IV Gulliver ends up in the land of the Houyhnhnms pronounced WHIN-nims I think. The Houyhnhnms are horses governed totally by reason. They have created a society that is perfect, and perfectly peaceful except for the Yahoos, and exempt from the topsy-turviness of passion. The Yahoos are humans, but are so cruel that they are human only in appearance. The Yahoos are kept in a kennel, and are prohibited from having anything to do with the Houyhnhnms. The Yahoos came to the land by accident.
Gulliver tries his best to become a Houyhnhnm he talks like them, walks like them, tries to think and act like them. He’s in the strange position of being neither a Yahoo nor a Houyhnhnm he fits nowhere, and because of this he must leave. Gulliver goes mad in Part IV, and can never adjust himself to other people, whom he considers Yahoos. Neither can he come to terms with the Yahoo part of himself. Back in England, he buys horses and spends most of his time in the stable. He can barely tolerate the presence of his family, and has as little to do with them as possible.
He says that his aim in writing Gulliver’s Travels is to correct the Yahoos. Having been exposed to the Houyhnhnms, he feels he is the man for the job. CHARACTERS LEMUEL GULLIVER Gulliver is the most important character in this novel. He’s the “author” of the Travels, he’s your tour guide. He’s also one of the most provoking characters in English literature. Gulliver’s frustrating to deal with for a number of reasons. 1. He’s not steady he changes with relation to the place he is at.
2. He’s often a victim of Swift’s irony. This means that we have to be on guard against what he says. 3. It’s impossible o feel relaxed with Gulliver. 4. Gulliver directs a lot of his hostility toward the reader which makes you feel hostile toward him. THE LILLIPUTIAN EMPEROR Swift had no regard for this king, and uses Lilliputian court practices to criticize the English government. On another level the tiny guy represents dictatorship, cruelty, lust for power, and corruption. He is a symbol of bad government. THE LILLIPUTIAN EMPRESS The empress represents Queen Anne, who blocked Swift’s advancement in the Church of England because she was offended by how he wrote. The empress bears early responsibility for Gulliver’s death in Lilliput.