Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Kernel's Library: A Cruise From Lilliput to Houyhnhnms

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift Book 00064: Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

-Gulliver's Travels
- Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts.
By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of several Ships

First Publication:
- 1726

- This is Swift's best known full-length work, and a classic of English literature.
- The book became tremendously popular as soon as it was published (John Gay said in a 1726 letter to Swift that "it is universally read, from the cabinet council to the nursery"); since then, it has never been out of print. - It was adapted in 2010 as a modern retelling comedy, starring jack Black

- The Observer's 100 Greatest Novels of All Time (2003)

This is a satire of human society at its best!

The strange writings found in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels are simply amazing. The imaginings are as unique as possible that only a superb writer with deep understanding of human psychology can create. I particularly like the contrast on how the author presented human beings when they wer given superiority over other things and when he's inferior comparatively.

What would you do if you are thrown into a world where the norms and ethics are not what we are used to? Would you be assertive of your own ways or would you allow the flow of the strange worlds overcome you? This great parody is fully packed with life's greatest lessons, lessons that will make you smile when you discover and know the meaning behind...

A Short Summary

Gulliver goes on four separate voyages in Gulliver's Travels. Each journey is preceded by a storm. All four voyages bring new perspectives to Gulliver's life and new opportunities for satirizing the ways of England.

The first voyage is to Lilliput, where Gulliver is huge and the Lilliputians are small. At first the Lilliputians seem amiable, but the reader soon sees them for the ridiculous and petty creatures they are. Gulliver is convicted of treason for "making water" in the capital (even though he was putting out a fire and saving countless lives)--among other "crimes."

The second voyage is to Brobdingnag, a land of Giants where Gulliver seems as small as the Lilliputians were to him. Gulliver is afraid, but his keepers are surprisingly gentle. He is humiliated by the King when he is made to see the difference between how England is and how it ought to be. Gulliver realizes how revolting he must have seemed to the Lilliputians.

Gulliver's third voyage is to Laputa (and neighboring Luggnagg and Glubdugdribb). In a visit to the island of Glubdugdribb, Gulliver is able to call up the dead and discovers the deceptions of history. In Laputa, the people are over-thinkers and are ridiculous in other ways. Also, he meets the Stuldbrugs, a race endowed with immortality. Gulliver discovers that they are miserable.

His fourth voyage is to the land of the Houyhnhnms, who are horses endowed with reason. Their rational, clean, and simple society is contrasted with the filthiness and brutality of the Yahoos, beasts in human shape. Gulliver reluctantly comes to recognize their human vices. Gulliver stays with the Houyhnhnms for several years, becoming completely enamored with them to the point that he never wants to leave. When he is told that the time has come for him to leave the island, Gulliver faints from grief. Upon returning to England, Gulliver feels disgusted about other humans, including his own family.

Grade: A