Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"Gulliver's Travels"

It took me quite a while to get through Gulliver's Travels. It might be that I'm not the biggest fan of comedy/satire books, but for whatever reason, the pages weren't turning and I was somewhat relieved when I reached the last page. I don't want to be too hard on it though, because parts of the book I really enjoyed and I think most of my troubles with it were due to my general dislike for comedy/satire books than any actual flaws. I did enjoy it a lot more than Gargantua and Pantagruel, because I felt it was a much more intelligent form of comedy than the incessant scatological humour of Rabelais (granted, this is based on my memory of Rabelais... I'm actually interested in re-visiting him further down the reading list).

Gulliver makes four visits during his travels. The island of Lilliput, of course, is the island of little people and it is on this island that the iconic scene of Gulliver being tied down occurs. The island of Brobdingnag is an island of giants. These two islands played with perception in some neat ways. For example, Gulliver was considered a near god by the Lilliputians and as a sideshow by the Brobdingnagians, showing that size truly matters not. The floating island of Laputa was filled with tyrannical ΓΌber-intellectuals. Gulliver also visited the islands that were subject to Laputa. Finally, Gulliver visited the island of the Houyhnhnms, a race of horses Paradisal in virtue. Also on the island lives a race of brutish "humans" called Yahoos. Gulliver loves the Houyhnhnms, but loathes the Yahoos and by this point in his journey, Gulliver has developed a severe misanthropy, not just for the Yahoos but for the human race in general.

I could say much more about these islands, but like usual, when I get stuck on a certain book, I get anxious to move on.

As a side note, this is my first time using SparkNotes with one of the Great Books. I was hesitant to use SparkNotes simply because my favourite high school teacher, someone I really respect, always made fun of it. However, now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure the reason he made fun of it was because students were reading SparkNotes summaries rather than the books themselves. At any rate, I found SparkNotes really helpful and it helped me to pick up on some things that I normally wouldn't have, gave background information etc. I'll be using it for future Great Books for sure.

No comments:

Post a Comment