Book #61: Gulliver’s Travels

You know those people who seem to always have the worst luck? The ones who, when there’s a freak accident or crazy random occurrence, it always happens to them?

One of my roommates here in Prague seemed to be like that a little. One time he lost his luggage and told me how it took him something like seven months to get it back and even then, he was only successful because he spoke French. I think his luggage had somehow wound up in Belgium when he was flying from France back to the States or something.

He also had complications setting up his Czech bank account, his passport number was written down wrong on our lease, and there was an issue with his bank card too. Our other roommate and I have never had problems. He seems to be one of those people that EVERYTHING happens to.

I think that Mr. Swift’s Gulliver is also one of those people. After all, he goes on how many journeys and ALWAYS winds up being the one washed ashore, kidnapped, left behind, what have you. Lucky for us, though, Gulliver is able to take his experiences to heart and grow from them. He comes back from each adventure more understanding of the human condition and more aware of England’s social problems.

It’s no secret that I love Jonathan Swift’s satire. I think that satire is an excellent vehicle for discussing real problems, and in Gulliver’s Travels, Swift does this in an interesting way. By describing the benefits and flaws of every strange culture Gulliver winds up in, it is much easier for him to highlight the faults and strengths of English society.

Gulliver is an astute observer and a great thinker. Not only that, but I think you could use Gulliver’s Travels to make a very good case for why traveling is important. After all, it’s only through visiting places very different from where you’re from that you get a clear picture of your home culture and life.

One thing though – the third or fourth time he got stranded somewhere for months, you’d think Gulliver would learn to just stay home. Maybe that travel itch is just too strong, though.

Rating: ***
Up Next: The Last Temptation of Christ

Endnote: Sorry, sorry, sorry. I’ve still been reading, I just really haven’t felt like blogging. There are also some big changes in my life happening (namely, I’m moving back to America and starting a new job in a few weeks), so I’m busy enjoying my last bit of time in Prague and also taking this time to travel more.  I’ll try to get caught up during travel time.




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