The Style of Writing Analysis - Gulliver's Travels

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      It had been speculated that Gulliver's Travels had been written somewhere between 1715 - 1720, but when the letters from Swift to Charles Ford were discovered, the book was finally revealed to have been written between 1721 and 1726. Ford seems to be Swift's only confidant about his writing of the books and he wrote him regularly about his progress. He started writing a contribution of his friend's memoirs (Martin Scriblerus), some years before. He took it up again in 1721 as the first sketch of Gulliver's Travels, perhaps influenced by Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, which first appeared in 1719. As Swift discloses in the letter, he started writing the books in 1721, the early Hanoverian period. In the time he wrote this letter he also showed his loyalty to the Tory party and what anti-government writers could get away with writing.

It had been speculated that Gulliver's Travels had been written somewhere between 1715 - 1720, but when the letters from Swift to Charles Ford were discovered, the book was finally revealed to have been written between 1721 and 1726.
Gulliver's Travels

      He still defied the government by his writing at the time, even though the Whig party were actively prosecuting writers for treason. He knew, however, that what he was writing was controversial enough to warrant punishment, so he therefore published under a pseudonym and got the publisher to "plea the case of ignorance" about its author.

      This shows that he had good reason to write under a pseudonym, and even though he might have enjoyed that secrecy and mystery, he would have been very concerned about the reception of this political satire.

      He was a man of the church and was not supposed to object to and defy the government in this way. He knew that some of his friends had been made to suffer for their writings and publishing, both in England and his native Ireland. In spite of this, he complained about omissions in the original publishing of Gulliver's Travels by writing the "pre-story" letter A letter from Capt. Gulliver, to his Cousin Sympson. This clearly shows the conditions at the time that Gulliver's Travels was written and published Swift's style of writing a satire is of asstim personality that differs slightly from his own. He escapes his role as a man of the church and it gives him the opportunity to write more freely what he wants to stress to the public. He uses his main character and narrator, Gulliver in this instance as a puppet for him to manipulate and express the points he wants to make, even though one aspect of his irony is indirection. One feels more in touch with his main character as such because of how convincing and ingrained he is in the story. The value of using his character this way is not just to make Swift hide his real self, but rather to reveal better and without prejudice, his opinions. The disguise of character enables him to exaggerate, or put his emphasis on his own opinions with more ease and this therefore suits his intentions perfectly.

      The thought that is expressed within Gulliver from the writing is a conscious one of the struggles of the "nature of experience". Swift's writing is of much intellectual thought towards the nature of man, but it does not produce any simple and concrete answers to the problems he addresses. Swift writes in such a manner that the reader becomes aware of an intertwining joyfulness and severity where it is often hard to recognise the difference between the opinions of the narrator and Swift himself.

      The narration is very self-conscious and gives the reader a feeling of closeness with the author. The narrator's existence is strongly felt by his speech directly towards the reader from which the real author makes his strong presence known from behind the fictional narrator Swift's method of drawing in the reader is not to get his sympathy or friendship, but to alienate and cause a feeling of uneasiness which makes his writing different from most other parody writers.

      This aggressiveness is a constant in Swift's satires so the tone of the stories is always felt and it makes them Swiftian so to speak. One example of this is how long the accounts are of bodily functions and the discharge of excrement in Gulliver's Travels, for Swift has been accused of filthiness in his writing which did not seemproper for a priest. Some say it was to stir up feelings in the reader, to promote cleanliness, or simply to mock the enlisting of details of travel writers. Gulliver's Travels is more than a parody of travel writing and goes beyond that to satirise human pride and the politics of man, and that's where the main focus of the book lies. "True Satire", Mr Middleton Murry has said, "implies the condemnation of Society by reference to an ldeal" However, Swift does not use this kind of satire in Gulliver's Travels. He uses what seems to be a flawed society to a same extent as ours, but an exaggerated version of it to show the reader what is so horribly wrong with our society. Swift's method of satire in the story is to take familiar conditions and put them forth as strange to the reader (or Gulliver in this context) as if he was seeing it for the first time. By making the reader see these familiar conditions, he jumps right in with his judgement only to see the likeness to his own system. Swift uses the satiric device of size and the difference there of, as his basis for the first two books. This proved to be very successful in the eighteenth century at the time of the telescope and microscope.

      Everything can be seen with more detachment, and be looked at in a closer more interesting range if it is magnified or shrunk. This "Relative size" concept, which Swift played with, is really appropriate at the time where man is discovering all those tiny things around him. Man was no longer sure of his place in the world or as the centre of the universe and Swift plays masterfully with this insecurity of man, representing it in the size difference of Gulliver and his captors and the subtle Comparison of humans and insects. Swift went even further in the second book where the King, after he had heard Gulliver's account of his people, remarks that most of them sound like horrible harmful vermin.

      The difference in size also makes it easier to emphasize man's mental and intellectual qualities and to contrast those between people to see that they are dependent on their relative size and situation. Gulliver reports that the Lilliputians have adapted to their situation, being "neat, efficient... in their narrow, insect-like way", and their mind being "precise, but petty and limited, just as their vision is".

      These first two books are much more smooth and and fluent than the two that follow. The books start as an ordinary traveller's tale but the reader is then arawn through a fictional sub-textual political allegory and a utopian satire with layers of meanings. Gulliver begins the story as a gullible and naive traveller who has his idealist ground torn from underneath him in his journeys to those fictional worlds that are satirically made to reflect our actual world. Gulliver is the embodiment of the ordinary and average, easily-identifiable Englishman but Swift created him with all the right characteristics he needed to stress his points. They all serve the purpose of satire and are at one point or another, focal points in Swifts descriptions. His Relative Size in the journeys change his outlook, they reinforce his belief in European superiority in the land of the small people while in the land of the giants, he feels limited and is intimidated. Still, he himself stays the same size throughout the journeys although the world around him changes.

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