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Gulliver's Travels

Gulliver's Travels


by Jonathan Swift

Analysis: Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper.

Plot Type : Voyage and Return

A Fall Into Another World

Gulliver washes ashore on the coast of Lilliput, where he is immediately taken captive by a bunch of tiny people.

Initial Fascination

Gulliver goes into great detail about the politics, culture, society, language, and customs of the Lilliputian people – he's obviously interested in their lives, without perhaps fully realizing that at least some of his fascination arises from their similarity to his own.

Frustration Stage

Gulliver becomes shipwrecked yet again, and this time, it's not nearly so good for his self-esteem: he washes ashore in Brobdingnag, where he is the short one, and no one takes him seriously. We realize that neither Gulliver nor England look all that great when viewed from a bigger perspective.

Nightmare Stage

Gulliver meets the Yahoos and is entirely repulsed. Slowly, he comes to realize that he, too, is a Yahoo: he may have better hair and softer skin, but they're all the same beasts underneath. He feels so disgusted that he never wants to leave the service of the Master Horse.

Thrilling Escape and Return

Well, "thrilling escape and return" is how this is supposed to go, according to Christopher Booker. But in Gulliver's Travels, the thrilling escape is more like "miserable exile," and the return is more like "grudgingly escorted back." Gulliver has completely lost his faith in humanity. His only refuge, now that he has returned to England against his will, is to sit in his garden and avoid the company of his own family.

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