Thursday, May 1, 2014

Book Review--> Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

Title and Author: Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
Print Length: 240 Pages
Publication Date: 1726
Language: English
Genre: Humour, Satire, Classics, Action, Adventure

My Review:
Lemuel Gulliver was a surgeon and also loved to travel. This book divided into four parts narrates his adventures while travelling to the remote nations of the world. During his travels, he is shipwrecked and washed ashore on an island inhabited by tiny people called the Lilliputians who make him a prisoner. The first part deals with his adventures on Lilliput. The second part of the book tracks his adventures on Brobdingnag where he is abandoned by his companions and found by a farmer, thus starting his misadventures on this land inhabited by huge people. The third part takes Gulliver to the flying island of Laputa which is the home of mathematicians and artists who are unable to use their talents to practical ends. The final part of the story leaves Gulliver meeting the Houyhnhnms who are a race of horses ruling the Yahoos, the humans in their base form.

First published in 1726, this book got immediate popularity and has never gone out-of-print since. This book, written by Jonathan Swift who was a clergyman as well as an Irish writer, is a satire on human nature as well as a parody of the “traveller’s tales” literary sub-genre. Considered the best work by Swift and also an English literature classic, Cavehill in Belfast is thought to be the inspiration for this book. The book is also a satire on the state of the European government. Swift questions whether a man is inherently corrupt or does he become corrupt with time and company. This book is valid even today and one can relate the events to the hypocrisy, corruption and politics of the human race prevalent in the present times.

The book is written in the first person with Gulliver as the narrator. The writing is simple and feels almost bland. There is no self reflection or any emotional touch to the narration. The plot is meticulously planned and executed and it shows that Swift knew exactly what he wanted from each scenario/character in the book. The development of the characters is admirable and the reader is able to visualize and connect with each behavioral shift in their nature. Gulliver, who is practical and initially abhorred by politics and the viciousness of people gradually, changes to a man with a hard attitude who is no longer shocked by the hypocrisy and the politicking nature of the humans. A satire that is valid even today, Swift is successfully able to shed light on several aspects of human nature.


This is an intelligent piece of work and I was hooked till the very end and then left to reflect on what I had just read. A book that raises questions when read by adults is also capable of being read by children who will find it humorous, witty and imaginative. This is the beauty of the book as well the genius of the writer. A must read. 4.5 out of 5 to Gulliver's Travels.

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