Gulliver’s Travels Essays

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Gulliver’s Travels

Gulliver’s Travels has set a standard for satirical writing for a long time, and Swift’s imaginative ability and talent can explain a lot of the text’s continued popularity. People can approach Gulliver’s Travels like a children’s book, and not search for deeper meaning. They read the story as a fantasy, and seek only to be entertained. Gulliver’s Travels is valuable and enjoyable for its plot and surface elements alone, but a deeper level of meaning and significance can be achieved if we take note of the satirical elements in the novel. Although to gain a full appreciation of the satire, the reader needs to be somewhat familiar with the events of Swift’s time.

Taking the historical period in which Swift was
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This distinction is an important part of science today, where those researchers who pursue problems of application are viewed as inherently less valuable than those scientists who deal in questions of pure theory. Swift’s satire in Gulliver’s Travels is directed solely at those in the “pure science” category, who think of the practical as something they don’t need to be concerned about.

Swift skewers the impractical scientists of Laputa in his description of why the flying island has never been landed on a town as a disciplinary measure:

if the Town intended to be destroyed should have in it any tall Rocks. [. . .] Or if it abound in high Spheres of Pillars of Stone, a sudden Fall might endanger the Bottom of under Surface of the Island. (144)

Without explicitly saying it, the description forces the reader to recognize the absurdity of the fact that the Laputans have been able to achieve this technical marvel of gaining flight with an island, but they have not mastered the technology necessary to successfully land it. This contradiction is also a symbolic representation of the “head in the clouds” character of the Laputan scientists, so concerned with their thoughts and observations that they have to be roused with slaps from the inflated bladders on sticks devised specifically for this purpose (Patey 820).

As an extension of this protest against

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