Appreciation of Gulliver Travels by Jonathan Swift
Gulliver’s Travels is the story of one Mr Lemuel Gulliver, a strange fantasy story.
It strikes as very real and a statement of the world around, and gives a total clarity about how the world really is and even the fact that we all know it. But, we hide it from ourselves, limiting ourselves, blinding ourselves and living a debased life and not even knowing that we are living such a worthless life.
Now, how does a sensitive, knowledgeable, fully experienced person, who knows the world, not as a complicated thing, but utterly obviously, SHOW such a world?
To show it like a normal story, would be in a way not effective, and even insulting,. The one great tool is satire.
The satire in this is not personally harsh. It would have been harsh, dark, and depressing, had the author been affected by the world he is showing.
But the main point is that the author finds the world actually ridiculously trivial, and idiotic.
And he shows 4 aspects of the world as 4 voyages.
In the first voyage, Gulliver reaches the land of Lilliputs, The people there are very energetic, hard working, planned men, but they are devoid of any purpose, and their being Lilliputs, tiny people, makes the point openly and almost idiotically clear.
It is as if the world of Lilliput is precisely that - a small world, and you cannot take it seriously, even if put under arrest by them, even when they admire you, even when they use your services in stupid wars, that world is too stupid to take seriously and yes, it IS our world!! That is the satire!!
The next voyage Gulliver undertakes is the opposite now. He goes to the world of giants, who are powerful, but only physically so and in no other way.
They are bestial, cheap, and indulgent.
The third voyage Gulliver travels is to a land where people are using their brains for studies and researches but with no purpose and no meaning whats ever.
The final voyage is to a place where the beings are beautiful, but they are not humans, but noble horses, and here Gulliver shows the nobility of beings by showing horses, not men!!
But men too live in this world. They are called Yahoos, and they are enslaved by the noble horses. The yahoos are dull, stupid and cannot create or manage anything with deeper values.
With this satire, fantasy, and detached themes which reflect starkly our world, Gulliver finished his life purpose.
Satirizing on a grand plane, he shows the world for what exactly it is and thus indirectly, this book, is a reminder of our follies, of our idiocy, lack of meaningful goals, and it stands as a message of how to be, by showing mainly how we are and how, thus we should NOT be.
It reaches the noble soul deep within the reader and thinker, in all of us, the person in us, who really asks in innocence, disbelief and wonder- what is this world? And finds only evil, stupidity and chains.
Gulliver travels takes him on a height of liberation, by directing the MIND of the reader, that forces the reader, while deeply entertaining him, to look within and without and reach the level of proper, natural human nobility.
By that detached satire, and lack of sadness and tragedy and by its very ruthlessness and cutting theme and presentation, Gulliver goads us, but as a laughter, to BE human and to reach human grandeur.
No wonder, this book has never gone out of print for centuries and has become a legendary work of art and stands in the hall of fame of the greatest and most inspiring and liberating books ever written, but with deep sage like sympathy, wisdom, clarity, humbleness and simplicity.