What is an analysis of the satirical content in Gulliver's Travels?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jonathan Swift wrote Gulliver's Travels as a direct satire of both the society and norms of the time, and as a reaction to the popularity of fantastic stories of far-off places. He deliberately patterned various parts of the novel after real-life people and events, showing human fallibility by examining culture through other viewpoints. The most important aspect of the novel is how it shows Gulliver, a standard representative of modern human culture, as incapable of surviving on his own in those other societies. For example, the food in Lilliput is far too small to sustain him on its own, and must be provided in enormous quantities. Conversely, in Brobdingnag almost everything is deadly, from a normal-sized human to a small wasp, and despite his instincts Gulliver must rely on the kindness of his hosts to remain alive. The scientists in Laputa know a lot about science, but cannot apply it to any real issues; the Houyhnhnms have a peaceful society based on logic, but have little emotion or creative passion. Each society that Gulliver discovers shows the failures of a specific area in Human society, and each also shows how old traditions become ingrained in culture until they are never questioned (for example, burial practices in Lilliput). Essentially, Gulliver's Travels serves as a satirical look at what makes Humans so unique in both their failures and successes, and posits the concept that even intelligence might be meaningless in the larger scheme of the universe.

renoa | Student

(str) mean : a. A literary work in which human vice or folly is attacked through irony, derision, or wit.


 Gulliver's Travels  was written by an English writer in an age of changes . some historical called it the  Reformation Period. Many evidences in the novel prove that Gulliver's travels is a satire . I am going to mention them in my simple research .


From the beginning of the first book in Gulliver , the Lilliputians were the first culture he met . they were small people who captured Gulliver and controlled him by using their arrows . though they are smaller than Gulliver but they had the power to control him . in the other hand , England is a small country , as the Lilliputians , but it controlled the whole European countries at that time .


After that , in his later journey to Lagodo , he found some scientists who were trying to extract sunlight from a cucumber.  in this example  the writer is attacking the sleeping scientists in England whom let everything to the religious people .


Jonathan Swift was one of the greatest satirists and because of that Gulliver's travel was the best satire novel in the English literature. Swift wrote it in this way to amuse the readers and to touch the reality of the situations at that time . the satire wasn't only in the actions of the characters . the English language , the clothes that refer to the English society and the fake hair the characters wore.


Finally, the work is a political satire.  It satirizes stupid politicians, corrupt politicians, hurtful public policies and much more.  It satirizes the human tendency to violence, and the human practice of blindly following silly traditions.  And the Christian denominations at that era .