LitLink

This is a course blog for the members of EH236 at the University of South Alabama, Spring 2006.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Swift's conduit

In a delirious sailor, Swift finds a conduit through which to channel his frustrations. This technique enables our author to speak his mind freely to the masses (in a sense) without fear of reprisal. In Swifts time the possibility of repercussions (though not quite as drastic as in earlier times) for radical thinking were still a concern for many artist, especially writers. So in an apparent attempt to vent his frustrations; Swift also submits a query to the rationality of society.

I find Gullivers opinion of Yahoos as misanthropic. It is possible to express negative opinions of society or people in a way that is not misanthropic simply by submitting references to those incorruptible aspects of society which keep us all satiated enough to continue to participate in this bizarre sideshow we call society, and those things are kindness, pure love, the arts, and inherit good we are almost all capable of. In Gulliver's conversations with the Houyhnhnm he calls his master he doesn't make even the most discrete attempt to mention any of these great aspects of our society. He offers no saving grace and in this I find the text to be misanthropic. The initial shock of seeing the Yahoos unnerves Gulliver and troubles him quite deeply. It reminds me of a person seeing themselves as others may view them, as opposed to how one may view themselves. In many cases these views seem to be in conflict and can present such a harsh realization as Gulliver seemed to experience. After which he seemed to fall into a state of denial by distancing himself from the Yahoos as best he could. This is something he did the entire time he was in the company of the Houyhnhnms. The realizations seem to have occurred more as he came to understand the Houyhnhnm way of life in which logic prevailed and corruption, greed, lust and other vices which fowl human society where non-existent. As this occurred Gulliver distanced himself from all Yahoos even more as he attempted to spend the remainder of his days with the Houyhnhnms. When he was informed this could not be; he fell into a great sadness. So he then builds a boat from the skins of Yahoos (humans). This single action here I believe could be viewed just a little misanthropic (if not sick, depraved, and just straight up creepy). This action shows how little regard he holds for the Yahoos; he views them as a means to an end. Gulliver then sets out to sea and comes upon an island. When he is finally discovered by a Portuguese ship. The captain offers him safe passage home an offer which Gulliver tries in vain to decline. On the ship he distances himself from the crew as well as the kind captain. When he finally arrives home his contempt and hatred o f Yahoos runs so deep it even causes him to despise his own family. Gulliver then explains that he finds the smell of the Yahoos to be so offensive that when he is in their company he must fill his nostrils with things such as tobacco and rue in an attempt to avoid their scent. Our character then purchases two stallions which he keeps for the purpose of conversation and company. I must then conclude by stating that I do find Swifts work to be misanthropic though not offensive only terribly pessimistic. I find an opinion offered in the story by Swift which I most certainly agree with and that is that through all our cheating and vice and other actions as well as thoughts designed in some perverse manner to satisfy some twisted thirst such as greed etc.. We only complicate our lives and hinder our progress as a society.
Steven R.

1 Comments:

Blogger Julie said...

You did a good job at proving your opinion of Swift's work. I especially like the last line, " through all our cheating and vice and other actions as well as thoughts designed in some perverse manner to satisfy some twisted thirst such as greed etc.. We only complicate our lives and hinder our progress as a society." This is a good close that kind of sums it all up.

Good job. You used just enough lines from the text and just enough references to it.

10:04 AM  

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