Imperialism and Colonialism in Gulliver`s Travels

In this article, I will analyze Gulliver’s travels and I will mention about Jonathan swift, Eighteenth century, imperialism, colonialism and multiculturalism. Firstly, I will start from eighteenth century. Between the types of literature, the latest development has been the novel. There are many reasons for this situation. Generally; Eighteenth century is accepted that It is found several types such as history, history of life, trial, saga at the origin of the novel. Moreover, the novel has not been regarded as a reputable branch of literature a long time and It has been underestimated as a kind of uneducated people ,therefore; novel criticisms has not developed too much.

Novels were more educative and instructive, not it’s with structure problems and characteristics or form.

In the eighteenth century, England developed very important writers. This period has revealed novelists such as Daniel Defoe, Henry Fielding, Samuel Richardson, and Jonathan Swift. English novel is so new when It is compared to literary types such as poetry and drama.

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Literary historians’ critics and writers are generally based on the eighteenth century both in their writings and in the birth and development of the English novel. This work’s author is Jonathan Swift. Jonathan Swift is the most genius man in his time. Jonathan Swift wrote poem but Jonathan Swift was not a good poet because Jonathan Swift wrote prose genre. Jonathan swift had a profound imagination. Jonathan swift constantly questioned everything. Jonathan swift who lived between 1667 and 1745 was born in Dublin although Jonathan swift was not from Ireland.

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Jonathan swift had a difficult time since his childhood because Jonathan swift had to leave from his house. Jonathan swift was well-educated thanks to his uncle.

When Jonathan swift was twenty-two years old, Jonathan swift worked at Sir William Temper’s house as a secretary. This man was considered as the most important statesman of age. In Jonathan swift’s time, there were whigs and torries party. At the beginning, Jonathan swift supported the whigs, however; because of harm of whigh to church, Jonathan swift supported the torries. Jonathan Swift worked at church for a long time as a priest and Jonathan swift lived in London. His the best masterpiece, Gulliver’s travels, was published in 1726. Gulliver’s travels addressed to two separate age groups. Gulliver’s Travels was for both children and adults. While children read Gulliver’s travels as a tale book, adult read Gulliver’s travels as a satire. Nobody knows that Gulliver’s travels were the most brutal satire work.

Ian watt who made the most detailed study on the birth and development of the British novel, has been suggested to Show all its characteristics as a prose in the eighteenth century English novel writers such as Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, and Henry Fielding reaches its peak in the form of a new literature from spelling shapes an important type of literature since medieval age. Other critics Jenry C. Beasley has stated that authors such as Aphra Behn, Sir Walter Scott and Jane Austen reached the peak in their works and began to emerge from the late seventeenth century as an important literary genre of the novel (45).

lastly, David Daiches who was one of the most important English novelists and critics of the twentieth century, has stated that the novel which is one of the most important and popular genres of British writing , appeared in the eighteenth century . According to David Daiches , after the industrial revaluation which is one of the most important reasons of the novel born and developed in this century , middle class enriched by strengthening both trade and politics (101). Linda C. Dowling states that maybe too, only this sense of the eighteenth century was looked like epidemic or and, at the same time, Linda Dowling experienced before that colors all the largely diversifying, even ambivalent, belated Victorian responses to the earlier age. (365). In short, novel has reflected expectations, World view, ideals and feelings life of middle class

Secondly, I will mention about Jonathan swift and Gulliver’s Travels. In that period, there were many important writers, Jonathan Swift was among them. He was the greatest satirist of the period. Jonathan Swift made criticism of the period as social and political, especially, Jonathan Swift criticized human race as restructure of World. Jonathan Swift’s most famous and important work is Gulliver’s Travels in which swift satires human race and British political system. Jonathan swift is the greatest satirist of his term. Jonathan swift is a challenging person who went against the traditional idea that humans are more rational than animals each voyage each has different themes but their common trait is to deflate human nature. Gulliver’s Travels has been considered a comic fable for children.

