Jonathan Swift Gullivers Travels English Literature Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

After Gulliver introduces himself to the reader as a simple man who likes travelling, he is washed ashore after a shipwreck on his first journey. When he awakes he seems to be captured by very small people (their length is one-twelfth of the size of normal human beings) from the country of Lilliput. He's being transported to a big house where the Lilliputians feed him. He eats in enormous proportions in the eyes op the people of Lilliput. After a while he is released because of his good behavior. He helps to cut wood in the forests en building things in the capital city. He isn't allowed to just walk around through the country because of the danger that the little people are stepped on by Gulliver. He is allowed to visit the city, if he reports this a few days ahead. The court even starts to like him. The court is actually meant to be a satire of the court of George I, the king of Great-Brittain. Gulliver helps the government of Lilliput by fighting against the rival country of Blefuscu. This war is meant to satirize both the struggles between the protestants and Catholics as well as the aggressive competition between England and France. The Lilliput appear to be winning the war but Gulliver does not want the country of Blefuscu to become part of Lilliput and thus he deserts. This is against the will of the court so Gulliver is charged with treason and he will be blinded as punishment. But with help of a friend he succeeds in escaping to Blefuscu. Eventually he is picked up by a passing ship which takes him home. He takes home some of the cattle like cow's and pigs and horses and continued to breed them in England.

In the fourth and last part of the book Gulliver travels the sea as captain, despite his intent to stay home . His crew turns itself against Gulliver and eventually rebels, leaving Gulliver at the first piece of land they come across. On this island he meets deformed creatures, Yahoos, whom he soon starts to dislike. These Yahoos represent the most basic and ugly form of humans. They are ruled by Horses called Houyhnhnm, which means 'perfection of nature'. Gulliver becomes a member of the horse's household and he develops sympathy for them. He learned their habits and their language with the help of the boss of the Houyhnhnm. This person is called "Master" in the book. On one day a Houyhnhnm saw him without clothes and it scared him. They thought the cloths he was wearing were his skin. He is forbidden to take his clothes off in presence of any Houyhnhnm by the "Master". The horses decide that by this definition he is also a Yahoo himself so he is expelled. He is rescued by a Portuguese ship and is surprised to see that the captain, a Yahoo, turns out to be wise and generous. After he returns home, he becomes a hermit, avoiding other people and speaking to horses, since he refuses to live among Yahoos any longer.

Analysis & Interpretation


The Book is a novel and its subgenre is criticize society because Mr. Gulliver find out that the modern society is not so good as it seams.


The theme of the book is, another look at the modern society.

The motives are:

Self-knowledge, he what to become a better men after he visited the Houyhnhnm but this part of the story has also an other side, he starts to hate people en disgust them because he see how good the Houyhnhnm are living together without lies, hate and jealousy.

Research, Mr. Culliver want to find out if men are corrupt when they are born of if it's a acquired skill of men


The stories are told in a chronological order. There are four different parts. Each part tells a story about one of Mr. Culliver travels and the last part ends with Mr. Culliver want to be left alone and that he lives like a hermit away from other people. All four parts have eight chapter except the third one who had eleven. The four stories can be read separate because there is a begin in each part end a closed end.


The main character is Lemuel Gulliver. At first he is a ship surgeon, later he becomes captain of his own ship. He is a bit of a timeless figure. That's because his birthday and the day he dies are not given in the book. Gulliver has a wife and children in England that he leaves behind when he travels around the world. Gulliver is not the real name of the main character, but a pseudonym. The real name of the main character is not mentioned in the story.

The first important person that Lemuel Gulliver meets is the king of Lilliput. This "king" meets he at his first travel. When Gulliver washed ashore after a shipwreck and awake he seems to be captured by the men of the king of Lilliput so is how the two men met. The king is also called The Emperor and Imperial Majesty. This man is like all civilians of Lilliput about six inches high.

In the fourth part meets he the Houyhnhnm and the Yahoos. The Houyhnhnm looks like a horse. But these creatures are intelligent and noble. They never make arguments and don't know what hate or jealousy is. On the other side there are the Yahoos these creatures look like human but are more hairy and aggressive. The Houyhnhnm disgust these Yahoos and they keep sometimes as a kind of pets. Gulliver calls the Houyhnhnm who teaches him their language his master. This "horse" is the most important horse of all horses.


Lemuel Gulliver travels from 1699 to 1715. In this time he makes four travels.

Perspective & Narrative:

The story was told by an all knowing narrator, because Lemuel Gulliver tells his own journeys in his diary. You see the story though the eyes of Gulliver but you do know what the other characters think about him.


The story takes place on several islands in the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean. This places are never visited by people before this makes also that the writer can put a lot of fantasy in the stories.

Langue and style:

The story is told in civilized English. A lot of the text in the book is conversations and dialogues. This makes the book interesting to read because you see how the other people / creatures in the book think about the human kind

Personal Reaction



The book is meant to be a satire on the English and European society and governments, science and human nature. It is also intended to be a parody of traveler's tales. Swift succeeded very well in realizing this intents and this resulted in a tremendous popularity among almost every group of Englishmen. It is by far Swift's best-known book, and a classic of English literature. Its popularity is well-illustrated by the fact that in a lot of languages 'Lilliput' now means 'very small and delicate'. In our Dutch language, 'Lilli putter' means 'very small person'. And the term 'Yahoo' is sometimes used as synonym for 'thug'.


Jonathan Swift was born on 30 November 1667 in Dublin and died on 19 October 1719. He was a satirist, an essayist, a political pamphleteer, a poet and a senior priest in the St. Patrick's in Dublin. He had a difficult youth, because his father had died seven months before he was born. He got a job of secretary of an English diplomat, Sir William Temple. Swift left Temple in 1690 and he became a priest in the Established Church of England. Swift proposed to Jane Waring to marry him but she refused. He went back to England and after the death of Temple, Swift finished the memoirs of Temple. In Februari 1702 Swift received his Doctor of Divinity. This is an achievement within the university of Dublin. Later on he was a mediator between members of the government. This Tory government had secret negotiations with France during the Spanish War of Succession and this negotiations helped to end this War. From 1702 till 1714 Swift wrote several books who made him well known. Swift died in 1719 and the first days after his death he was laid out for the public, ha was buried next to his soul mate Esther Johnson. His fortunes were given to a hospital for mentally ill.

Special assignment

We chose for the assignment to change the setting, the place and the time, of the story. The settings in the original story are the country of Lilliput and the land of the Houyhnhnm.

The first new setting is Germany during World War 2. In this time the habitants of Lilliput would have been hunted through the Germans, because every human with any disability or handicap didn't fit in their ideology of the Arian race. Or the little people are exposed as attractions for the high generals of the German army. Gulliver would have been a British paratrooper who has landed in the camp of Lilliput. The enemies of Lilliput, Blefuscu, would have been united with Lilliput to defend their people. Gulliver can't defend them against the enemy, because they are as big as him. That is why he is going to leave the little people.

The second new setting is present America. Gulliver crashed with his plane in one of the deserts of America. He walks and walks a long time and then meets the tribe of the Houyhnhnm. These creatures have been recently discovered by human and they are threatened with being captured. Gulliver learns their culture and language. Then the other people come and want to capture the Houyhnhnms. Gulliver tries to convince them to leave them alone, but it is already too late. Worldwide the media is focused on these creatures and many zoos want them behind their bars. Gulliver is forced to leave them and returns to his home. So the story ends.