The Moral and Importance of Gulliver’s Travels

An analysis of how Jonathan Swift establishes Gulliver as a credible narrator and used this to satirize society, as well as individuals, in his novel, Gulliver’s Travels.

This paper looks at how people can sometimes become so arrogant that they do not bother to look at the world around them and how society always has been and always will be full of corruption, pollution, and dishonesty. It attempts to show that it is for these reasons that Jonathan Swift wrote Gulliver?s Travels. It also examines how it is divided into four different journeys, each expressing a concern of Swift?s. It is apparent that Part IV is the most important of all the journeys and that the importance of a journey increases as the book progresses. It shows how each part has a moral and how the moral of Part IV is vital to understanding the novel. It concludes that, by analyzing and comparing each section, one can draw the conclusion that reform begins with an individual.
In order for Gulliver’s Travels to create the disturbance that Swift intended, he needed to establish Gulliver as a credible narrator. This is done so by providing real places for Gulliver to live, grow up, and be educated (Ross 222). He begins the novel saying, My father had a small Estate in Nottinghamshire; I was the Third of five Sons. He sent me to Emanvel College in Cambridge (Swift 3). This sets Gulliver up as a reasonable and convincing protagonist (Rosenheim 669). This is true, because factual descriptions of places and people lend credibility. In addition, Gulliver’s emotional distance from the other characters makes him even more believable and effective. His lack of judgement makes his views almost seem factual, rather than objective. When visiting islands and different societies, Gulliver does not give his view or opinion of the island’s inhabitants or actions, but rather an explicit physical description.