Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

Gulliver's Travels (Classic Starts Series) by Jonathan Swift, Jamel Akib,  Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

Gulliver’s Travels has not only a profound ideological content, but also a relatively perfect art form. First of all, Swift used fictional plots and fantasy techniques to depict the reality of Britain at that time. At the same time, he also created a colorful, fairy-tale fantasy world based on the reality of Britain at that time. Swift’s fantasy world is based on reality, while the contradiction of reality is more prominent in the fantasy world. After the coup d ‘etat of 1688, for example, the Tories and the Whigs fought for power and attacked each other, when in fact they both represented the interests of the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie. Swift captured the essential characteristics of parliamentary party fighting and created the high-heel party and low-heel party in Lilliput.

These fictions make reality stronger, more concentrated, more typical, and more universal. The artistic charm of Gulliver’s Travels is also here. Swift’s fantasy and reality are harmonious and unified. Swift’s fantasy and reality are harmonious and unified, and Gulliver’s experiences are different in Lilliput, Brobdingnag, Laputa and Houyhnhnm. But they were all reasonably arranged without any flaws. Every time he went to a fantasy country, he was treated differently. He made his works have a sense of artistic reality, which has a great appeal, so that satire can achieve a high effect. When the author mercilessly satirizes and criticizes the parliamentary politics and reactionary religious forces in Britain at that time, some of them are straight sarcasm, some use the tongue of foreigners, some are metaphorical sarcasm, some are animal sarcasm, all of which are funny.

The combination of fantasy and reality also adds a unique artistic charm to the novel. Although the author presents a mythical world like a fairy tale, it is based on the reality of social life in Britain at that time. Due to the author’s precise, delicate and apt description, people can not feel that it is a fantasy, as if everything is true. For example, when describing the proportional relationship between small people and adults, and between people and things, the ratio of one to twelve is always reduced or enlarged. The little man of Lilliput is twelve times smaller than Gulliver. And the lords of the Brobdingnag were twelve times larger than Gulliver. One of Gulliver’s handkerchiefs would be a carpet for the Lilliput Palace. Brobdingnag’s peasant’s wife’s handkerchief, draped over Gulliver, became a sheet.

In describing the operation of the flying island of Laputa, the architecture of palaces, and the structure of towns, the author also intentionally uses the knowledge and data of mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy, and medicine. In this way, the authenticity, harmony and symmetry of the partial details of the characters are transformed into the reality, harmony and unity of the whole picture and scene, which greatly enhances the sense of reality and appeal of the work. The author’s writing is simple and succinct. In Lilliput, for example, Gulliver transcribes an official proclamation extolling the king as the king of kings, with his feet at the center of the earth and the sun above his head, etc. Gulliver, in brackets, calmly explained that the perimeter was about twelve miles.

With this explanation, the boundless territory that reached the four poles of the earth shrank abruptly to a mere dozen leagues around it. The contrast is hilarious. The words in parentheses reveal the author’s simple and matter-of-fact style, which he does not seem to be commenting on, but rather to explain to us objectively and faithfully the scale of Lilliput. Although the scenes of Lilliput and The Land of The Houyhnhnms vary, as do the circumstances of the heroes, the layout and style of the whole novel are consistent. Every time Gulliver went to sea, the causes and consequences are explained in detail, the complicated plot is described in order of time and space, the text is concise and vivid, and the story is unique.

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