Through his life, all time Jonathan Swift was afraid of being mad, unfortunately, Jonathan swift went mad and died. Jonathan swift satirizes British imperialisms and criticizes British people. Wolf Gang Zach says about Jonathan Swift that Jonathan Swift was stigmatized with “schizophrenic” word because Jonathan Swift achieved condition of being an Anti-Colonial discourse person who struggled with the suppression which Jonathan Swift supported and which he suffered. (112). In fact Gulliver’s Travels has been considered as the child novel. However; the book is a book which is found allusion to mature people.

What is the imperialism? Imperialism is considered that is synonym of colonialism by most of people. But Imperialism started at the beginning of twentieth century and imperialism means that other states are expansion as economic and political. Moreover; imperialism which come from French language “impérialisme” word, has been expressed as the most peak movement of capitalism, too. Robert Edward Brown claims that The literary custom declines the classical imperialism concept that, was left people, the working class people could be run as slave of economy (27). In fact, It is a severe attack to the political parties of the time and emotionlessness of religious controversies between denominations in Christianity. Robert Bell claims that imperialism depends on countries actions.

The novel reflects on British society in the early eighteenth century. Gulliver’s Travels critics sing about corruption of British ruling class and their cruel expectations toward people in Britain and neighboring countries in the capital. Gulliver’s travels are known largely but it ıs only read book’s first two parts. However; the book consists of four parts, especially fourth part is the wildest and the most merciless satire in the World. According to Mina Urgan, the book is among the World classics which can be read by two age groups; children and adults (444). While It is immersive and entertaining story for children, it is a satire book for adults. Swift says that for his books vex the World rather than divert it. According to Gulliver’s Travels, everybody is yahoo, even English queen. Yahoo means an animal in human form.

The only cicatrise to praise are houyhnhnms-horses- in that period political parties did foolish acts, judges still have no knowledge and honesty, woman, are called as female, were in moral and fool. The only difference between them, one has clothes, others are naked. Gulliver knows that Gulliver is a yahoo but for hundred years, Gulliver does not accept it and escape this reality, but then Gulliver understands and accepts. Kevin Bari says about these situations that In the land of the Houyhnhnms Gulliver is excluded from both the society of the horses and the society of the Yahoos. (12)Against his strongest wishes he is eventually expelled by the Houyhnhnms. Against his strongest wishes the Yahoos desire him. In literature, satire is difficult but Jonathan swift is expert of satire. He criticizes the government in a good way. He criticizes them in his book. Jonathan Swift doesn’t satisfied government and people who are changed the country.

The most famous part in Gulliver’s Travels is Liliput island. Throughout the book, Jonathan swift tries to be realistic and succeses it. Liliputs are very talented in mathematics and engineeering. The events in liliput island is a satire to British and European civilizations. The laughing side of the situation is that finger-sized creatures behave just like us and know themselves as the best excellently. The clash of political parties in liliput is a parody of the clash of whigs and torries in great Britain. The Gulliver’s Ttravels is satire and parody. According to Jim Corder, Gulliver’s Travels is about wrong behaviours of government.(97)

The Jonathan Swift reflects situation of England and Europe. The gulliver’s travels consists of four country or part. The first one is liluput. There are dwarfs in this country. Hye Soo Lee claims that Jonathan swift uses dwarfs as satire of England. Actually they are finger sized. They are so small than Lamuel Gulliver. At the beginning of seeing the Gulliver, liliput was afraid of Gulliver but then they are accustomed to Gulliver. They started to love him. And they obey the gulliver’s behaviour. They don’t meddle to gulliver’s situation. Gulliver is pretty, kind, and easy going, so liliputs love him and they are belong to him as if Gulliver is their relative. The king warned all country to obey Gulliver. Gulliver is so big than Lilliput so he eats much food. Everybody gather food for Gulliver. Gulliver is so powerful and he saved the liliputs from blefuscu. Blefuscu is enemy of Lilliput.

Actually, Jonathan swift criticizes the England and wars with liliputs and blefuscu. Blefuscu symbolizes the French, Lilliput symbolizes the England. Lilliput symbolizes the human kind. Lilliput symbolizes human fault. Lilliput represents impropriety, corruption, and social order. Because of The haters of Gulliver, Gulliver is expelled from Lilliput, they deceived the death of Gulliver so Gulliver escaped from Lilliput. After the return the their hometown, again, he had a voyage. But in voyage they had a hurricane in the sea. And they had to find water so they went an unknown country; Gulliver was stranded in the country. This country is Brombdingnag . It is country of giant people. They are so powerful and peaceful. Tremendous people think that if there are a war among Europe and tremendous people, Tremendous people are ready fight. But the king hinder of war.

