Jonathan Swift was an Irish writer born in Dublin, and he was the author of the famous significant novel Gulliver’s Travels. He finished this book in 1726; later the translators interpreted it into different languages and the publishers printed around the world. Gulliver’s Travelsis a story about a man who spends his life traveling around the world in the sea. His adventures are unbelievable and unreal, but he experiences them while others can only dream about anything similar. The book tells the fantasy story with all details of this traveling. Gulliver is not only the main character of the events, but he is also the narrator who describes his complete journey in four books. The first two books are the most worthy of attention because here he narrates the most influential moments and amazing places of his exploring.
Gulliver does not stop his journey after all the adversity he faces. He does not care about it. He is ready to sacrifice the usual life with close people from his “previous” life. He risks never meeting the members of his family again. This is the price which he is ready to pay in order to get as much knowledge as possible. Despite all the obstacles and difficulties which he constantly meets on his way, he moves on because his curiosity is stronger than any other feelings. This striving to get knowledge about the unknown becomes the invincible passion and the main purpose in the traveler’s life. Gulliver explores the different lifestyles, cultures, and peoples of Lilliput and Brogdingnag, and the specific characters of their societies. The former surgery was looking for his life purpose and realized that the traveling and investigation are his favorite activities where he wants to succeed. The Lilliputare is the first place with the perfect perspectives of new knowledge. The citizens are different from the usual people not only because of their sizes, but also the lifestyles. Gulliver is eager know more and more. The nation of Brobdingnag also changed his imagination of life. These people are so gigantic, but they have their principles and apprehensions. Their lifestyle is also new for the Gulliver’s former perception of the world. These two impressive lands prove that the traveler’s passion of knowledge needs the constant research and encourage him to go on with the traveling. In such way, the surgery becomes the captain of the ship and gets a status of a traveler.
The beginning of the Gulliver’s quest for knowledge is initiated after the encounter with an interesting society. The citizens of the Lilliputare are approximately “under six inches high” (Swift, 47). However, these tiny people easily overpower Gulliver after his arrival on their land. The narration states, “I discover’d the Methods they had taken to bind me; and at the same… which gave me excessive pain” (Swift, 18). After such welcome, the tiny people get acquainted with a new giant man, and Gulliver, with great effort, earns their trust. Soon, the Lilliputians consider him as their friend. During his staying here, Gulliver studies the emperor’s way of ruling the people. The emperor chooses “proper” people to his high court officials, not because of their actual abilities. The main criteria are good skills in rope dancing. Gulliver notes this occurrence as, “this diversion is only practiced by those persons who are candidates for great employments… whoever jumps the highest, without falling, succeeds in the office” (Swift, 31). In other words, the government of the Lilliputians does not exactly follow the rational principles. Gulliver examines attentively the Lilliput culture, and he observes that their writing is not similar to anything he has seen before. The traveler describes this writing type as “aslant from one corner of the paper to the other” (Swift, 48). For him, as well as for the reader, it is difficult to imagine this “handwritings”, not to speak of attempting to write as the representatives of this nation do. The author of “The Language of Gestures in Gulliver’s Travels”, John F. Sena, mentions the specific character of the Lilliput writing style and claims that “their written language does not follow any traditional orthographic pattern”. Gulliver moves further in his observations, and he finds out the burial traditions of the Lilliputians. He describes them in his notes. The Lilliputians “bury their dead with their heads directly downwards… be found ready standing on their feet” (Swift, 48). Considering some other cultures, such tradition is a strict taboo in one way or another.
The next subject of Gulliver’s exploring of the culture is the educational system. He has an opportunity to learn much about it. The children start their education as soon as they have reached “the age of twenty moons” (Swift, 50). The parents have to let their children from home to the classes. The basis of teaching is on the class of their parents and their own qualities. In “The Political Significance of Gulliver’s Travels”, J.A. Downie writes that “the emperor of Lilliput is ‘a renowned patron of learning’” (p. 26). The process of examining the Lilliputians life in their society and the knowledge he gets are interesting, especially for a person who is interested in it; however, Gulliver can only stay so long with the Lilliputians. Even though the Lilliputians and their life are fascinating, they are always stern and tense. In order not to upset the Lilliputians, Gulliver must walk on eggshells. This is a kind of requirement for his staying in here. Gulliver describes how “they look upon fraud as a greater crime than theft” (Swift, 48). This land is not the limit for such a curious traveler, so after leaving this interesting society, Gulliver moves forward to new lands in order to find and examine another unknown societies all over the world.
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For a while, Gulliver stays at home with his family, but he constantly hears the call of the sea. That is why he takes to the road again. This time, Gulliver reaches another fascinating society. However, in this society, the role of giant and tiny people is switched. This unknown land is a country with a name Brobdingnag. The unexpected feature of its citizens is the fact that the Brobdingnagians are giants comparing with the Gulliver’s small height. The Brobdingnagians’ society is completely opposite to the Lilliputians’ one. The king of Brobdingnagian embodies valuable qualities that demonstrate someone wanting peace over war. This time not only Gulliver learns new about this Brobdingnag, but the Brobdingnagians are interested in Gulliver’s society at home. He shares interesting facts about his culture and society. At first, Gulliver explains the existence of gun power and shares all his knowledge in this field. The king becomes really disappointed because of this information. The narrator describes king’s feelings as a “horror at the description” (Swift, 112). This reaction is unexpected for Gulliver because he assumed the king would be happy to get this information. Unfortunately to the traveler, he makes a great mistake and dismisses the subject. The Brobdingnagians have several reason why they persistently avoid societies similar to Gulliver’s one. Among them is the fact of the gun power. However, John F. Sena states “the Brobdingnagians also perform a gesture which embodies the theme of false human pride”. This quotation has a significant sense because it means that the Brobdingnagians are likely to view their society better than the one Gulliver comes from.
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Gulliver’s further examinations of the Brobdingnagian culture show that “no law of that country must exceed in words the number of letters in their alphabet” (Swift, 113). The oddness of this quotation is in its meaning that the laws cannot be descriptive or wordy. The Brobdingnagians seem to tend to a simple lifestyle. Gulliver examines the education system of the Brobdingnagians, in which he claims to be “very defective” (Swift, 113). Their focus is more on useful subjects for themselves and the society in general. To be more precise, Gulliver relates this education to be “wholly applied to what may be useful in life, to the improvement of agriculture and all mechanical arts” (Swift, 113). The traveler realizes that the education which is useful to his society and himself would be hardly taught to the Brobdingnagians. Gulliver even insults the king’s army. He forwards this idea to the army being “made up of tradesmen in the several cities, and farmers in the country” (Swift, 115). The army performs great exercises and training. However, Gulliver still does not consider these men to be of true army material. The main military role of the Brobdingnag army is to settle disputes peacefully and participate in war only if it is necessary. This society has its own way how to operate. Of course, this style can be taboo in other countries, such as the traditions of the Lilliputians.
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It is amazing how much new Gulliver has learned from only two journeys out of four accomplished. Thank to his curiosity and adventures, the traveler meets unbelievably new types of society and learns many interesting fact about their culture, lifestyle and education. He was a giant among the Lilliputians and tiny among the Brobdingnagians, but it is more than the size. The Lilliputians show him their strange rules and different traditions which are important part of their life. The Brobdingnagians explain why they avoid people like Gulliver. They undercover their disgusted attitude to gun and their striving to handle conflicts peacefully. Gulliver finds these societies unique and amazing. However, such successful search for new knowledge pushes him to further traveling away from his home and family. The only thing that matters is that when the real traveler hears the call of the sea nothing is going to stop him.