Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels is a political and social satire that incorporates contemporary issues relating to new ways of thinking as society encounters scientific observation and experimentation. Discuss in about 750 words, not less, what Swift may have been criticizing by presenting tiny people in relation to Gulliver and then a society of people who were gigantic. Describe what those two groups of people were like and what preoccupied them. In each community what role did Gulliver seem to play? In one society Gulliver seemed to be more moral in spite of violating laws, for example, by the practical means he used to solve problems; and in the other, he seemed rejected partly because of his lack of ethics. Explain what satiric points Swift is thereby making about his own English society. In what way are the natives being either “small minded” or “big minded?” The example of the dispute between the “big and little enders” about the correct cracking of a soft boiled egg probably reminds today’s readers of comparable disputes between the Republican and Democratic parties in the U.S. today. What does Swift discover when he uses microscopic and telescopic lenses to observe humans in “scientific” ways? What points are being made about laws, justice, and punishment? Compare some aspect of what Swift seems to be criticizing with a similar matter that Montaigne criticized in his essay. Add any additional comments about Swift’s work that come to mind. Perhaps you will acquire some insights by reading about Jonathan Swift’s life as an Irishman who tried to remedy the plight of Ireland as a British colony.
Gulliver’s Travels is available from the Project Guttenberg online: