Provide evidence and examples that Gulliver's Travels is a mix of fact and fable meant to delight as well as instruct the reader.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that there is much in way of fable in Swift's work.  The fact that Gulliver is almost a giant in comparison to others, and that there is so much element of fantasy in the lands he visits helps create the fable element.  I think that it is really difficult to not see the satire evident in the story.  In this light, I tend to see it as less of a fable mixture and more of fact.  Gulliver encounters people that Swift targets.  The Romantic thinkers, the Enlightenment thinkers, the political opposition beliefs of the day are all a part of the different challenges that are encountered.  This has to be deliberate to a great extent in that the element of fact and satire overwhelm any notion of this being a children's story.  The critique of science in Part III is a deliberate one.  It is evident that Swift is taking aim at Enlightenment thinkers.  Children listening or reading this part of the narrative would ask questions such as, "Why are they so fascinated with math?"  or questions such as "Why do they need to be slapped in the face?"  These are questions that are satirical, though the child might not know they are engaging in satire.  It is because of this where I concede to see a mix of fact and fable, but see more of the fact end through satire than anything else.

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Gulliver's Travels

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