Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift (1726)

HideShow resource information
View mindmap
  • Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift (1726)
    • Context:
      • Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)
        • “Anglo-Irish”-Small Anglican Irish minority, an elite who associated more with England who had in most ways ‘colonised’ them. 
        • Was close to Queen Anne, then King George I 1719 (pro-whig) kicks him out:  He moved back and fourth from England to Ireland throughout his life, it all depends on who is in power.
      • The Enlightenment
        • Central to Enlightenment thought were the use and celebration of reason, the power by which humans understand the universe and improve their own condition. The goals of rational humanity were considered to be knowledge, freedom, and happiness.
    • Themes:
      • Individual vs. society
        • Alienation in foreign lands. If Swift’s satire mocks the excesses of communal life, it may also mock the excesses of individualism in its portrait of a miserable and lonely Gulliver talking to his horses at home in England.
      • Might vs Right (Colonialism)
        • The novel tends to show that claims to rule on the basis of moral righteousness are often just as arbitrary as, and sometimes simply disguises for, simple physical subjugation.
        • Quote:  "I saw coming towards the house a kind of vehicle drawn like a sledge by four YAHOOS." (The Houyhnhnms inflict their might on the YAHOOs because they believe they have the right to. Ideology is just as dangerous as violence.
      • Limits of human understanding
        • Laputans: clear satire against those who pride themselves on knowledge above all else.
        • There is an obvious limit to science, before it becomes ridiculous.
          • Science is mocked and made frivolous in Lagado academy: "He had a weekly allowance, from the society, of a vessel filled with human ordure, about the bigness of a Bristol barrel."
        • Self-knowledge: Swift may thus be saying that self-knowledge has its necessary limits just as theoretical knowledge does, and that if we look too closely at ourselves we might not be able to carry on living happily.
          • Self-alienation: "make canoe with young skins of YAHOOs"
    • Structure:
      • 'Deadpan 1st person narrative', in the style of serious travel writing.
        • Satire: sarcasm, irony or wit used to ridicule or mock.
          • Devices
            • Exaggeration: to enlarge, increasse or represent something beyond normal bounds so that it becomes ridiculous and it's faults can be seen.
            • Caricature: type of exaggeration; its the exaggeration of a physical feature or trait. ex; in political cartoons there is caricature.
            • Burlesque: type of exaggeration; the ridiculous exaggeration of language. ex; when a character who should use formal and intelligent language speaks like a fool, or vice versa. honest emotions may be turned to sentimentality. Style is essential.
            • Incongruity:to present things that are out of place or are absurd in relation to its surroundings. Certain tehcniques are: oxymoron, metaphor and irony.
            • Parody:to imitate the techniques/style of some person, place of thing in order to ridicule the original. To be a success, the reader must know the original text that is being ridiculed.
            • Reversal:to present the opposite of the normal order. Can focus on the order of events, such as serving dessert before the main dish or having breakfast for dinner. It can also focus on hierarchical order--> when a young child makes all the decisions for a family.
            • Irony: Actual intent is expressed in words which carry the opposite meaning.
              • Dramatic Irony: when the words or acts of a character carry a meaning unperceived by himself but understood by the audience.
              • Socratic Irony:  faking ignorance to achieve some advantage over an opponent.
              • Verbal Irony: simply an inversion of meaning.
              • Situational Irony: depends on a discrepancy between purpose and results (ex; if a practical joke backfires) type of irony.
          • Satirical styles: Direct Satire--> directly statedIndirect Satire-->  through characters in a situation.
          • Types of Satire:Horation: light-hearted, intended for funJuvenalian: bitter, angry attacked
        • Opposite of all knowing, limited views.
    • Form:
      • Novel
    • Genre:
      • Satire: sarcasm, irony or wit used to ridicule or mock.
        • Devices
          • Exaggeration: to enlarge, increasse or represent something beyond normal bounds so that it becomes ridiculous and it's faults can be seen.
          • Caricature: type of exaggeration; its the exaggeration of a physical feature or trait. ex; in political cartoons there is caricature.
          • Burlesque: type of exaggeration; the ridiculous exaggeration of language. ex; when a character who should use formal and intelligent language speaks like a fool, or vice versa. honest emotions may be turned to sentimentality. Style is essential.
          • Incongruity:to present things that are out of place or are absurd in relation to its surroundings. Certain tehcniques are: oxymoron, metaphor and irony.
          • Parody:to imitate the techniques/style of some person, place of thing in order to ridicule the original. To be a success, the reader must know the original text that is being ridiculed.
          • Reversal:to present the opposite of the normal order. Can focus on the order of events, such as serving dessert before the main dish or having breakfast for dinner. It can also focus on hierarchical order--> when a young child makes all the decisions for a family.
          • Irony: Actual intent is expressed in words which carry the opposite meaning.
            • Dramatic Irony: when the words or acts of a character carry a meaning unperceived by himself but understood by the audience.
            • Socratic Irony:  faking ignorance to achieve some advantage over an opponent.
            • Verbal Irony: simply an inversion of meaning.
            • Situational Irony: depends on a discrepancy between purpose and results (ex; if a practical joke backfires) type of irony.
        • Satirical styles: Direct Satire--> directly statedIndirect Satire-->  through characters in a situation.
        • Types of Satire:Horation: light-hearted, intended for funJuvenalian: bitter, angry attacked
      • Travel writing, "to begin any journey or, indeed, simply to set foot beyond one’s own front door, is quickly to encounter difference and otherness" (Carl Thompson 2011)
        • A satire on Upper-class travel writing genre, adhering to conventions of it, then mocking it with irony.
    • Thoughts on...
      • Truth (does it matter if its true?)
        • Unstable text: "-to publish a very loose and incorrect account of my travels" (reflects deceptive nature of society Swift satirieses and Gulliver represents)
      • Is Swift's satire savage? (Yeats epigraph)
        • Tone shifts after third voyage to cynical and bitter, disenchanted with his own society and 'yahoo' state.
        • He satirises English society, but championing colonialism, and outlining its flaws.
        • His satirical portrayal of English ideals/society comes from a personal 'otherness' of the irish diaspora.
      • Does it subvert Enlightenment ideals?
        • Science is mocked and made frivolous in Lagado academy: "He had a weekly allowance, from the society, of a vessel filled with human ordure, about the bigness of a Bristol barrel."
    • Lilyput: tiny people.
    • Brobdingnag: giants.
    • Laputa: academics (floating island)
    • (Land of) Houyhnhnms: horses.

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar English Literature resources:

See all English Literature resources »See all Englightenment and Satire resources »