Gulliver’s Travels Journal Entries 1) “Nothing angered and mortified me so much as the queen’s dwarf; who being of the lowest stature that was ever in that country (for I verily think he was not full thirty feet high), became so insolent at seeing a creature so much beneath him, that he would always affect to swagger and look big as he passed by me in the queen’s antechamber.” The Brobdingnagian Queens dwarf, who is very small compared to everyone else, enjoys bullying Gulliver because he is even smaller. This is a very common theme seen in everyday life. Us humans tend to, when we feel weak, oppress those who are weaker, in order to make ourselves feel stronger. Those who bully, more times than not, do so because they themselves get bullied.
Gulliver’s stay in Brobdingnag took a toll on his life span as he struggled with abuse from the queen’s dwarf. He was jealous of his entertainment of the queen, as he is used to being the center of attention. “The Queens dwarf attempts to kill Gulliver multiple times out of jealousy of Gulliver being much smaller than he is.” Swift states this scenario to express the petty and jealous nature of mankind. 2) Gulliver tells the Master Horse that the purpose of lawyers is to confuse and distract people from the truth by talking in such a way that ordinary people do not fully understand. Gulliver says that lawyers are trained from their childhood to defend anything, especially lies, so they have no sense of justice.
Gulliver thinks that because of this, their arguments are often deceitful. The Master Horse comments that it’s a shame that they spend so much time training lawyers to be lawyers and not teaching them to be knowledgeable and wise. 3) Although Lemuel Gulliver is the main character, the only dynamic character, and the narrator of the novel, he certainly is not heroic in any sense, nor is he powerful or courageous. He is simply an ordinary man on a strange adventure.
Being that he was born into a middle-class family, he is quite flexible in terms of what social circle he moves towards. Also, early in the novel, Gulliver states that he enjoys people-watching. “My hours of leisure I spent… in observing the manners and dispositions of the people.” This shows that Gulliver takes quite the interest in humans, language, and customs. This is the driving force behind the novel. However, by the end of Part IV, Gulliver had gone from an open-minded flexible man, to a narrow-minded biter one. He decided that he wanted to stay in Houyhnhnm Land, but gets banished and was forced to move back to England. When he gets home, he is so disgusted by other people that he cannot stand to even be in the same room with his wife and children.
4) “But in justice to this Prince’s great clemency, and the care he hath of his subjects’ lives (wherein it were much to be wished that the monarchs of Europe would imitate him), it must be mentioned for his honor that strict orders are given to have the infected parts of the floor well washed after such execution; which, if his domestics neglect, they are in danger of incurring his royal displeasure.” The definitions of clemency is mercy. Gulliver’s comment on the king’s clemency is ironic because the king is anything but that. The king uses cruel methods of punishment to degrade his citizens. Although Gulliver comments about his “clemency,” the king’s actions clearly reflect the opposite. 5) Throughout the entire novel, Swift uses a great deal of satire.
Swift expresses hatred for mankind, with hopes that mankind will realize and change. Swift reveals mankind’s primitive and savage nature by distorting their image. His satire is used in an attempt to correct mankind’s flaws. These flaws include pettiness, pseudo-intellectualism, self-aggrandizement, and the oppression of the lower class by the upper class. These flaws that he points out are evident in every place that Gulliver travels 6) Gullivers Travels is filled with symbols.
Nearly every character and location is meant to represent a historical figure or idea. There are also many biblical references. In Gullivers first adventure, to Lilliput, he is a giant, surrounded by little people, who represent England, and Blefescu represents France.
The Little-Endians stood for Protestants, while the Big-Endians stood for Catholics. The High Heels and Low Heels represent the Whigs and Tories, two political parties of Swifts time. In his second adventure, he explores humans lack of control in the face of nature. Swift comments on some of the worst aspects of English law, politics, and military. During his third adventure, Gulliver visits a floating island, Laputa, representing Englands control over Ireland and other parts of the British Isles, represented by Balnibarbi. All of the wrong-headed science and obsession with scientific inquiry in Laputa is representative of Swifts attitude toward the doctors, scientists, and academics of his time period.
The Struldbruggs live forever but grow no wiser and continue to age physically. These people may represent those who waste time and resist progress. These individuals spend their lives in willful ignorance, believing that length of life determines quality of life. When Gulliver traveled to Houyhnhnm Land, he came into contact with horses who represent rational self-control. Although this sounds like a good philosophy to aspire to, mankind would neither really want to be as passionless as these creatures nor could humans ever hope to completely overcome emotion. Yahoos represent the basic, primitive nature of man.
7) Satire depends a lot on historical conditions of the writer, in this case, Swifts anger toward the people in his time. So why is his writing still relevant today? The reason it is still relevant is because the nature of humans will never change. We always have been, and always will be savages. Swift makes an analogy between English society with the Lulliputians war with the Tramecksan, as well as the egg dilemma. The war between the two nations was due to something so trivial: the height of heels.
This is especially relevant today due to the fact that we still go to war over frivolous things. However, the internal concern over the proper way to crack an egg was something simply made into a law, but eventually made its way into their holy books. Similarly, today so many political candidates have no problem letting their religious beliefs trump logic.
Rather than having the interests of the citizens in mind, the ruler of the Lilliputians dictates the proper way to crack an egg, based on an accident his son had. This shows how law-makers often keep their family in mind rather than the people the law will affect. 8) When Gulliver visits Brobdingnag, the queen’s maids sexualize and objectify him. They would often undress him and place them on their bodies, more often than not, in their cleavage. The women also do not hesitate to strip down naked in front of him.
He describes how one of the women is fond of sitting him upon her nipple, along with “many other tricks” that he fails to describe in detail. He finds this humiliating and his lack of detail indicates just that. He finds the women repulsive, due to their flaws made ginormous to him, and their body odor vile. This scene demonstrates how much of our humanity is connected to the control over our own bodies. Gulliver is distraught because his humanity and dignity is taken away as the women treat him as an object. These games the women play with Gulliver allow control and even empowerment over him that they may not experience in other parts of their life.