Friday, April 3, 2009

Gulliver's Travels

Author: Jonathan Swift (it's short)

Publisher: Idk?

Favorite Character: Lord Minodi- Even though I only got a glimpse of him from the story, I like what he stands for as a person going against the current.

Summary: Lemuel Gulliver writes an account of his life traveling to four different islands. Lilliput, Brobdingnag, Laputa and the Houyhnhnms are the awe-inspiring lands with interesting inhabitants. He learns a lesson on tolerance and improving hypocritical behavior as he opens his eyes to the bold lies in humankind.

Review: Okay, I know that the summary was a little boring, but I can't find the actual one and maybe it's 'cause I'm being a little biased. I think this book has been reprinted by different people a bunch of times. It was the one I had to read for English class and I gave a speech on it on Wednesday.

I had since January to read it, but I didn't finish it until Tuesday. Why? It was boring. I believe it was published in the late 18th century so that might be a big reason for its lack of interest. The author was VERY descriptive when it came to mapping out the area for the reader, but I didn't want to know how many miles west Gulliver went before the wind pushed him five miles north. There was a huge lack of action. The worst part was that there was absolutely NO DIALOGUE! I know that the narrator is writing his story, but he could have included quotes or something.

The book was in first person which allowed Gulliver to be a well developed character. The settings also helped since you saw Gulliver at home, in the presence of royalty and different races or species. I do think, though, that all the minor characters were extremely superficial. I didn't get to know any of them because Gulliver only pointed them out as objects to enhance the places he visited instead of people with their own thoughts or actions.

What made the story bearable was the random sarcasm making me smile or even laugh! Even if I didn't know any of the other characters, I had a pretty good understanding of Gulliver. The details were vivid enough that I could picture each land and it's culture was explained in order for me to understand their actions.

Mr. Swift had an amazing imagination and he probably drew from the stories he heard from sailors. The author made sure to explain the look and feel of the people Gulliver encountered even though he could have gone more in depth. He made sure to tell us about the cultures of each island and made comparisons to England which was Gulliver's homeland. Most of that, though, was explained like an essay instead of woven into the story. He didn't write this story with the only purpose to entertain. He wrote it because he wanted to teach mankind an important lesson. I suppose that it is important to keep these kinds of books around beacause they do speak the truth. Anyway, I think you should just go read the picture-book version unless your teacher tells you to read this.

Rating: 2/5

You Might Also Like:
1. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (it's actually not so bad)
2. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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