The king thinks that greatness does not comply with war. In this country people are enormous and tremendous. It is opposite of Lilliput. For a long time, Gulliver stayed in this country then he saved from this country thanks to an eagle. The third country is laputa. Laputa is country of science. In this country, there are some works that are called as scientific work. But they are nonsense. These studies are not about science. Jonathan swift criticizes situation of England in this country. These people try to do nonsense application. Jonathan swift tells that science institution is really unnecessary and ambiguous. They are similar with animals and laputas think such as animals. Actually, this book has four series. According to Monk Samuel, Jonathan swift has thoughts that can easily observe. Jonathan swift has a satire opinion. (78)

The another countries are yahoo and houyhnhnms. It is country of horses. In this country, horses uses the people as a servant. They are so powerful and intelligent. Houyhnhnms do not lie, they are intelligent creatures and they are honest. They live in peace and they settled their own civilization. There are horses instead of human. And according to horses, they are intelligent than people, they use people as a servant. Yahoos come from origin of human but they are really silly and they don’t know what they are doing. In houyhnhnm, there are noble horses. They live in houyhnhnm. People are slave of horses. They serve to horses. This utopic country is Jonathan’s utopic country. While houyhnhnms are intelligent and hardworking, yahoos are lazy and they are silly. Yahoos reflect people arrogance. There are always arrogance in our humanity. This child book , Gulliver’s Travels , includes small details about satire. We can easily observe that this Gulliver’s Travels were written to reveal realities. Yahoos are bad tempered and ugly persons.

Horses manage the country. Jonathan swift uses characters as a symbol. Jonathan swift criticizes the economy, politics, religion and even society in this book. Jonathan swift thinks that there is no fair. This book is known as child book but there are irony and message to adult. In first three parts, Jonathan Swift satirises politics and science world of Europe. These three parts include parody. Yahoos are exactly wild. Houyhnhnms behave like a person, but they are just an animal. Jonathan Swift satirizes the wrong behaviours of people. Jonathan Swift doesn’t satisfy than statesmen, politician and governor of the country, England.

In England, people were willing to endure various disgraces in order to have high place in palace, also in Lilliput, finger-sized creatures who want to have high place in palace endure various disgraces, such as walking on the rape. It is really interesting, ıt is called as faculty. There are two islands in Lilliput which cannot be great each other; Tremeckson and Slameckson, because of belief that all true believers break their eggs at the consentient end. Jonathan swift takes advantage of Lilliput, mocks, the religious division between Catholics and protestants with such this comic event because of this division, many innocent people were killed. In Lilliput, Gulliver is used as a slave and also Gulliver is a danger for them.

In Gulliver’s Travels, second part is Brobdingnag-giants country. Brobdingnag-giants country is also an example of satire as first part. Brobdingnag-giants Island is ten times bigger than a normal man. Gulliver is seen as an island such as Lilliput. So It can be said the second part of the book have some aims as in the first part. Even though; Lilliput praise themselves so much, for Gulliver, they are only finger-sized creatures, so in Brobdingnag Gulliver praises himself so much and shows himself as the representative of European civilization but he is only seen as an insect. While Gulliver is a danger element in Lilliput, in Brobdingnag is not so humans are underestimated in both parts of the book. According to Mina Urgan , jonathan swift tried to show human beings are weakness And pitiable when Gulliver returns to England, Gulliver does not rejoice

He looks England critically and says that the most compiled little creatures I had ever seen. Jonathan swift mocks scientific research in third part of the Gullivder’s Travels and tries to tell that they sometimes may be how ridiculous and useless. Laputa is full of astronomers and mathematician. In laputa, mathematic became so obsessed that all food, bread slices are cut geometrically. Laputas do not know literature and music. They are colonialist.

