Bigness and Littleness in "Gulliver's Travels" Analytical Essay by Kathryn

Bigness and Littleness in "Gulliver's Travels"
An analysis of Jonathan Swift's exploitation of bigness and littleness in "Gulliver's Travels" and Gulliver's role as narrator.
# 49699 | 2,074 words | 1 source | MLA | 2004 | CA
Published on Mar 15, 2004 in Literature (English) , English (Analysis)

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This paper examines how, written as a satire of political, societal and religious issues, "Gulliver's Travels" is Jonathan Swift's commentary on specific issues of his day. It looks at how the narrator of the novel, Lemuel Gulliver, is a highly nave man and how the satire is possible only because of Gulliver's immense naivety. In particular, it looks at how Swift uses the notions of "bigness" and "littleness" in his satire in various ways. It shows how the first group of natives are morally and physically little, while in contrast with the second group that Gulliver encounters he finds himself the "little" one physically and how in addition he finds that his own morality and patriotism are little by comparison.

From the Paper:

"In Book II of the novel, Gulliver finds himself the small one in comparison to the humongous Brobdingnagians. Shortly after hiding in the cornfields, Gulliver is reminded of the philosophers who said that, "Nothing is great or little otherwise than by comparison."3 In comparison to Gulliver, the Brobdingnagians were giants. Swift uses the court maids to exemplify just how animalistic the human body really is; up close Gulliver realizes that English women were likely equally as repulsive, but it was not quite so obvious because of their smaller size. Swift takes this opportunity to use the giant women to criticize humanity's ever-present vanity; while the human body may appear attractive from a distance, Swift is saying that upon closer inspection, we really are closer to animals than anything else."

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