Saturday, February 6, 2010

Swift's Continuing Portrayal of Women

After reading the first two books of "Gulliver's Travels," I noticed a consistency in Swift's portrayal of women - especially in the second book. When Gulliver is in the land of the giants, he describes the odor and imperfections of the women's bodies, even going so far as to describe them in the most natural form - completely naked. This description of the women's bodies were strikingly similar to Swift's imagery in his poem of the "Lady's Dressing Room." In both works, Swift's descriptions of women are in direct contrast to the way in which they were viewed (or expected to look) in society. Therefore, we can safely assume that Swift's intentions through his female descriptions are the same in both works.
We know that Swift was a satirist - his works criticizes certain aspects in society with which he found fault. In "Gulliver's Travels," we discussed that Swift's criticism was on British society and the corruption of the British government. The idea of "society" encompasses a many aspects, however, Swift reoccuringly criticizes the way in which women were viewed in society. I argue that even though Swift uses gross language to describe the large women's bodies, he is not criticizes their own appearance, rather he is exploiting the materialistic way in which they were viewed in society.

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