We’ve all learned at school about the 18th century and the new genre in the literature that became very popular named the imaginary journey. The popularity of this genre is because of the didactic purposes: in the stories countries were made-up with all different types of governance so the writer could make clear which regimes were good or not. It was the Age of Enlightenment, where the main purpose was to reform society and advance knowledge. One of the most famous books which were written in that time was Gulliver’s travels by Jonathan Swift who gives the reader a taste of how this time was and how he thought about politics.
As boring as my introduction is boring Swift’s book. In his book the main character travels a lot and makes a lot of adventures in unknown countries which are all special in their way. Sadly this book is more about politics than about adventures. And what makes it only more boring is the structure of this adventures, which are all similar in the order of: a shipwreck, exploring alone an island, meet strangers, become their friends and learn their language and finally discuss politics.
Gulliver is a doctor and can’t find work on the mainland so he decides to become a ship’s doctor. Unfortunately sometimes something’s go wrong on a ship, what brought Gulliver too his adventures. The book is built by four stories and is written in a form of a diary.
On his first journey Gulliver gets to know the Lilliputians, who are six inches tall and Gulliver has to adapt as a giant on this island. When Gulliver finally can get back home after being a slave, a god and a traitor on the island of Lilliput he prepares himself for his next journey. Brobdingnag, will be the next island where Gulliver shall survive and adapt in society. Only thing is that the average person on this island is sixty feet tall, this makes Gulliver ironically a Lilliputian this time. Gulliver masters the language and even makes it to the royal palace, where he is treated like Paris Hilton’s spoilt dog by the Queen and the rest of the royal family. Gulliver makes it back to England and proceeds with his next journey to East-Asia. He visits island from island and in the end he reaches Japan, the far most hostile island the doctor has visited yet. Highlights of this journey are that he meets people, who live on an island that floats in the air and are entirely focused on music and mathematics. His last expedition he visits Houyhnhnm, the most interesting island. The ruling species are not the humans but animals that look like our horses; the human is a primitive and barbaric species and are called Yahoos. Gulliver experiences Houyhnhnm as his utopia where there is no such thing as poverty, suppression and exploitation.
This book fits perfect into the genre imaginary journey, where clearly Swift his purpose was to fantasize about different ways of governing and how this type of governance should result on the people. The current problems in England are often highlighted in the book and his opinion how politics are run in the European states is very clear. Swift thinks that we are by far the most developed but our system of governance is way inferior. Corruption, greed and ignorance are the points where Swift sets his focus on.
Too often I notice that I am distracted of reading because of the incapability of Swift to write fluently. Too long phrases and too much bullshit torment my willingness of reading this book. The structure of the adventures are too similar and the continuous luck of Gulliver of surviving every single shipwreck and other dangerous situations makes everything worse. And what makes the book more boring is the character of Gulliver, an extreme polite person, always focused on politics and never doing something what makes the reader interested. I wished I’ve never wasted so much time on reading this book.