The year was 4th may 1699 where part one of the story begins with a short preamble where Lemuel Gulliver gives a brief introduction before he started his voyages. Born in Nottinghamshire in a small estate, the author also portrays the Gulliver family to have originated from Oxfordshire. A medical student for three years at Emmanuel College, Cambridge left and became an apprentice to a renowned surgeon in London. He is also portrayed as having not traveled so much except to Levant but later to the east and the West Indies. In his voyages, he marries Miss Mary Burton, a daughter to a London horsier. In his voyages, he learns Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, some Greek but specifies that he “understood (Portuguese) very well.”
Gulliver’s travels can be summarized into four main travels, in all of them, he never planned on the destinations which he found himself in but by luck, he always finds a way to his home country England. An irony is noted here, the fact that he gets lost yet he is a very learned man though from a poor/middle-class background. Swift builds the character off Gulliver as an honest man, a man who keeps his word but also gullible. All this build up an irony in the character and is used to make satire. The four travels are: the first in which the ship gets wrecked and Gulliver awakes to find himself on the island of Lilliput. He is imprisoned the politically the prisons there represent the one Charles 1 was tried and sentenced to death. Gulliver finds favor in the king’s eyes and is not sentenced but gets rewarded with court diversions. However, he learns that in the island people get offices by how they are good at rope dancing (Swift, 273). This is a symbolism of modern society and how it has been eroded to the point that unless you are prepared to do something to please a particular individual no matter how the offense is to the public you won’t get to the office.
In the next travel, only two months after he arrived from the island of Lilliput, a storm blows their ship to an island (Brobdingnag) where they are chased by a creature leaving behind their comrade Gulliver (Swift, 292). The island is full of giants, and now the tables are turned. This time, Gulliver is seen as the midget. Thus he gets disgusted by the huge human bodies. These two stories prove that perspective matter. Before he could not see how the people were astonished to see a huge man but he got astonished seeing giants.
On his third travel, Gulliver’s sloop gets attacked by pirates and while drifting discovers a Flying Island. There he meets people with a lot of knowledge but who spend a lot of time investigating and arguing on pointless issues. On his last travel he finds himself in an Island of ugly and despicable people who are lowly in morals, they defecate on him, but a horse later saves him. This is ironic; the horse had good morals than human beings. Swift tries to show that the only thing that makes us different from animals is our morals. The people of this Island are portrayed as ugly because of their lack of morals and coldness to strangers.
The story is drama with different episodes addressing various topics in the society from politics to the social aspects. The story is inspired mostly by the direct account of Jonathan Swift after he had a closer look at the society and how corrupt it was (Damrosch, 12). The book has no particular audience. The book has an impact on all levels of life, as for children it may be entertaining but for thinkers, it has a deeper meaning and revelation of how the society is.
Damrosch, Leo. Jonathan Swift: his life and his world. Yale University Press, 2013.
Swift, Jonathan. “Gulliver’s travels.” Gulliver’s Travels. Palgrave Macmillan US, 1995. 27-266.