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

Sunday, January 22, 2006


In Swift's Gullivers Travels the Houyhnhnms exhibit a less than utpoic society. After being cast away on a desolate island Gulliver encounters two unique inhabitant societies. The first being the Yahoos, a descendant of a marooned human couple. The Yahoos are described as being lazy,filthy,lustful,greedy and aggressive. They are degenterate human beings. Some believe the Yahoos are a reflection of Swift's own hatred of people and society.

The second species Gulliver encountered were the Houyhnhnms, a horse like creature. According to The Bedford Anthology of World Literature, the Houyhnhnms cannot be read as simple allegorical figures for good of human reason. Their society should not be interpreted as perfect. Their society included discrimination and enslavement of the Yahoos, a breed that they considered to be less than they were and not worthy of anything more.

Gulliver was impressed with the Houyhnhnms way of life. After being treated so poorly be the human race he easily converted to their ways . The Houyhnhnms which appeared to be ordinary horses Gulliver at first considered to be some form of magicians. He observed their behavior to be rational,acute,and judicious, although they appeared to be ordinary livestock. The Houyhnhnms took Gulliver in and cared for him as though he was a house pet. They offered him food and shelter in a stable that he shared with the Yahoos.

Gulliver and his master quickly developed a relationship. The master horse and Gulliver learned to communicate to each other as Gulliver learned the language of the Houyhnhnms . The word Houyhnhnm itself in their language meant horse and stood for the perfection of nature, which in itself displayed their own arrogance. Gulliver thought the Houyhnhnm society to be perfect and adapted very well. The horses appeared to be kind and gracious. Although they had no compassion or understanding for the Yahoo community that they thought so poorly upon. Many of the Houyhnhnms even Gulliver's master house thought him to be a advanced Yahoo. Gulliver soon developed the same disregard for the Yahoo and displayed the same prejudice as the Houyhnhnms . They enslaved the Yahoos using them for labor as thought they were cattle. They even considered time and time again at district Houyhnhnm meeting to exterminate the Yahoo breed from the world. This way of thinking and disregard for life expressed their less than utopic way of life. The Houyhnhnms were incapable of showing compassion for those less than their own standards.

The Houyhnhnms also had many other down falls . As Gulliver and his master communicated with each other and Gulliver tried to fill his master's curiosity of where he had come from. His master thought him to be saying the thing that was not when he described his homeland and his voyage to this strange land. The master could not comprehend what a lie was and why one would do so. He said the reason for language was communication and it would be no good if individuals could not communicate what was correct and made up lies. Even though his master thought him to be saying the thing that was not with his stories about England he conveved this stories to the other Houyhnhnms to protect Gulliver out of his own greed or need to understand the Yahoo.

The Houyhnhnms has many downfalls. They thought their way of life to be the best and accepted no other. They were not capable of making their own opinions or accepting difference. Although this land of tranquility seemed to be great I believe that one would soon become bored and go crazy without their opinions or ideas about life. The Houyhnhnms were clearly closed minded robots captives of their own society.

Brandi Venable-Crawford


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home