Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
Gulliver’s Travels is about Lemuel Gulliver. As his business venture fails, he begins a voyage to sea. Although he comes upon a number of strange sights, and is relieved to escape and return home to his family, he always tends to head back out to sea.
The book is broken into Four Sections.
Section One: A Voyage to Lilliput
Gulliver’s Voyage to Lilliput is the most memorable for people. Gulliver is shipwrecked on an island full of very small people. The people have their own society and have never seen someone as large as Gulliver before.
This particular section of the story was popularized with the modern version of the film “Gulliver’s Travels” with Jack Black. The film only takes the idea of the large vs small and the name of Gulliver from this one section. It does not go into details of the four other sections. I had imagined myself watching this film to go along with the book, but the preview was enough to spoil that plan. I don’t particularly care for Jack Black and his singular form of acting. Although there are some other good actors and actresses in the film, I just couldn’t do it. I could tell from the preview that it would have been a waste of my time. I shall use the excuse that it does not fully document all four sections of the novel, and therefore is not based on the book and not relevant.
The small people of the island take Gulliver as their prisoner. He is soon taught the language of the people, and builds a relationship with the people in power. However, after defiling the castle in order to save it, there are plans of what needs to be done with Gulliver. As he decides that fleeing would be more favourable for him, he returns home to England.
Section Two: A Voyage to Brobdingnag
Not learning any lessons, he begins another journey out to sea. This time bringing him to a land where he is very small, and those of the land are very large. He becomes an oddity and an entertainment. Befriending the daughter of a farmer, he learns the language of that land as well. Through the curiosity and enjoyment of the queen, Gulliver is bought by the queen, and requests that the farmers daughter be his charge. Here he lives a fairy comfortable life, but through a series of events is cast out to sea, to yet again return to his homeland.
Section Three: A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Glubbdubdrib and Japan
Again Gulliver sets out to sea, this time going to a series of different lands along the way. Although there are more strange places to see, this was probably my least favourite section. It details a lot of the different places and of their customers and appearances. These details became rather tedious and boring. Although I do give merit to the creativity of all these voyages, I don’t particularly care of the rudimentary mathematics and schematics of the lands unknown.
There is one land in particular that every few centuries, certain people are born whom live forever. Gulliver, as well as myself, have reflected on the possibility of this and how we would employ our time. An aspect of this immortality I had never taken into consideration, and a possibility that could arise is youth and immortality. The immortals still grow as normal, but at a certain young age, they become seniors and begin to lose their memories and other faculties. In which case they are taken into care by others, because they are unable to do it themselves. They are left alive in this state for a very long time, which is not the glamourous idea we think of when we imagine immortality.
Section Four: A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms
Yet again, we venture out to sea as the captain of a ship. Unfortunately, the shipmates take over the ship and leave Gulliver on an unknown island. Gulliver happens upon strange beasts called Yahoos. In reality these Yahoo’s are a basic form of humans, but are the beasts of the land. In the country of Houyhnhnms, the intelligent creatures are Horses. On this land Gulliver spends 5 years of his life, before his stay is called into question.
This section was probably the funniest, as in relaying the details of his homeland, he makes an interesting case of humans. There are very real truths of the diseases of people spread through the sexual needs of men and those ladies in particularly inclined to provide this. Also of those people in power and a blatant description of those persons and the inner workings of society.
Although in all the lands, Gulliver is a strange, but welcome newcomer. He is quite smart and catches on very quickly to the customs and languages of each, which is not a small feat. He gains the favour of those in power, but in the end manages to become a hinderance of some sort which results in his having to leave.
I prefer certain sections over others, as well as different aspects of the lands. It’s interesting how the story takes the world that we live in and seamlessly creates these other lands right under our noses. Swift created some very imaginative worlds and has recorded them in impressive detail, creating customs and even languages.
This was an interesting read/listen, but nothing that really blew me away. There were parts that lagged and in some instances, the in depth look at each place and their customs and languages became tedious. In section three, while hopping through all these lands trying to reach home, I think I was in more of a hurry for Gulliver to be home, than he himself. I was neither overly impressed, or horribly disappointed in this book. To put it simply, I’m glad it was a free audiobook.