Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

Gulliver's Travels book cover
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Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Even though Gulliver is an accurate and honest reporter, he is not a reliable narrator. In what ways is he unreliable, and how do readers know when not to accept his judgment?

2. Book three does not fit many patterns of the other three books. Explain how it is different, and either defend its presence in Gulliver's Travels or argue that it should not have been included by Swift.

3. Carefully explain how Swift uses book one to both satirize and champion particular political events and people of eighteenth-century England. Explain the historical events that inspired much of what we see in Gulliver's visit to Lilliput.

4. Book four has caused critics and readers problems ever since Gulliver's Travels was published. Based on the first three books, defend the opinion that Gulliver is not speaking for Swift in his complete admiration of the Houyhnhnms and his subsequent detestation of the human race.

5. Both Gulliver's Travels and Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (1719) have become popular travel adventures. Explain how the two books are alike and different.