* Alyssa Trautman * British Literature * 9/30/12 Gulliver’s Travels Surprisingly, there is a great deal of satire in Gulliver’s Travels. Satire is defined as “The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices”. The question is, how does Jonathan Swift (the author) use satire? Well, the first thing to recognize is Swift writes everything in first person and from his own personal opinion. His characters and places represent anything that he “likes” or “dislikes” in real life.
In what ways can one see satire in this story? Well, there are a few things worthy of noticing. First of all, Swift hates philosophers and believes everything came from something (God, of course). Swift jokes about politicians and wars. For instance, he satirizes how Ireland and England are always fighting against each other by writing how the people of Lilliput and people of Blefescu fight about the most ridiculous things. To share an example, they fight over the right way to eat a boiled egg.
It is not hard at all to see the sarcasm in that! How else can we see satire? Well, one can tell Swift likes being practical rather than theoretical. This is not necessarily a great thing. The definition of practical is “Of or concerned with the actual doing or use of something”. It is not a great thing because the lack of emotions and ideas. Politically, Swift believes slavery was necessary, and satirizes utopias in his book. The tendency for utopias is the strong individuals are more popular.
He doesn’t believe there is individuality. Everyone is good in his opinion. Slavery was necessary in Swift’s eyes. Without it, we all would die. In conclusion, the questions one would have are why would Swift write a story, just to satirize things? Couldn’t he just write a story for our enjoyment rather than his? This story is not a children’s book even though it is found in the children’s section. Can one imagine a child reading and understanding this story? Not unless they are a genius!
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