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Gulliver's Travels


Jonathan Swift published Gulliver's Travels in 1726 and it's divided into four books, in every book the protagonist is cast into fantastic lands, but always manages to come back to England. In his first voyage he reaches the land of Lilliput, where the inhabitants, the Lilliputians, are very tiny and mean, they are little people who have giant ideas about themselves and their self importance.
In the second book he lands on the land of Brobdingnag, where the inhabitants are giants who make him feel a Lilliputian, he becomes the king's pet, with whom he talks about the system of government in England and Europe, Gulliver describes England very proudly, but the king criticises his proudness because he's talking about injustices wars and poverty.
In the third book he reaches the flying island of Laputa, where the inhabitants are absent minded and immortal scientists and philosophers, who make very absurd experiments.
In the last book Gulliver goes to the land of the Houyhnhnms, a country governed by horses endowed with reason who rule over the Yahoos, a vile species resembling
humans.
Gulliver is the typical European, he is middle aged, well educated, sensible and careful observer. He has experience of the world and he fully supports the English culture, but as the circumstances force him to think he starts to develop a critical awareness of the limitations of European values. Indeed when he goes back to England from the fourth voyage he can no longer take part of the society, he can't stand human beings and starts to live with horses and that's one of the reasons why Swift has been labelled a misanthrope. Gulliver is always displaced, he's an outsider and being out of his accustomed situation he's forced to grow.
This novel is a political allegory of the English society, Swift criticises the political, social and religious conflicts of the time as well as the scientific progress of the time. In this tale for children, political allegory and parody of voyage literature, Gulliver is used both as an object and an instrument of satire because he's unconscious like everyone else.
The style is matter of fact, Gulliver, which is the first person narrator, describes everything he experiences with great precision and in a very detailed way. The sources of this novel are Fedro and Esopo, he took as an inspiration the allegorical fables in which animals embodied human faults.
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