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Analysis

Literary Devices in Gulliver's Travels

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

A symbol is something that stands for something else. The thing about Gulliver's Travels is everything stands for something else – there's practically nothing in the whole book that isn't a s...

Setting

We're in kind of bind trying to describe the setting of Gulliver's Travels, because the setting itself is part of the satire, which we've already discussed in the "Characters" section, dealing with...

Narrator Point of View

Gulliver is it for this novel: not only does he tell the story, but he's also the only character who doesn't appear completely flat. Gulliver's Travels is a mix of sly insults, dirty words, and big...

Genre

Even we have lost track of how many times we have said the word "satire" in this guide, and we don't want to beat you guys over the heads with this. Just check out "In a Nutshell" for more on Gulli...

Tone

Gulliver is an active narrator: he often talks directly to us, the readers. When he does, he usually wants forgiveness for something or other. Take, for example, Gulliver's opening paragraph after...

Writing Style

We've talked about the ways that Gulliver's Travels parodies the whole genre of the traveler's tale, but the book also includes lots of parodic language at the level of the paragraph. For example,...

What's Up With the Title?

In this day and age, we call this novel Gulliver's Travels, by Jonathan Swift. But back in the day it was called Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts by Lemuel Gulliver,...

What's Up With the Ending?

The last chapter of Gulliver's Travels provides a logical conclusion to the development of Gulliver's character. He goes from ordinary guy to dedicated hater of mankind. In the first part of the no...

Tough-o-Meter

We're going to level with you: Gulliver's Travels is fairly tough. The language is old-fashioned and difficult to follow. The satires are often pretty obscure, and deal with historical situations w...

Plot Analysis

Gulliver's London medical practice fails, so he goes to sea.Our hero, Lemuel Gulliver, really likes being at sea. He likes observing people. So, he doesn't seem too sad about the fact that he has t...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Voyage and Return

Gulliver washes ashore on the coast of Lilliput, where he is immediately taken captive by a bunch of tiny people.Gulliver goes into great detail about the politics, culture, society, language, and...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Gulliver starts out this novel as a fairly average guy, educated in a useful profession. When he becomes shipwrecked on Lilliput, he sees a number of political intrigues that mimic those of his hom...

Trivia

If you think Gulliver's Travels is biting satire, you should really check out Jonathan Swift's 1729 essay, "A Modest Proposal: For Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland From Being a Bur...

Steaminess Rating

Gulliver's Travels is fairly raunchy, in that there are lots of booby jokes. It's also fairly prudish, in the sense that Gulliver spends a lot of time scolding women for being seductive and wanting...

Allusions

Aristotle (2.3.6, 3.8.1)Demosthenes (2.6.6)Cicero (2.6.6)Dionysius Halicarnassensis (2.7.1)Lucius Junius Brutus (3.7.10)Socrates (3.7.10, 4.8.9)Cato the Younger (3.7.10)Sir Thomas More (3.7.10)Home...
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