** spoiler alert **
I immensely enjoyed this book, which reminded me (in a good way) of Robinson Crusoe
and Around the World in Eighty Days
I feel like this is one of those iconic books that people know even if they have not actually read it. The famous scene in which the Lilliputians had tied him down to beach was there quite early on.
Swift's humor and wit reminded me of Mark Twain
. Both of them poke fun at the silliness of human nature. Each of Gulliver's four voyages seemed to suggest something different about people. The journey to Lilliput showed, more than anything, that politics are often foolish. The prince of Lilliput fancied himself as all-powerful even though he was only six inches tall. There was also the issue between the two political parties that differed in how they crack their eggs. As much as I wanted to laugh at the Big-Endians and their rival party, I see much of this foolishness in our politics.
The second voyage to Brobdingnag was also amusing. Now Gulliver was like a Lilliputian in comparison to these 60-foot-tall people. I saw some messages about pride and humility.
The Floating Island people were also interesting. In their obsession with theoretical math and music, they do not worry about the practical side of life. As their universities do many useless experiments, their houses are poorly built and the food production is extremely inefficient. The one lord that Gulliver stayed with was efficient, but the government made him change the way that he ran things and then blamed him when things were not really working anymore.
The final journey was perhaps the strangest. The horses are the dominant, reasoning beasts while the people, called Yahoos, are savage creatures. The implications of this are quite interesting.
Overall, I think that this book was very intriquing, and its ideas will be bouncing around in my head for quite a while.