Week 9 GT Round 1
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In part 4 of Gulliver’s Travels we see that Gulliver finds himself in a very similar situation as
Book 1. He is a stranger in a strange land. I was very surprised when Gulliver willingly left his
pregnant wife and kids to go back to sea. This strange land is filled with wild animals called
Yahoos who roam about the land.
A major theme in this section is the imperfect nature of humans. Swift portrays humans as
disgusting, hairy, beastly creatures. I think Swift was trying to make the point that as humans,
we are all political and social animals. When Swift describes the poor character traits and
qualities of the Yahoos, I believe he intended for readers to make the connection to social and
political parallels. Gulliver quickly realized that the only difference between him and the Yahoos
were his clothes and sense of reason.
What I found to be the strangest aspect of the story was that the horses were actually superior
to Gulliver in this part of the story. The Houyhnhnms were perfectly reasonable, and see
humans or “Yahoos” as creatures of base desires and emotions. Gulliver immediately tried to
prove his own worth by learning the language of the Houyhnhnms. That was the beginning of
his growing identification with the Houyhnhnms rather than his own humanity. Gulliver began
to hate humanity. This is shown when he makes a boat out of human skins and then returns
home and is repulsed by his own wife and children.
This story relates to my life because I have also tried to identify myself with people who I am
not before. In middle school I would wear makeup and try to say and do different things to try
and identify with the “cool kids” that I would not be a part of if I just acted like myself.
1. What political and social parallels can be made from humans and Yahoos?
2. Why do you think Gulliver wanted to identify with the Houyhnhnms?
3. Why do you think Swift chose horses to be the superior animal in this story?
4. In what ways can you identify with a Yahoo?
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