Sophia Goldborne has wandered onto foreign land and just like anyone who runs into a new setting, curiosity ensures. However, what if the curiosity set by Sophia is done to not only show off her “edgy lifestyle” but also fetishize the foreign land? This fetization is dangerous because it creates standards to uphold and can be harmful rather than beneficial for those that are indigenous to said land.
In this novel when the East Indian Company, British company, took over India it was because of the attraction to the foreign land and it eventually becoming a Utopia to reside in. Additionally, these European intruders are implementing their own customs in a foreign area where such customs don’t exist. This can be seen when she states, “I have beheld so brilliant dazzled, and so captivated, and, like Gulliver in the land of Lilliput, find all the objects around me so diminutive and so mean, that i overlook and disregard them at every point”(269). In Guillver’s Travel, text being referenced, when describing the land of Lilliput, the main character, Gulliver, not only talks about this land but does it in a way to dehumanize them. Some words Gibbes uses are “diminutive” and “so mean” in order to have readers visualize what Gulliver is seeing but is that the only thing she’s doing? I see this as a way of describing Indigenous people and what is to say it’s in good taste? This can be a way Goldbourne perceives these individuals and it may not be the way they percieve themselves. Additionally, these characters may be lying to compensate for their own insecurities. This rhetoric becomes dangerous because both Golborne and Gulliver are dehumanizing the people of the land they’re in and unsurprisingly, feel it’s their “duty” to fix or modify something that isn’t meant to be fixed or modified by foreigners. Also, it’s hard to trust the characters themselves since they will say anything to make themselves look well and if that means dehumazing those around them then that’s what will occur. British insecurities become the prime topic in both Hartly House and Gulliver’s Travel because the constant assurance that Eurocentric lifestyles are ones to uphold demonstrates a culture that is lacking in qualities that can be found in Indigenous people.
- Kristy Frausto