In this essay, on a pre-1914 novel, I will show how the main character changes emotionally, physically and mentally and also show how the novel was adapted into a film. I have chosen to study the classic Jonathan Swift novel, Gulliver’s Travels which was written in 1726. It is about a ship surgeon who goes on many voyages that change his life, his views on it and others around his. The novel is written in the past tense from the author’s point of view which makes it more believable that Lemuel Gulliver went on these expeditions.
The book begins with a short account about the main character in Gulliver’s Travels, Lemuel Gulliver. He says about his family, how and where he got the money to be able to study, and eventually onto why he became a surgeon on a ship. It says the few friends he had left him and he ended up friendless with only a wife to help support him. This makes Gulliver feel lonely and depressed because he has no-one to talk to and so stays at home alone.
As he stayed at home, his only friends those inside the many novels of the best authors he was reading, he was running low on money and so had to do something to be bringing in some sort of a salary. He decided to go on another adventure as a surgeon on a ship, to bring in some money to support his family, and ends up being shipwrecked and having to swim for his life. As he reaches land, scared, still depressed and even more alone, he lay still for hours on end resting and eventually falls asleep on the immensely short grass. As he awoke he found he was bound to the floor by many miniature ropes that were tied to his hair, arms, legs and face.
As he lay on his back, Gulliver could only see towards the sky and so could not distinguish what the noises, that he could hear, were. He felt a strange movement over his leg which moved onto his breast and up to his chin. He looked downwards, without moving his head, to find a human not six inches high. He shouted Hekinah degul, which was repeated by the other small creatures around Gulliver. Now Gulliver feels frightened, puzzled and restricted, to both movement and communication due to the unknown language the small humans spoke.
Throughout Lilliput, Gulliver feels superior to the “little people,” due to his size and it feels like a joke is being played on him- because of the stupidity of the situation. He felt inferior because he couldn’t speak the language- until he began to learn later on- and also because he was seen as a monster that noone wanted anything to do with. The Lilliputians were frightened of Gulliver, because of his size, and so Gulliver still felt lonely and vulnerable-because he could have had thousands of little arrows shot at him, could be tied down and murdered.
As Gulliver began to learn the language he felt less restricted-because he could now partially communicate- and less alone because he could have an intelligent conversation with a Lillputian. He began to learn about the Lilliputian ways of government and life and the situation made Gulliver feel badly about the British way of politics. He found out that the Lilliputians were having a war with the small people of Blefuscu over which end to break an egg. This made Gulliver think that- normal sized- people have wars over things almost as silly and idiotic as which end to break an egg such as skin tone, religious beliefs and the fact that they are not speaking your language. Gulliver then started to belittle the- normal sized- human race, and had many ideas about how our world could be changed for the better.
As time went on Gulliver became closer to the Emperor of Lilliput, after helping them in the war by stealing the Blefuscu armada’s warships. Gulliver stopped the Emperor and Empress from being burned alive, in their palace, by urinating on the imperial building. After this act Gulliver felt ashamed that he urinated onto the Imperail palace, even if it was to save the royal family’s lives, and scared because he had his eyeballs threatened to be gouged out.
Gulliver fled to Belfuscu- after taking a small sheep with him to show his wife when he returned home-, found an abandoned ship, and used the Blefuscians bedsheets-sewn together- as a sail and returned to England to his family. As he was leaving, Gulliver felt happy that he was on his way back to his family, yet sad and scared- of himself- because of the stupidity of the situation he was in and that he must have been losing his mind and going insane.
He stayed in England with his family for a while and then left for another journey as a ship’s surgeon.
The film started with Gulliver sneaking around outside his home whilst his ex-wife-who was remarried to an old friend surgeon of Gullivers- and slept in the stable across the road. His son found him in the morning and told Mary- Gullivers ex-wife. Gulliver then told his son the whole story about Lilliput and the film showed what was happening as he was narrating it. He told the whole story to his son until Dr Bates- Gullivers old surgeon friend- took him to a mental institution to try and “help” Gulliver. Gulliver was kept in a cell and thought to be insane by the doctors.
Whilst Gulliver was in the mental hospital, his son found the little sheep but it got loose as Dr.Bates shouted at Gullivers son and told him to leave his office.
The film shows Gulliver to be a lot more eccentric than the novel and he also seems to be a lot more confident with himself and what he saw at Lilliput. As Gulliver retells the story- partially once inside the hospital- he notes that he didn’t return home after his voyage to Lilliput he went straight onto the next island and his next adventure.
The film has a few slight adaptations from the novel, such as Gulliver not returning home, but has stuck to the novel pretty closely. The film shows that Gulliver tells his story back to everyone from the mental hospital whereas the book says nothing about where Gulliver is as the story is told. This is the main change from novel to moving picture so far.