Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift Background Swift was dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin when his novel came out. Since in this book he wrote about well-known political figures, he published the book anonymously. London was buzzing with rumours about the author's identity, as well as those of some of his characters. It didn't take long for people to catch on to the fact that the authorwas really writing about England. And it also didn't take long for the public to discover that the author was Jonathan Swift. Not only had he been involved in some of the most important and heated political events of the time, but he was also a well-known political journalist and satirist whose style was very distinctive. THE PLOT In Lilliput people are six inches high, and Gulliver, in comparison,is a giant, or a "ManMountain," as they call him. This section of the novel (Part I) is basically about English politics in the early eighteenth century when the Whigs and Tories were fighting bitterly for control of the country. Gulliver becomes involved with the domestic and international dealings of the Lilliputian government. Laws are made to deal with Gulliver's presence; an official documentoutlining the terms of his freedom is drawn up. One of these terms is that Gulliver must aid the Lilliputians in their war against Blefuscu (Lilliput represents England, Blefuscu, France). Gulliver seizes the enemy fleet and strides across the harbor with it back to Lilliput. For a short time he's a hero. But Gulliver intervenes in the peace process, and wins advantages for the Blefuscudians. Heurinates onto a fire raging in the palace and saves the royal chambers. However, this and some other made-up charges against Gulliver result in a conviction of high treason (serious crime against the government), punishable by blinding. Gulliver escapes to Blefuscu, then home to England. Part II, which takes place in the land of Brobdingnag, continues to look at English politics. This time,however, Gulliver is like a Lilliputian among the giant Brobdingnagians and here it is Gulliver who represents English ways. After a short time as a working freak, Gulliver is rescued by the king and queen and lives a life of comfort at court. He spends much of his time learning the language and talking with the king about life in England. The king emerges as a fair, merciful ruler and a verysympathetic and humane man. Gulliver, in contrast, seems as petty and cruel as the Lilliputians. One day while on an outing with the king and queen, Gulliver's "box" (his house) is kidnapped by a bird (with him inside), and dropped in the sea, and recovered by an English ship. Gulliver stays in England a while with his family then goes back to sea. In Part III Gulliver goes to the flying island of Laputaand some of its colonies. This is a tour of early eighteenth-century scientific activities and attitudes. His first stop is Laputa, where the inhabitants have one eye turned inward and one eye turned up to the sky- they're thinking always of their own speculations (inward) and of lofty issues in mathematics, astronomy and music (upward). They're so fixated they need "flappers" to box them on the earto let them know someone is talking to them. The Laputans are so distracted from everyday life that they don't notice their wives having sex with their lovers right in front of them.. The Laputans are despotic rulers who pay little attention to Gulliver. He goes on to the island of Balnibarbi. There Gulliver becomes friendly with Count Munodi, who is the only one on the island who lives in abeautiful, well-built house and whose lands yield crops. The others, the Projectors, are engaged in "advanced" scientific research and follow the most "sophisticated" theories. Consequently their houses are in ruins and their land is unproductive. Gulliver visits the Academy of the Projectors to learn more about them, and witnesses a series of useless, wasteful experiments.
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