Gulliver Essay, Research Paper
Jonathan Swift satirizes the nature of human beings by making the role of physical appearance important. Jonathan Swift ridicules human nature by making an example of Lemuel Gulliver as a Big, small, and out of the ordinary person throughout Gulliver?s Travels.
In Book I, Lemuel Gulliver ends up on the island of Lilliputia. There, he meets a population of small persons, where he is a giant amongst them. As a giant, the Lilliputians find Gulliver an important person, and use his talents to defeat the rival kingdom Belfescu. They give Gulliver the rank of Nardac, the highest position given in the society of Lilliputians. When Gulliver urinated to extinguish the fire, it performs an important part because after the incident, the queen would not go back to the house that was burnt, and looked at Gulliver in a less respectable way. It ridicules the way humans looked at sex and related behavior. This appearance plays an important function, and a reoccurring sexual theme through out the book.
There is a major sexual satire in Book II, but holds a different fashion because Lemuel Gulliver is now the opposite of an important giant, he is now the smallest being in Brobdingnag. As a small person, Brobdingnagians see him as not an important figure. In the court, he is merely entertainment and is given barely any rights or liberty. By being a small person in a land of giants, Swift satirizes the general human stereotype of short is being miniscule, therefore people don?t like you. In Gulliver?s Travels the dwarf attempts to kill Gulliver, by sticking him in cream and bone marrow (113-114), because he does not like him. The major sexual theme is demonstrated when the ladies would pick Gulliver up and place him between their breasts (122). This appears as a sort of phallic symbol, and again ridicules the nature of humans and their drive towards sex and related behavior.
In Book III, the role of appearance isn?t as important because the Laputans almost instantly change Gulliver to look important. But, when Gulliver was still in his regular clothes, he looked out of the ordinary and the people of Laputa hesitated in picking Gulliver up from the beach. Swift is ridiculing the human nature of being quick to judge others with out being secure about ourselves.
In Book IV, Gulliver finds the species that are most like humans, the yahoo. Gulliver also finds the perfect society, but only in horse-like characters called Houynhnhnms. The first time Gulliver sees one of these, he immediately comes to the conclusion that the Houynhnhnms are merely horses and below him.
?We stood gazing at each other for some time; at last
I took the boldness to reach my hand towards his neck,
With a design to stroke it, using the common style of
Jockeys when they are going to handle a strange horse.
But this animal, seeming to receive my civilities with
Disdain, shook his head, and bent his brows, softly
Raising up his left fore-foot to remove my hand.?(216)
Although the Houynhnhnms were a utopian being, they still judged Gulliver as a yahoo because of his appearance and had a lot of trouble getting over the fact that he wasn?t a full yahoo. Since he looked different, the Houynhnhnms didn?t like him, and it was the reason Gulliver was eventually kicked off the island. The final satire that Swift has on the sexual theme of the book has to do with the appearance of Gulliver as a naked man. When he is naked to bathe in the waters of the river, an 11-year-old yahoo jumps on Gulliver and attempts to have sex with Gulliver. Swift again makes a mockery of human beings natural sex drive.
Jonathan Swift clearly shows the faults of humans in their ill will to suppress feelings. He does this by making appearance an important role and presenting the true faults of human society and everything that comes with it.