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"Gulliver's Travels is the most delightful of children's book, yet one of the bitterest...

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farhansb | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted July 5, 2010 at 11:52 PM via web

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"Gulliver's Travels is the most delightful of children's book, yet one of the bitterest satires on mankind." Comment on this statement.

give the answer with some examples.

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ktmagalia | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted July 6, 2010 at 1:35 AM (Answer #1)

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Gulliver's Travels is considered to be one of the most biting satires ever writtten.  In fact, it was first published without Johnathan Swift's name as he feared persecution by the British government.

Swift himself claimed he wrote Gulliver's Travels "to vex the world rather than divert it."

Swift uses his sea-loving docotr, one who imagines traveling to far away and distant lands, to mock the policitical events in England and Ireland.  Through his tales, he makes fun of the thinkers of the Enlightenment and social values:

Man's ability to reason, they claimed, could save him from his tendency to sin.

In order to fully appreciate Swift's biting messages, one must consider the occasion of the piece and historical events of the time.  George I was at the throne, and was extremely unpopular.  Swift resented how influence assisted him in gaining the power of the throne, and

...and his Whig ministers subsequently used their considerable gains in power to oppress members of the opposition Tory party. Swift had been a Tory since 1710, and bitterly resented the Whig actions against his friends, who often faced exile or worse.

 

This policical party conflict is satirized in Part I of Gulliver's Travels:

... where the Lilliputian heir (who represented George II, the future king of England) has to hobble about with one short heel and one high as a compromise between the two parties that wear different heights of heels.

Furthermore, Swift disagreed with the mentality of the Enlightement.  He felt that people could not possibly escape sin, logic or not, and that a "utopia", free from sinning, was an impossible venture.

His satire of the folly of Enlightenment scientific and theological musings and experiments in Part III of Gulliver's Travels is followed by his portrayal of a utopian society, the Houyhnhnm's, into which man can never fit.

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