Satiric Art in Gulliver’s Travels


东方教育 2017年11期


ABSTRACT:Gulliver's Travels was a unique satiric novel, which adopted the current popular writing style: blog, especially the voyage adventure novels. The story mainly tells us the protagonist's many strange experiences during this voyage. The character of Gulliver's Travels, as a masterpiece in the world, lies in showing the art of satire to the fullest. The social meaning of it largely depends on the reality and credibility and that the connection between the act satirized and social reality is true or not. The fascination of satire novel is successfully to satirize the connected imagine with reality which makes people feel credible.

Key words: Swift; Gulliver's Travels; satire;

1. Introduction

Swift's greatest satire, is Gulliver's Travels, which was the peak of the art of satire in the 18th century, is considered one of the most important works in the history of the world literature. Gulliver's Travels, the great work was created under the background of the struggle between Whig and Tory, to some extend, which had an effect on the contents of this work. Jonathan Swift is the author of the book whose own experience also influenced the creation of Gulliver's Travels.

It is an allegorical novel; adopting such satirical ways like satire the stylistic features of a fiction can reflect the author's circumstances better. It can reflect the cultural tradition of the author, the author's attitude towards his writings, what the author thinks of his writing and what he intends his readers to think about and reflect on his writings. The historical period in which swift lived is known to be an age in great confusion and transition.

2. The Satire in Gulliver's Travels

Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. Although satire is usually meant to be funny, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit as a weapon.

Swift intended Gulliver's Travels as a polemical act against the government and a satire on contemporary European civilization and perennial follies and vices of humanity. Gulliver was a general satire role on institutional corruption with topical polemical resonance at the time of its publication.

Swift used the explanation to the country name of Laputa where it originated and derived, to satirize English linguistic, abusing derivation. From the above words, Laputa was mainly derived from lap and untuh, while there was no reasonable basis to prove the etymon, which was from the baseless assertion. This conveyed Swift's despises to the abusing of derivation. It was said that "put" had no relation with the "put" of Lilliput. In the text, the word, Laputa was reluctant to be related with some meaning,because Gulliver didnt find any evidence to prove. Actually, that phenomenon was very common in the 18th century. Swift paid much attention to the normativeness of language and ever wrote a letter to point out the mistakes and wrong places of word-building. Swift was eager to correct this situation, but it was not accepted. Therefore, Swift made use of the example of Laputa to satirize English linguistic.

3. Conclusion

This novel focuses on reflecting a variety of contradictions in English society in the 18th, which extremely criticizing and satirizing the corruption and repulsiveness of English monarch vividly and incisively accusing of the darkness and guilty, firmly spurring on the blooding policy that English governor carried out. The social of satirical fiction to a large extend depends on its authenticity, and weather the action and thing of target lying the incredible connection with the social life or not. From this view, Gulliver's Travels can be called an excellent satirical novel.


[1]George Saintbury:The English Novel,AMS Press,N.Y,1979.

[2]Robert C. Elliott, satire, in Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004


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