Utopia and Mr. Swift

So the topic of debate today is does Swift believe that the horse race in Gulliver’s travels is utopian, more or less. I think that based on the discussion we had in class about it it clearly is. The Houyhnhnms clearly are on the same intellectual level as Gulliver but are able to think an act in a way that is reversed from the Yahoos, who do not have much intelligence at all.

Personally I found it very interesting that a horse-like species was used to represent the society that can make decisions rationally and without any emotion added into the mix. I don’t know if the definition of a utopia has to be attainable, but I mean clearly the Yahoos are close to humans so it’s interesting that the Houyhnhnms were chosen to be the model species. Utopias in literature, at least most of the ones I can think of, end up being dystopias in the end. And almost always because of human elements like greed (like in the caes of communism or capitalism or underwater cities free from laws or whatever else). So when Swift uses something that isn’t human perhaps he is arguing *against* utopias existing at all since they are not human anymore.

Thus you might say that Swift was Satirizing the Enlightenment? You know, the Enlightenment with all those Utopian ideals?

Joshua Jolly


One thought on “Utopia and Mr. Swift

  1. The main idea is, “Thus you might say that Swift was Satirizing the Enlightenment” I think that you could maybe use a bit more detail regarding the “utopia” ideology of the Houyhnhnms. If you re-read the book, you may find something that contradicts the Houyhnhnms’ “utopia”.

    Extra Credit 25/25/4


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