Just A Bunch Of Yahoos

Jonathan Swift uses the Houyhnhnms to portray what could be a perfect civilization for us meager humans to follow. A civilization that is focused around “Friendship and Benevolence” and treating the strangers as though they are their closest neighbors. The Houyhnhnms believe in equal education for both sexes. They focus around solving problems carefully, and use reason rather than opinion (238-239). Their way of life is one  to strive for, to set as the highest standard. With their standard, humanity would be at its greatest.

At least until it comes to dealing with a race that is constantly considered inferior to their own and in result decide it’s best to get rid of them all. The Yahoos are constantly described as being vile and a nuisance to the Houyhnhnms, something that must be handled accordingly. The hatred that has formed for the Yahoos cannot be ignored. Swift has created a literal call for the genocide of the human race, and in doing so aims to portray the Houyhnhnms as the divine humans, the standard desired. However, creating this causes a mass loop for the Houyhnhnms, a fatal flaw.

The Houyhnhnms describe the Yahoos as those who are power hungry and violent, for they seek control over anything set in front of them. However, could it be said that by desiring to have the Yahoos “exterminated from the Face of the Earth” (249) is one step toward Yahoo? Or perhaps if not only wanting to kill off an entire race isn’t enough, then how the Houyhnhnms instead choose to take a note out of Gulliver’s lifestyle. Though Gulliver is considered a more advanced Yahoo, it doesn’t make for the fact that the Houyhnhnms have instead moved backward. In other words wanting to be a Houyhnhnm isn’t possible, not even for the Houyhnhnms themselves.

-Elizabeth Dominguez


One thought on “Just A Bunch Of Yahoos

  1. The main idea is, “In other words wanting to be a Houyhnhnm isn’t possible, not even for the Houyhnhnms themselves.” You provide a great point regarding the fact that it is impossible to not have opinions, which is why Houyhnhnms are not able to be Houyhnhnms. I feel like you did great with the supporting detail and there is no reason to elaborate on anything.

    Extra Credit 24/25/4


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