How is narration effective inĀ Gulliver's Travels?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Like many fictional stories of the 18th century, Gulliver's Travels is written as an epistolary novel, in this case as the memoirs of a world-traveler. It is likely that Swift drew inspiration from Robinson Crusoe, which also imitated the style of a memoir, although Swift eliminated any semblance of a diary-style narrative. One strength of this narration is that it informs the reader only of Gulliver's subjective experiences, not of any larger meaning, allowing a varied interpretation of the subjects and satires. Since Gulliver acts as an alter-ego for the reader, it is possible to stand outside the narration and see his opinions as a single facet of complicated issues. By focusing on description instead of interpretation, Swift allows the reader greater leeway in deciding the meaning of the text, and whether or not the fantastic cultures Gulliver encounters have merit in the real world.