Thursday, February 4, 2010

Taking to Sea--Escape or Discovery? Or Both?

Since this post has come after class, I'm just going to sum up a few points that I found interesting in Parts 1 & 2. First of all, if you haven't already noticed, whenever I read literature, I have a habit of comparing it to something else. I like to connect phrases from 2 sources and see how they relate.
For instance, at the beginning of part 1, Gulliver says that he begins to have an itch to go to sea. Again, at the end of part 1, before he voyage to Brodbingnag, he says "for my insatiable Desire of seeing foreign Countries would suffer me to continue no longer," and he has the urge to leave his family only after spending as much time as he can handle with them (71).
Gulliver's "itch" to go to sea reminds me of Ishmael at the very beginning of Moby Dick.

"Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can."

There is the same insatiable curiosity, the same desire to broaden his worldview. I find it fitting that Gulliver keeps his glasses in Lilliput, as if observing them under a sort of lens, as if looking down through a microscope. In contrast, in Brodbingnag he has to look upward at the giants, as if through a telescope, and his fear makes him narrow minded. I think my favorite quote from both of the parts is what we said was the "motto" for the first 2 parts, that "nothing is great or little otherwise by Comparison" (78). The curiousness of the different angles of perspective intrigues me and makes me wonder if this is a reflection of how humans tend to act in certain dire circumstances. When they feel they have the upper hand, do they act like giants? As Shakespeare said in footnote 78 "O, it is excellent / To have a giant's strength, but it is tyrannous/ To use it like a giant."
Lastly, with all of this reading of Gulliver's Travels I made a connection to my first impression of what this story was about, which, not surprisingly, was from Disney! Maybe somebody else remembers these as well.

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