Is Swift A Reformer Or Demolisher In ” Gulliver’s Travels”? Some of the critics say that ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ is a neurotic fantasy which means that his work or production is of a deranged or disordered mind. But a deep analysis of the book shows that there are also several elements which create an atmosphere of a wonderful, unimaginative and fanciful world. In this regard, the assessment of this book as a fanciful product of a disordered mind seems to be correct but on the other hand, a deep and careful study of this brilliant work shows that under the surface meanings, there lies deeper meanings of a satire on the follies, lust, ambition, etc.
This is due to Gulliver’s closely observed experiences of human life that he symbolizes the mankind’s ways of life with the ways of life of different inhabitants of unknown, strange and far fetched islands of the world.
Is Swift A Reformer Or Demolisher In ” Gulliver’s Travels” analyse that in Part I and II of the book, we see that there are some certain elements of writing from a neurotic and morbid mind because in his first two voyages, Gulliver visits on the land of pygmies called Lilliputians, and on the land of giants of a huge size as compared to Gulliver’s height. In the island of Brobdingnag, Gulliver enlarges human beings as giants and persons of huge size, which gives a production or work of a sick mind. Similarly, reducing human beings to the size of pigmies and treating them as no better than insects, proves Swift as a man of neurotic mind. Similarly, he looks at human beings through a magnifying glass and presents them as huge creatures in size and length in Brobdingnag.
It also gives evidence of a sick mind. The sight of the beggars, monstrous breasts of women with nipples of about half the bigness of Gulliver’s head and they were covered with pimples and freckles, make Gulliver disgusted. All these signs suggest that the author of this book probably is of a somewhat neurotic mind. But we must not forget the real purpose of Swift in writing this book which is a satire on the vices, follies, absurdities and shortcomings of mankind.
The king of Brobdingnag rightly says that human grandeur must be contemptible thing to be mimicked by diminutive insects like Gulliver, Other remarks of the king also support Swift as A Reformer Or Demolisher In ” Gulliver’s Travels” due to his main purpose that the bulk of Gulliver’s countrymen must be the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.
In the fourth part of the book, we see that Swift also gives an impression of neurotic mind when he symbolises the Yahoos with human beings who are unteachable, brutal, lustful, etc. and above all the female Yahoos are more malicious, treacherous whose physical shapes resemble to the shape of women in general. Watching all this, Gulliver starts thinking about his own countrymen and even the members of his own family as to be no better than the Yahoos. In the portrayal of Houyhnhnms (horses), Swift’s main purpose of writing this book becomes even more bitter and corrosive when he uplifts the level of horses (Houyhnhnms) from the level of human beings.
Houyhnhnms had their own Successful systems of governance, politics, administration, plannings etc. and they always ran these systems with the right use of reason and intellect. Through this account of Houyhnhnms, Swift satirises all the systems of English government which had been corrupted by the corrupt, lusty and money minded lawyers, administrators, politicians, physicians, etc. So, we see that human beings are presented or painted in such a dark manner that the reader’s cannot help thinking that the author of this book probably had a diseased mind.If we look or study the first part of the book; we also see that there are also many such kinds of examples which bind the readers to imagine Swift as a man of neurotic mind.
In the Lilliput, which is the country of pigmies, there are disputes or wars going on between the Big-Endians and the Little Endians and between the high-heels, and those who wear low heels. All these disputes symbolise the religious conflicts between Roman Catholics and Protestants, and also the theological quarrels which were common in the English Society of that time. The war between Lilliput and Blefuscu symbolises the continuing war between England and France. The ironical portrayal of Flimnap. in Lilliput suggests a mockery of Sir Robert Walpole. The annoyance of the Empress on extinguishing fire in her apartment satirises the resentment of Queen Anne against Swift for having written A Tale of a Tub. So, we see that in Part I, satire is set against English politics, English politicians and English monarchs of Swift’s time.
Here, there is nothing fanciful or neurotic in this satire because Swift presents or conveys the true facts of life. In Part III of the book Laputa, we also see that Swift sets satire against intellectuals, academics, planners, scientists who claim to have done great and successful experiments and experiences but in fact their results are fatal, useless and purposeless in the actual practices.
Such experiments are intended to extract sunbeams out of cucumbers, to reduce human excrement to its original food, to construct houses by beginning at the roof and working downwards to the foundation, and to obtain silk from cobwebs, are completely silly. There is also a satire on human longing for immortality e.g: those who wanted to lead a life of immortality are described in wretched and miserable conditions, they longed for death now but it did not come to them. The historians of English Society are also ridiculed in an account in Part III of the book in which they twisted or distorted the actual facts of the lives of the great personalities of the past and the critics who also misrepresented or misinterpreted the works of Homer and Aristotle.
Having all the above analysis in mind, Is Swift A Reformer Or Demolisher In ” Gulliver’s Travels”? , we can say in the concluding remarks that there are many accounts and events of wonderful, fanciful, strange, far fetched, unimaginative lands and their inhabitants which cast an impression on the minds of the readers that the author of this book is of probably neurotic mind. We must not forget that under the surface of these fanciful, wonderful Land unbelievable accounts of different lands, there lies a Swift’s main and basic aim of satire on the absurdities, vices of avarice, greed, lust, sex. follies, shortcomings, drawbacks, etc. of the life of Englishmen of his society and for this purpose he had aptly and rightly become succeeded.