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ENGL 200 Lecture 25 - Gulliver's Travels Book 2.docx

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English (Arts)
ENGL 200
Wes Folkerth

Gulliver’s Travels Book IV Page 2418 I had several men who died in my ship of calentures, so that I was forced to get recruits out of Barbadoes and the Leeward Islands, where I touched, by the direction of the merchants who employed me; which I had soon too much cause to repent: for I found afterwards, that most of them had been buccaneers. I had fifty hands onboard; and my orders were, that I should trade with the Indians in the South-Sea, and make what discoveries I could. These rogues, whom I had picked up, debauched my other men, and they all formed a conspiracy to seize the ship, and secure me; which they did one morning, rushing into my cabin, and binding me hand and foot, threatening to throw me overboard, if I offered to stir.  Here, we get a sense of what is different in this voyage.  It opens with his crew mutinying against him, which sort of feeds his realization of mankind  The result of this particular voyage people/animal, is that the result of acts of other people who are trying to get him  The island that he has landed on is inhabited by houyhnhnms and yahoos.  The horses that first meet Gulliver think that he is some kind of gifted Yahoo, and he tries to dissociate himself from these yahoos, but eventually coming to the conclusion that he is indeed a yahoo, and he develops this misanthropy  Funny that the first word he picks out is “Yahoo” and he doesn’t realize that they are talking about him as a sort of yahoo and what this creature is. All they know is that he looks like all of those other degenerate creatures. Page 2444 Being one day abroad with my protector the sorrel nag, and the weather exceeding hot, I entreated him to let me bathe in a river that was near. He consented, and I immediately stripped myself stark naked, and went down softly into the stream. It happened that a young female YAHOO, standing behind a bank, saw the whole proceeding, and inflamed by desire, as the nag and I conjectured, came running with all speed, and leaped into the water, within five yards of the place where I bathed. I was never in my life so terribly frightened. The nag was grazing at some distance, not suspecting any harm. She embraced me after a most fulsome manner. I roared as loud as I could, and the nag came galloping towards me, whereupon she quitted her grasp, with the utmost reluctancy, and leaped upon the opposite bank, where she stood gazing and howling all the time I was putting on my clothes. This was a matter of diversion to my master and his family, as well as of mortification to myself. For now I could no longer deny that I was a real YAHOO in every limb and feature, since the females had a natural propensity to me, as one of their own species. Neither was the hair of this brute of a red colour (which might have been some excuse for an appetite a little irregular), but black as a sloe, and her countenance did not make an appearance altogether so hideous as the rest of her kind; for I think she could not be above eleven years old.  You get one these moments when the shoe starts to drop for Gulliver  Here, Gulliver really starts to loathe himself to hate himself for that part of humanity within him that he associates with the Yahoos.  The houyhnhnms represent a reasoned social life, a life guided by reason, a life that rejects all the destabilizing emotions and passions and messiness in the human condition, and Gulliver has trouble finding a middle way.  For him, this is an either or thing, either you are a houyhnhnms or a yahoo  He doesn’t recognize anything in the houyhnhnms that is human like  One thing to note is the simplicity of the horse’s speech is that the horse never says that which is not.  What they are saying is that houyhnhnms never have to lie to each other because there is no need to lie  This is in some ways a positive attribute; however, they could never write a book that they are part of o They owe their every existence to the fact that “said that which is not”  This relates to the defense of Poesy, about the benefits of imaginative writing, which is a kind of lie  Here, the houyhnhnms just reject that  The houyhnhnms poetry is quite nice, but it still has the sense that it is not a very enjoyable poetry to read  The houyhnhnms in this book sort of give us the sense of Swift trying to present a world of rational Utopia, a place where reason is valorized above any other kind of way of adjudicating how to live in society  Swift is writing at the dawn of this historical period of the Enlightenment, which is the intellectual and cultural movement that privileges reason as the source of legitimacy and authority over and against a kind of outlook at the privileges tradition or belief  This is Europe coming out of centuries of religious conflict, sectarian warfare, and how do we get out of this? How do we decide to not be this way? The idea is to live through principals of reason  There is a lot of sectarian society as well  Remember that he is a priest of the church of Ireland, so he is a religious man  The houyhnhnms society is governed by rational principals, it is a simple society, a society that is wonderfully communal that is rooted in nature, and they don’t have iron tools, they have a lot of agriculture, a lot of simple architecture, there is something simply practical about that  They have no place for disorderly passions in their culture and many of their practices can strike as cruel or unfeeling Page 2445 Friendship and benevolence are the two principal virtues among the houyhnhnms; and these not confined to particular objects, but universal to the whole race; for a stranger from the remotest part is equally treated with the nearest neighbor, and wherever he goes, looks upon himself as at home. They preserve decency and civility in the highest degrees, but are altogether ignorant of ceremony. They have no fondness for their colts or foals, but the care they take in educating them proceeds entirely from the dictates of reason.  So, they seem like a very benevolent and friendly kind of creature that don’t have a kind of emotional link with their children, and they have ideas of how different colors of horses should not intermingle Page 2445-2446 In their marriages, they are exactly careful to choose such colors as will not make any disagreeable mixture in the breed. Page 2438 He made me observe, "that among the houyhnhnms, the white, the sorrel, and the iron-gray, were not so exactly shaped as the bay, the dapple-gray, and the black; nor born with equal talents of mind, or a capacity to improve them; and therefore continued always in the condition of servants, without ever aspiring to match out of their own race, which in that country would be reckoned monstrous and unnatural."  So, there is rational society and thus rationality even extends to a kind of eugenics, and we all know where this has got us  We look at this culture that we are presented us, as something to admire, but we can have our reservations about it  Page 2447. They have one of these grand council debates, and the question becomes, about the question of the Yahoos  The questions regarded whether they should be exterminated from the face of the earth  They don’t have any written language, and thus they have not written history, but this tale tells that they are probably this aberration of nature and they settled in their land, and now they are breeding out of control and they are worried about insurrections  What is their rational plan of dealing with this species and what they might do to them  We also get these kinds of amazing movements when Gulliver’s master interjects with this idea: He says that Gulliver told me that horses in this land were prevented from breeding in their land by castration, and we see houyhnhnms borrowing ideas from someone who is a being from this lesser species  The master even says, that is good idea it’s not too much a bad idea to take from a lesser species, for we have done this before  When Gulliver talks about gelding male horses to make them more mellow, he is ashamed to talk about this, but this is something that the Master takes and uses this against the Yahoos  For Gulliver, rejecting the Yahoos means embracing the horses, and he has a rude awakening one morning when his master tells him that he must be exiled because he might become a leader among the yahoos, and do something nefarious to them  He is asked to leave  Pay attention the leave taking, and he is assisted in making his boat from the sole horse that helps him make his canoe, but when he leaves, he is in tears  Notice that the horses don’t have any emotion, and they say that this is how it is meant to be, and the horse lifts up his hoof for him to kiss, but Gulliver’s does not want us to misread that. Gulliver is not that kind of hoof-kisser.  We get a good sense of the point that he has come to. Page 2439 The reader may be disposed to wonder how I could prevail on myself to give so free a representation of my own species, among a race of mortals who are already too apt to conceive the vilest opinion of humankind, from that entire congruity between me and their yahoos. But I must freely confess, that the many virtues of those excellent quadrupeds, placed in opposite view to human corruptions, had so far opened my eyes and enlarged my understanding, that I began to view the actions and passions o
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