Friday, March 6, 2015

Literary Terms in Gulliver's Travels

Is the primary interest of the story in Plot, Character, Theme, or some other element?*

The primary source of interest in Gulliver’s Travels does not seem to be Gulliver, the main character, as he is not an extraordinarily interesting person. If he was the sum interest of the story, I think that we would soon grown tired of his inevitable actions.

The main interest does not seem to be the plot either. The plot is rather predictable and it is not the element of Gulliver’s Travels that draws the reader in.

By process of elimination, this leaves theme. The satirical theme of comparing discovered, strange societies is what catches the reader. The odd ways that Swift uses complete fiction to make correlations to reality is fantastic. The theme of man's utter silliness and utter loss of things so easily grasped is a recurring theme, as well as the limits of human understanding and the inability of different societies to see the other's point of view. The sometimes hilarious, sometimes odd and always quite obscure, yet very familiar theme of the book is, to me, the primary interest of Gulliver’s Travels.

Does Swift make use of hyperbole (or overstatement) in his story? If so, how extensively?*

It seems Gulliver’s Travels is, in it of itself a work of hyperbole. Swift does not seem to use very much specific hyperbole in Gulliver’s retelling of his journeys; Rather, Gulliver speaks in a matter-a-fact way about the hyperbole filled events. The stories are filled with exaggerated hilarious, bad, and good character traits, customs, and opinions, but Swift writes it in a way so that it seems these hyperbolical events are in fact, not hyperbole, but literally happened to Gulliver.

*Questions from PHC Prep's AP English Literature and Composition Course ;)