Explication Essay on Gulliver's Travels

Essay by irishladybirdA+, March 2004

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"My wife and family received me with great surprise and joy, because they concluded me certainly dead; but I must freely confess the sight of them filled me only with hatred, disgust, and contempt, and the more by reflecting on the near alliance I had to them. For, although since my unfortunate exile from the Houyhnhnm country, I had compelled myself to tolerate the sight of Yahoos, and to converse with Don Pedro de Mendez, yet my memory and imaginations were perpetually filled with the virtues and ideas of those exalted Houyhnhnms. And when I began to consider, that by copulating with one of the Yahoo species, I had became a parent of more, it struck me with the utmost shame, confusion, and horror."(336)

The Houyhnhnms are grave, rational, and virtuous; everything humans think that they are and when they were reading the book they most likely thought that the Houyhnhnms resembled them and that Gulliver was right to think that.

Then with a twist of plot Swift ends up comparing humans to Yahoos because of human faults. The Yahoos are uneasily tolerated and used for menial labor; they are vicious and physically disgusting. Although Gulliver pretends at first not to recognize them, he is forced at last to admit the Yahoos are human beings. He finds happiness with the Utopian Houyhnhnms, but he is only an advanced Yahoo to them. Close examination of this particular passage from Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift shows that Swift's opinion is that humans are no better than the filthy creature called a Yahoo.

Out of all the places Gulliver visited, he only admired the Houyhnhnms. The Lilliputians were too violent and the Brobdignagians were too peaceful and fair. This passage shows that whenever Gulliver got back from his...