Can you write an essay about satire in Gulliver's Travels?

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ophelious | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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Yes, I can : )  The question is, can you? Remember, eNotes editors are not able to complete homework assignments for you; we can only help you to do that kind of work for yourself.  Along those lines I would be happy to help you come up with ideas for your essay, which seems to be about "satire as used in Gulliver's Travels."

First, you have to have a good idea of what satire is. Satire is when an author pokes fun at a real life person, idea, or situation through his or her writing, usually in a humorous way.  Satire works best when it is subtle.

Keeping this in mind, you need to think about the plot-line of the story and try to  think if any situations Gulliver finds himself in can be related to a modern sociological situation.  For example, think of the part of the story where Gulliver lives with the race of super smart horses while the "Yahoos" (humans) are beast like servants.  This is a satirical reversal of the situation we are used to...that man is lord over the animals.

Or, think of the time when Gulliver pees on the burning house in order to put out the fire and save the queen (thus breaking the law about peeing in public.)  In the end, even though he saves the queen (and all seems forgiven about breaking the law), the government uses the law to condemn Gulliver when he fails to obey them.  This is a satirical take on the government using laws arbitrarily to further its own ends.

There are many more examples of satire in the story, but I hope these examples get you thinking along the right lines.  Good luck with your essay, and be sure to ask any more questions you might have that will help you write it.

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