Gulliver's Travels

By Jonathan Swift

Genre: Fantasy/ Science fiction


Essential Questions

Gulliver’s Travels was set in the late 1600’s to the mid 1700’s. This time period was a time of adventure and exploring. Relating this book to our society, it reflected their values in that day. Many people of European countries went out to the unknown lands of America, and ventured into the new world, much like Gulliver did. Also like Gulliver, the people who traveled to unknown lands met many people that they were not used to. Mayans, Incans, and even Indians were all people that inhabited the Americas. These two groups of different people often had conflicts, much like Gulliver came across in his stories.

On another note, literature also shapes or reflects society based on their interests. Many people in the 1700’s were very poor from the bad harvests, and were upset with each other, as well as King George. As a result, many people desired to see the world, but also rebelled their King. Many people often fought with each other. This is shown and hinted within Jonathan Swift’s book. In part one of Gulliver’s travels, the two groups of miniature people often fought each other for authority, and for moral concepts of who is right and who is wrong. The display of revolution, much like that of the Europeans, is also hinted in part one of Gulliver’s travels. The horses of the new island feared that the Yahoo’s would rebel, much like the frightened ideas that ran through King George and his councils’ heads.

Gulliver’s travels not only displays how literature shapes or reflects society, but it also shows the relationship between literature and place. Gulliver during his travels is often amazed by the surrounding elements that he is in. He describes the thrill of adventure, and the beauty of the land, which was a big interest for people of the 1700’s. A strange concept for people was the idea of a floating island, which appeared in part three of Gulliver’s Travels. People of the 1700’s were also entertained with the ideas of other exciting events in a setting that made the story new, different, and exciting! Hey enjoyed the idea of horses ruling instead of people, or stories of giants and micro-sized people; all of which are included in Gulliver’s voyages. Jonathan Swift does a great job captivating his readers though his relationship between literature and place.