What is colonialism or colonialist? Colonialism generally means desire of spread a state by taking over other nations, states, communities under political and economic. And Colonialists mean that are persons who direct or make all these. When the rebellion starts in ship, Gulliver goes himself on an unknown island and goes yahoos. They are animal in form of human. At first, Gulliver thinks that these creatures are animals because they are naked, their hair and bread never cut. But yahoos are worse than humans.

Then he meets with houghnmhn-horses. And realizes that Gulliver is also a yahoo, and then feels much worse. Horses do not like the thing that Gulliver talk about European civilization and think humans are like yahoos. And fourth part Jonathan swift claims cruelty with taking advantage of horses that humans are yahoo. Horses are superior creatures because their only aim is to cultivate reason and to be wholly governed by ıt. Horses do not know what is the immorality and selfishness; they are completely free from personal desires. Gulliver is so admired that horses, Gulliver does not want to return to England. Gulliver’s admiration at horses and hatred of yahoos develop equally. After three years of happy and peaceful among horses, Gulliver is sent to England by members of congress who value him as a yahoos. They are afraid that he will make a rebellion with yahoos.

As a conclusion, in this work, Jonathan swift criticizes whigh and torry party. Jonathan swift satirizes statesman, the government and church. Jonathan Swift revealed wrong actions and behaviours of government. Jonathan Swift used the Gulliver as an element of satire. Jonathan swift reflects effect of imperialism and colonialism. The book consists of four part including Laputa, Lilliput, Brobdingnag, Yahoos and Houyhnhnm.

Work cited

  • Bari, Kevin. “Gulliver in England”. Collage English, National Council of Teachers of English. Vol. 23, no.2, 1961, pp. 98-9
  • Beasley,C. Jenry. “Imperialism”, Modern language notes, the johns Hopkins University Press, vol.70, no.2, 1955, pp. 87-9
  • Bell, Robert.” The Role of City”. Sustainable Food System, UCL press, 2016.
  • Brown, Edward. Robert. “Capitalism In the Classroom”, Change, Taylor and Francis, ltd. Vol. 11, no. 3, 1979, pp.25-30
  • Corder, jim. “imperialism in England.” College English. National Council of Teachers of English. Vol. 21, no. 1, 1961, pp. 98-99
  • Daiches, David. https://m.facebook. com/notes/karabuk-university-english-language-and-literature/ingiliz-roman
  • Dowling, Linda.C. “ The Aesthetes and The eighteenth century” Victoria studies, Indiana University Press, vol.20 no.4, 1977, pp.357-77
  • Frantz, R,W. “Swift’s yahoos and the Voyagers.” MP 29, 1931, pp.. 49-57
  • Hawes, Clement. “Three Times Round the Globe : Gulliver and Colonial Discourse.” Cultural Critique, university of Minnesota Press, no.18, 1991, PP. 49-57
  • Hume, David. “ Of National Characters. “The Philosophical Works of David Hume. Ed. T.H.Green and T.H.Grose. vol.4, 1882, in the Enlightenment: A Comprehensive Anthology, Ed. Peter Gay. New York: Simon, 1973.
  • Lawlor, John. “The Evolution of Gulliver’s Characters.” Essays and Studies, 1955. 69 -73. Rpt. In Gulliver’s travels, Ed. Robert A. Greenberg. New York: Norton, 1961, pp. 320-24.
  • Monk, Samuel. H. “ The Pride of Lamuel Gulliver.” Twentieth century Interpretatıons of Gulliver’s Travels: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Frank Brady. Englewood Cliffts: Prentice, 1968, pp. 70-79
  • Soo, Lee, Hye. “Gulliver’s travels as Menippean Satire.” The Explicator,2018,
  • Urgan, Mina. “İngiliz Edebiyatı Tarihi”.
  • Watt, Ian. “https://m.facebook. Com/notes/karabuk-university-english-language-and-literature/ingiliz-roman”
  • Zach, Wolfgang. “Jonathan Swift and Colonialism.” The Canadian Journal of Irısh Studies, Canadian Journal of Irısh Studies, vol. 26 no. 1, 2000, pp. 36-46

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Imperialism and Colonialism in Gulliver`s Travels. (2021, Dec 07). Retrieved from

Imperialism and Colonialism in Gulliver`s Travels

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