Houyhnhnms (Not Human’s Example to Follow)

I disagree with the statement “Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels suggests that human kind would be happier if it could think and behave the way the do”. Although Gulliver does seem to enjoy living among the Houyhnhnms he is not entirely happy as he believed he was.

I believe Gulliver believes he is happier with the Houyhnhnms it is because he simply sees the positive in the Houyhnhnms and begins to judge the Yahoos as soon as he sees them.  As he states “Their shape was singular, and deformed, which a little decomposed me” (207). He is beginning to judge them as soon as he sees them which is something many many humans tend to do often without realizing it.

Throughout this page he repeats the word “hair” four times all describing them. The fact that they had hair seemed to bother him which is of course weird because his species(humans) Homo Sapiens of course also have hair and even if he does prefer Houyhnhnms they are horses after all so they are also covered in hair and have long tails which are made of hair after all. He also explains that the Houyhnhnms were “orderly and rational, so acute and judicious” (209) this statement ends up being extremely ironic because at the end of his stay he is essentially kicked out for no reason other than other’s people’s opinion about him, he never harmed anybody. Still, even when they kicked him out he still seemed to want to go back to them which is unreasonable of him.  When introducing himself to the Houyhnhnms he describes himself as a “poor distressed Englishman” (210). I find this statement extremely misleading because what should have been include in this chapter is him telling them that he made the choice to travel even though he previously had unpleasant experiences. He could have simply stayed home with his wife and kids but once he met the Houyhnhnms he saw the flaws humans had and refused to live among them but even though he did not desire to live with his family he could have used better words that didn’t degrade them considering he was part of human culture himself.

Essentially Gulliver is simply disgusted with the nature and greediness of humans. He is also guilty of that because he did not think his life was well enough even with his wife and kids, he was searching for more hence the travels he insisted in taking part in. I believe that the main theme here is moving on and by that I don’t mean overcoming and obstacle but the example of how fast human beings (or other beings) move on. Although Gulliver seemed to settle in all the places he stumbled upon some exploited him for tricks other welcomed him, they all seemed to became bored of him after having him for some time. I do not think it would be ideal for humans to live like Houyhnhnms because it did not end well for Gulliver who was kicked out by them. They also live life very simply which is something Gulliver would not have enjoyed that given that he decided to leave his wife and children to look for more adventures. Although Gulliver might have thought the Houyhnhnms lived an ideal lifestyle he was ignorant to the harm that would be bestowed upon him. He was in deniel because they treated him better than others did. He should have strived to be the best human he could be, not the best Houyhnhnms he could be (which he was not).


-Luz Zepeda







One thought on “Houyhnhnms (Not Human’s Example to Follow)

  1. The main idea is , “I believe Gulliver believes he is happier with the Houyhnhnms it is because he simply sees the positive in the Houyhnhnms and begins to judge the Yahoos as soon as he sees them.” You make a very strong argument. However, you only mention the Yahoos twice and I feel that adding more information about them would strengthen your claim.

    Extra Credit 12/25/4


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