LitLink

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

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Utopian Society?

In this story there are many suggestions that the Houyhnhnm society is less than utopic. Utopia means a society that would be perfect. When the Houyhnhnms are first described, it is stated that they know no evil. This may simply mean that the things they do and what they practice is not evil to them. The Houyhnhnms don't associate with the person they breed with after they have produced one of each sex, unless the production is lost due to some casualty. At that time they meet again to produce. That may suggest sex with a person other than your spouse, which is fornication, or premarital sex. They would also meet again to produce when one's wife was past bearing age, or could not produce anymore, this would constitute as adultery. When the Houyhnhnms marry they choose their mate by what color they were, so they would not create a disagreeable mixture of breed when they engaged in mating. This is a suggestion that the Houyhnhnms practiced discrimination or a form of racism amongst themselves. They don't think about courtship, love, presents, jointures, or settlements. The Houyhnhnms are a society that believes in arranged marriages, not marriages based on love or devotion. This is what they have learned from other Houyhnhnms. The yahoos which are a type of animal that inhabit the area where the Houyhnhnms live are mistreated by the Houyhnhnms. The Houyhnhnms keep the yahoos enslaved in kennels and try to tame them. They also entertain the idea that the yahoos are evil and they should be exterminated from the face of the earth. They even mention the word "hate" , that is not a word that is heard of in a utopian society. In a utopian society even the animals are treated fairly. A utopian society has love and happiness. The fact that the Houyhnhnms don't care about love or any type of emotions suggest that they are not perfect therefore they are not utopian. When people in their family die, they don't feel anything, happiness or sadness. A utopian society is full of emotion and feeling. The Houyhnhnm society is purely based on things they have learned or cultivated themselves. The goodness they portray is learned as well. The perfect world they proclaimed to live in was only perfect because they had nothing to compare their way of life to. How can the Houyhnhnms be a utopic society if they don't love their mates and they hate the yahoos? Maybe the Houyhnhnms having no religious background, or interest in religion, they had to create their own guidelines on life and morals. The Houyhnhnms were a strange people divided between some good and some bad. The text mention that they had servants, which they only allowed to have a little amount of time to themselves or to relax. This does not sound like a utopian society, because in a utopia everyone would be free. Everyone would have the same rights and privileges. The servants of the Houyhnhnms didn't get enough time to eat because they were always working. In my opinion a utopian society would not have servants, and if they did the servants would be treated with love and kindness just like everyone else in the community. The Houyhnhnms even saw death of their children an event governed by rules. They would not mourn the death of their children, they would just breed another child. If one family had two males and another family had two females, they would exchange one of each sex, so both families would have a boy and and girl. This once again shows that they were not governed by love or emotions. If they were then they could not give their children away to another family without missing them terribly. To come to conclusion, the Houyhnhnms were not the definition of a perfect society, which is the definition of a utopian society. They were far from that idea.

1 Comments:

Blogger jessica hite said...

mE AND YOU HAVE THE SAME TAKE ON THIS QUESTION. YOU CARRIED ALL YOUR THOUGHTS WITH A RESPONSE FROM THE STORY TO BACK IT UP. WELL DUE THE CREDIT FOR 500 WORDS. YOU GOT AN EVEN DEEPER SENSE FROM GULLIVER ON HIS TAKE OF THE HYNOUYMNYMS THAN I DID. THERE WERE THINGS I DID NOT THINK ABOUT LIKE THE RACE OR JUSTICE PART.IT IS SO INTERESTING HOW PEOPLE TAKE IN PERSPECTIVE ON ANOTHERS WORK. WE ALL SEE SOMETHING SIMILAR BUT STILL DIFFERENT.

5:54 AM  

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