Themes and Genre: Themes and Genre A mix of Utopian fiction and the novel Fantastic tale of travels and adventures told in a realistic way (realism and Robinson Crusoe) It shows Utopian worlds that expose, by contrast, the faults of Western societies It is a satire of man’s vanities and irrationality It is a critique of society and its absurdities describing imaginary worlds where the defects of the real world are exaggerated
Plot and interpretations: Plot and interpretations It is a parody of a travel story of Lemuel Gulliver, a ship ’s surgeon , who makes voyages in several regions of the world. Book I: Lilliput- > Land of tiny people, satire of the English court and political life. Book II: reversal of the point of view , the land of Giants , satire of England and Western societies . Book III: the flying island of Laputa , satire of abstract thinking and the Royal society. Book IV: the land of intelligent horses and human-like beasts ( Yahoos ), Gulliver divided between the two extremes of human potential ( rationality-bestiality ), pessimism and disgust for humankind .
Gulliver, the narrator: Gulliver, the narrator Gulliver is a practical, middle-class man. He survives his many adventures thanks to his common sense and reason. He is the spokeperson for British civilisation and western society. He tells his stories in the first person in a simple style (identification of the reader)
Imaginary worlds: Imaginary worlds From the Greek ou ( not ) topos ( place ): a place that doesn ’t exist . It is an ideal world in contrast to the ‘ real ’ world. Famous utopias : Utopia (1516) by Thomas More, an ideal society of the Renaissance inspired by Plato’s ‘ Republic ’. Comunistical ideals ( money and private property forbidden , free education , pensions but against individual freedom ) Negative world Pessimistic view of the 20° century about the destructive power of technology of the I and II World Wars Future society with the negative results of science and totalitarian societies ( Stalinism , Fascism ) Famous dystopias : 1984 by George Orwell, Blade Runner (movie), Matrix (movie) Utopia Dystopia
A satire of the Royal Society.: A satire of the Royal Society. Mad Scientists Physical description: thin, dirty, long beard. No practical behaviour. Humour produced by contrast between the serious, rational language of the character and the absurdity of ideas. Textual analysis: “Mad Scientists” A satire of the abstract thinking and the use of rationality without common sense. Useless experiments: 1-12 Extract sun-beam out of cucumbers to warm the air 14-25 to reduce excrements to its original food 26-28 to heat ice 29-32 to build houses from the roof 33-38 a blind mix colours for painters 39-52 using spidewebs for clothes
QUESTIONS: QUESTIONS Why is Gulliver’s travels called a mix of Utopian fiction and the novel? Each journey has a different interpretation. Can you give a short description for each? What is the narrative point of view? What does it reveal about the protagonist? What is the difference between Utopia and Dystopia? Why are the mad scientists of Laputa considered a satire of the Royal Society?