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How do the last two paragraphs of  Voyage IV in Gulliver's Travels affect the way we...

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evargas0 | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted January 4, 2012 at 9:06 PM via web

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How do the last two paragraphs of  Voyage IV in Gulliver's Travels affect the way we view Lemuel Gulliver?

Do these last two paragraphs help to answer the question, "What is the relationship between the persona and the author?"

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docholl1 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted January 4, 2012 at 9:52 PM (Answer #1)

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In the last two paragraphs of the voyage, Gulliver chiefly comments on his attempts to co-exist with the Yahoos of English society, and he compares the perfect, rational society of the Houyhnhnms to the society he is now first to become a part of.  He clearly has set himself apart from the human (Yahoo) race.

Gulliver can stand almost any vice in other humans, whom he insists on calling Yahoos, but he cannot abide the vice of pride because he cannot reconcile the vile nature of Yahoos with the idea of having pride in their condition.  Gulliver notes that the Houyhnhnms are no more proud of their accomplishments as he would be for not missing a leg or an arm, "which no Man in his Wits would boast of."  Gulliver ends his diatribe against the Yahoos by begging them not to come into his presence if they are exhibiting any element of pride.

Clearly, in the last two paragraphs, we are present with Gulliver the two-legged Houyhnhnm.  We know, for example, that he prefers the company of his horses to his wife or children, and he distinguishes himself at all points from the Yahoos that populate England.  In a real sense, Gulliver has become a victim of the pride he inveighs against in the Yahoos because his pride in being now like the Houyhnhnms hides his own human nature from himself.

Gulliver has become the supreme symbol of alienation.  To paraphrase a great movie, Gulliver has transmuted himself into a horse of a different color.

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