Gulliver's Travels Questions and Answers
by Jonathan Swift

Gulliver's Travels book cover
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What technique does Swift use in Gulliver's Travels to produce satire?

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Satire pokes fun at weaknesses and problems in people and institutions.

In Gulliver's Travels, Swift pokes fun at the European tendency to be violent, to judge by surface appearances, to put vanity ahead of commonsense, and to generally behave irrationality.

Swift uses two tried and true methods to make us laugh at our own weaknesses: a clueless narrator and exaggeration.

Gulliver, as his name implies, is gullible. He accepts everything he hears on his travels and tends to repeat it verbatim without any questioning of how absurd it sounds. He also quite openly describes the absurdities and violence of European warfare and society and is surprised when his hosts, such as the king of Brobdingnag, find Europeans hopelessly barbaric and bloodthirsty.

Swift also exaggerates. His Lilliputians, for example, are externally attractive, tiny, doll-like people; and their minds are especially petty. This pokes fun both at thinking pretty people are good inside and at the similar pettiness of British...

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