Love the stories, but difficult read, especially since the font is much too small
Swift would chuckle how his work unexpectedly developed into a children's classic.
"How many villains have been exalted to the highest places of trust, power, dignity, and profit: how great a share in the motions and events of courts, councils, and senates might be challenged by bawds, whores, pimps, parasites, and buffoons: how low an opinion I had of human wisdom and integrity; when I was truly informed of the springs and motives of great enterprises and revolutions in the world, and of the contemptible accidents to which they owed their success."
In Swift's classic satire, the adventure-prone naval surgeon Gulliver finds himself repeatedly stranded in strange lands, where he meets the tiny Lilliputians, the giant Brobdingnagians, the ivory tower intellectuals of Laputa, and the superhuman intelligent horses, the Houyhnhnm. In the process, again and again he is confronted with the inexplicable base depravity of the human race, never more bitingly than in his encounter with the virtuous Houyhnhnm, for whom the men who live alongside them, the disgusting Yahoos, are a byword for foulness and a source of considerable perplexity.
Gulliver's Travels is often treated as a children's story and, apart from the modern dismissive attitude towards fantasy, it is difficult to imagine why. Swift's contempt for prideful, fallen humanity can only be described as Brobdingnagian. In the eighteenth century, this was understandably the source of considerable controversy, now, for some reason, it is only commented upon when Swift focuses his ire on the female of the species.
I'm not Irish, but I can understand the idea of traveling to distant lands, and seeing people who are like you used as slaves. Get out of there fast before you are lumped in with them...
Also, the real meaning of "Yahoo"? Maybe that internet company should change it's name, or we should boycott it.
This book was assigned to me as summer reading and I found it toneless, very long, and tedious. It was a book that I tried time and again to finish (just for the sake of the assignment), but the story itself was so uncompelling I found myself falling asleep more than once.
I finally finished the book by the deadline, but the journey to that last sentence was a painful one.
I advise that unless you have to finish this book as an assignment, or you are merely interested in how the cultural context surrounding this book manifested itself, don't bother reading it. It's not worth it.
If you do decide to read it, though, then good luck, my friend.
This is, of course, often mistaken for a children’s book, and for obvious reasons. First there is a voyage to a land of little people, then to a land of giants, then an island floating in the sky and inhabited by comical mad scientists/sorcerers (Swift seems to have thought of them as roughly the same, though they are on different islands), and finally a land of wise horses and brutish humans. This would seem to be standard children’s’ fare, until the reader gets farther along: there are a lot of scatological passages and worse – not suitable for children. Like “Alice in Wonderland”, first impressions are deceiving. What Swift has done is to cast a satirical eye on the society of his day, and take it apart piece by debased piece. The narrator, Lemuel Gulliver, at first seems to be the voice of reason; but then he begins to extoll the virtues of his own culture, with its wars, unquestioned class (caste) systems, slavery, and colonialization – and at first fails to understand why his audiences of little people, giants, and scientists are taken aback. Realization comes in the fourth part – he is just one of those wretched “Yahoos” after all, hiding behind a thin veil of civilization. At the same time, the various cultures he encounters on his voyages are crazy exaggerations of human society: the gigantic Brobdingnagians treat him as a pet or a sideshow (as European colonialists acted condescendingly towards other cultures); the scientists of Laputa are so wrapped up in contemplation (of truly ridiculous ideas) that they need “flappers” to hit them with stone-filled balloons on occasion to make them pay attention. …All in all, this is a complex and multifaceted piece of literature, hiding behind what at first appears to be an innocent fairy tale. One negative comment: I would have liked to read a version with notes explaining some of the more “obscure” sections that are no longer obvious to modern readers.
The book chronicles the adventures of world traveller Gulliver, and is a parody of travel books of the time. It’s divided into four sections that correspond with the four locations he visits. The first two are rather familiar — he’s super-big, then he’s super-small — the last two are less well known, but (to me) are the most interesting: his time upon a floating island of scientists, philosophers, and magicians, and lastly, in a land of intelligent horse-like creatures. It’s the most misanthropic (human-hating) book I’ve ever read (especially the last section) but yet again this is Swift’s way of manipulating the reader to respond a certain way. Due to the book’s age some aspects of it are difficult for modern readers like us, which is why I recommend a reading guide or notes to read along with the text.
It started out slow, but I thought Part 2 and Part 3 were much better than Part 1 and it is always interesting reading something that was written in a different time period to see what the perceptions of the world were at that time!
3 stars because it is a classic and because it was a good story idea. With that said, the writing style is often hard to understand and the storyline is very dull.
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