Gulliver's Travels


The Evolution of Gulliver

In Jonathan Swift?s Gulliver?s Travels, the main character,
Gulliver, embarks on numerous journeys bringing him to strange
lands and affecting his views of the world around him. His
response to each voyage differ as do his ideas and reactions to
the environment in which he is residing. Gulliver begins his
expeditions with a very social and open behavior while possessing
a general acceptance of any newly encountered beings. But by the
end of the fourth voyage, Gulliver leans toward a more
anti-social attitude which was derived from the hatred and
disgust he has for human beings, the "Yahoos."
As for the first voyage to Lilliput, Gulliver acts very
sociable with all of the different creatures he comes in contact
with. Once he arrives on the unknown island, he begins to
explore the land around him. After being brought into the city,
Gulliver remains subservient towards the Lilliputians by staying
chained up near his hut without acting out and attempting to
break free which would have most likely been a successful
attempt. This subservience created enough trust of the
"Man-Mountain" by the Lilliputian king that it was declared that
his liberty hath been granted when he could have easily crushed
and killed these little people. Gulliver is also very eager to
be able to interact with the creatures and this is evident when
in a few weeks he "made a great progress in learning their
language" (68). He is also quite helpful and there are two
definitive cases of Gulliver displaying this helpfulness in the
country of Lilliput. The first occurs when he obeys the orders
of the king to destroy his opposition?s navy and ends up
stringing up the navy of Blefuscu rendering them helpless. Then
he saves the fiery palace by relieving himself onto it,
extinguishing the flames. As you can see throughout the first
voyage, Gulliver was very sociable and friendly to those he came
in contact with.
An anti-social behavior is then exhibited near the end of
the last voyage, after he leaves the country of the Houyhnhnms,
because of his new found disgust and hatred for the rest of the
world especially the "Yahoos." This is evident almost
immediately when Gulliver first encounters natives on the new
island. Unlike previous encounters with new people, he "made
what haste [he] could to the shore" to quickly retreat from an
impromptu meeting (333). His sole purpose after leaving the
Houyhnhnm land was "to discover some small island uninhabited,
yet sufficient by [his] labour to furnish [himself] with the
necessaries of life, which [he] would have thought a greater
happiness than to be first Minister in the politest Court of
Europe; so horrible was the idea [he] conceived of returning to
live in the society and under the government of Yahoos. For in
such a solitude as [he] desired, [he] could at least enjoy [his]
own thoughts" and end up living the life of a hermit so
interaction with the "Yahoos" wouldn?t occur (332). His change
continues when he acts rude and dishonoring after being rescued
by the Portuguese sailors. He doesn?t cooperate with the
answering of the captain?s questions and then he tries to sneak
off the ship to get away from civilization because he would much
rather be alone than be amongst the uncivilized "Yahoos" in a
world with the complexities and weaknesses of human society.
Gulliver goes from being an amiable human being to one who
is completely anti-social. After looking at his characteristics
and examples there of, one should notice a significant change.
He attempts to shut himself off from the rest of the world after
being asked to leave the Houyhnhnms? country.
Gulliver is also so accepting of all that he is confronted
with during the beginning of his voyages. From his first
encounter with the little people of Lilliput, Gulliver remains
extremely calm and collected upon realizing he was tied down and
he only ends up loosening his head restraints enough to move it
to the side a few inches, not making extreme movements which
would terrify the Lilliputians. He also accepts the Lilliputians
rules and regulations and follows them as if it was a necessity
or a life/death situation. It?s not like he couldn?t destroy
them if need be. Even during his stay in the land of the
Houyhnhnms, Gulliver did as his master asked by describing his
journeys, his native country and countrymen.
An extreme disgust and hatred for humans is created upon
leaving the land of the Houyhnhnms because it is there he
realizes the evil possessed in his own people through the Yahoos
in the country. He is appalled by the idea of going to live among
the "Yahoos," and he has so fully adopted the belief system of
the Houyhnhnms that he cannot help but see his