English Society and Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels Essay

1195 Words 5 Pages
English Society Exposed in Gulliver's Travels


In Gulliver's Travels, Swift takes us to many places that serve as a looking glass for the foibles of English society, but none of the places are as severe a censure of men as Houyhnhnmland. Here Swift has made a clear division of pure reason, embodied in the Houyhnhnms (maybe he was refering to "horse sense"), and raw passion, embodied in the Yahoos (which are "coincidentally" very manlike). Here Gulliver has to make the choice between Houyhnhnms and Yahoos, reason and passion. He initially rejects the Yahoos because of their repulsiveness to him, but at the same time he doesn't embrace the Houyhnhnms either. He still wants to cling in many ways to his English heritage
…show more content…
This fact is horrific if one considers that Gulliver identifies himself with Yahoos. It is a clear attempt to raise himself beyond the lowliness of Yahoos, but at the same time shows his true Yahooness, that he would use the skins of his own kind for his benefit. Even Houyhnhnms don't use the skins of Yahoos for anything, but maybe Swift is suggesting that one can't escape their nature.



Gulliver goes on to express his great gladness for being in Houyhnhnmland and not England, which at the same time allows Swift an oppurtunity to give one of his strongest censures of English society in an explosive rant (like Swift is noted for).

I enjoyed perfect health of body, and tranquility of mind; I did not feel the treachery or inconstancy of a friend, nor the inquiries of a secret or open enemy. I had no occasion of bribing, flattering, or pimping to procure the favor of any great man, or of his minion. I wanted no fence against fraud or oppression; here was neither physician to destroy my body, nor lawyer to ruin my fortune; no informer to watch my words and actions, or forge accusations against me for hire; here were no gibers, censurers, backbiters, pickpockets, highwaymen, housebreakers, attorneys, bawds, buffoons, gamesters, politicians, wits, splenetics, tedious talkers, controvertists, ravishers, murderers, robbers,…