Study Guide

Gulliver's Travels

by Jonathan Swift

Gulliver's Travels Essay - Suggested Essay Topics

Suggested Essay Topics

Part I, Chapters 1-4
1. Discuss Gulliver’s progress from chained alien to important ally of the Lilliputians.

2. Define satire and describe how it is used in these chapters, using examples from the text.

3. Discuss the transitions in the tone of these chapters, from travel book to description of an alien society to satire on English politics.

4. Discuss the relationships between Gulliver and the Emperor of Lilliput, Skyresh Bolgolam, and Reldresal.

Part I, Chapters 5-6
1. Discuss the decline of Gulliver’s fortunes in Lilliput in Chapters Five and Six.

2. Define irony, and how it is used in Chapters Five and Six.

3. Discuss Swift’s facility of changing from one narrative style to another, and discuss how these changes fit into the plan of the book.

4. Discuss the changes in Gulliver’s relationship with the people of Blefuscu.

Part I, Chapters 7-8
1. Discuss the total collapse of Gulliver’s position in Lilliput and its causes.

2. Discuss Gulliver’s disillusionment with politics.

3. Discuss the literary techniques by which Swift describes in a relatively few pages Gulliver’s transition from condemned criminal in Lilliput to returned traveler in England.

4. Discuss elements of political satire, satire of the human condition, and satire of the traveler’s tale in these chapters.

Part II, Chapters 1-2
1. Discuss the way Swift uses the difference of scale between Gulliver and the Brobdingnagians to literary effect.

2. Discuss the way changes in tone advance the narrative in the first two chapters of Gulliver’s second voyage.

3. How does Swift ironically comment on human frailty in these chapters? Discuss.

4. Discuss the changes in Gulliver’s relationships with the Brobdingnagians in these chapters.

Part II, Chapters 3-4
1. Discuss the attitude of the King of Brobdingnag to England, and Gulliver’s attitude toward it, as satire of human frailty.

2. How does the description of Brobdingnag in Chapter Four use the difference in scale between Gulliver and the Brobdingnagians? Discuss.

3. How does Gulliver’s trouble with the dwarf satirize human frailty?

4. How do Chapters Three and Four deepen the reader’s understanding of Brobdingnag in general? Discuss.

Part II, Chapters...

(The entire section is 1018 words.)