Gulliver's Travels

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16 Mar 2011
of 4
Week 20 – 2/28/11
Gulliver’s Travels
Robinson Crusoe
-overcoming obstacles through hard work + industry
-idea of divine providence= > Robinson Crusoe comes to understand it as he understands
his place on the island
-> inner voice (God)
-life has a plan: how does it manifest + reveal to you in life?
-life = novel; there is a shape (divine plan) behind it
-> individual life = providential nature
-ambiguity: does God actually speak to Robinson Crusoe, OR he is just talking to
-> idea addressed by Swift: how do we know if individual experiences, separate
from outside thoughts, is appropriate?
-Robsinson Crusoe leaves old world + joining new one
-> leaves father who wants him to stay home, and makes a fortune
Swift + Compassion
-Swift: satire = mirror or glass -> beholders discover everyone’s face BUT their own ->
that’s the only way it becomes acceptable
-literary mode in which folly + abuse is clearly ridiculed; often makes use of irony,
exaggeration, lampoon; ethical goal of exposing corruption.
-Swift has great compassion for outsiders
-when died, left $$ to insane asylum
-Esther Johnson -> attachment w little girl (daughter of household servant)
-Battle of the Books:
-compares ancient learning to BEES: gather a bit of nectar (sweet knowledge)
from each flower. Modern learning = SPIDERS: spin around and around a certain
knowledge that comes from ourserlves; can be entrapping
Gulliver’s Travels
-published as though it was a real account of his life
-humour comes from JUXTAPOSITION w human failings + eternal, true, immutable
-reflects how, historically, people are losing sense of social order/hierarchy
-bottom of 2325: does not expect ppl to be affected by book
-> idea that the book itself cannot change ppl or society; ideas in it of themselves
PRECEPTS stories + statements without context with which they have meaning
-against Defoe: we can’t just read a book + expect it to transform individual + society
-names main character GULLIVER -> person we can’t really relate to
-references to the BODY
-refers to the body in ways Robinson Crusoe never did
-Mr. Bates (Master Bates) + becomes physician
-sexual drives + physicality
-idea of healing
-sim. To Robinson Crusoe -> long paragraphs -> but quickly arrives at a supernatural
-absence of other human beings: how do we know if what we know is real?
-p. 2460: unlike Robinson Crusoe: does not like colonization
-> attacks British empire for that
-satires -> character development rare
-Gulliver: thinks himself as reasonable w real insights
-> more of a narrative device as opposed to character -> doesn’t change much
-2321-22: Lilliputians fascinated with how much he eats and poos
-to them, he is a monster (just as the Bob_________ seem monstrous to him)
-put him in an ancient temple (esteemed to be large, but also has a bad name)
-> allusion to execution of Charles 1
-2334: compares self to dog
-2346: attempt to poison him -> but what about the stench of such a large carcass?
Giganticness = pollution
-2342: king has army march between Gulliver’s legs -> similar to marching underneath
the Colossus of Rhodes
-Lilliputians are aesthetically beautiful -> like to dance, beautiful gardens, etc.
-Gulliver gets in trouble bc he wants to be PART of their society -> cannot acknowledge
how corrupt they are, and therefore becomes foolish in society
-talks about giant wetnurse’s breasts -> disgusted w size
-2386: disgusted by the blemishes on their bodies (which are noticeable bc of their size)
-becomes less than a man in Brob: women dress in front of him, treat him as toy
-2379: king doesn’t treat Gulliver + Gulliver’s world/society as real -> patronizes him
-2392: reveals contempt + disgust for Gulliver’s society
-tries impressing king w gunpowder
-2396: struck with horror at the (phallic) descriptions of cannons
-> science might develop destructive material
-Brobdinae -> state of warfare with other animals
-> eg. Rats in farmhouse
-wasps attack him
-eagle picks up box he lives in and drops it in middle of sea
-small libraries -> reflects their ethics: too much knowledge= bad ?
-smallness: looks at self + Queen in mirror together -> comparison
-2388: monkey tries making Gulliver suckle from him
-2389: infantilized: girl picks dirt out of his mouth w needle
->2393: crowd laughs at him when he says he should have defended self
Part 4:
-2418: horror at Yahoos -> creatures had no hair on skin or tails -> oblivious to their
humanity -> changed bc he had been in contact with Houyhnhmns (horse like creatures)
-perfect harmony with nature in society = lack of body functions
-their names mean “perfection of nature -> lack of superfluity
-only one topic of true political problem -> Yahoos
-no culture or science (no corruption)
-not trade or economy (unlike Lilliputians who trade a lot)
-looking @ Yahoos through eyes of H. makes him mad -> as readers, we do’t need to
adopt his viewpoints
-he comes delusional + abusive bc of what he’s experienced
-comedy of work: he thinks he can provide good + clear + logical account but is actually
just delusional
-facticity of his report
-> loses capacity to lie after living with H (they have no word for “lie”)
-worries about eyesight
-clarity of perception?
Pope’s poems – responses to Gulliver’s Travels
-becomes disgusted with humans -> wants to be with horses
-grossness of female breasts
-monkey making him nurse
-grossness of giants
-however, Swift isn’t totally misogynist: the most real + caring character in story =
Glumdalitch -> loves him unconditionally + protects him throughout book 2
-when taken by eagle, he regrets lack of chance to say goodbye to her
-where does creativity come from?
-originates in childhood play
-we inject life into immaterial things (children pretend toys are alive, artists
transform raw materials into “life)
-2445: is this a Yahoo or not?
-10-year old female Yahoo had seen him bathing -> had desire for him ->
-2445 (top): tried taming a Yahoo
-> loses sense of what human beings are (forgets what urine is)