The “Honest” Truth

Jonathan Swift is clearly an incredible writer as well as a being really funny with his writings and satire. He pokes fun at a lot of the traveler’s telling stories that were released during his time. I believe, if we look specifically at Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels alongside Mary Rowlandson’s narrative of her captivity, we can see how Swift would be using satire to almost make fun of this specific type of writing.

Specifically looking at the second paragraph on page 33 of Gulliver’s Travels, which begins with “In the meantime, the Emperor held frequent Councils to debate what Course should be taken with me.” The page in general deals with the narrator describing the different questions and concerns the island of Lilliput might have should Gulliver stay such as “my diet would be very expensive and might cause a famine.” It brought me back to when Mary was asked by the Native Americans to come with her or they would hurt her compared to Gulliver who had councils to determine whether or not to let him stay. It’s quite interesting to note but the main difference is how Mary was forced to come and Gulliver simply arrived at the island.

But another thing that caught my eye was when Gulliver pondered how they would kill him, “…or at least to shoot me in the face and hands with poisoned arrows, which would soon dispatch me.” It’s interesting to note how Gulliver mentions this almost as a joke. How these tiny 6-inch people would have to shoot hundreds of arrows tipped with poison to dispatch of him but then would have to worry about the plague that could occur of his decaying body. While Mary’s account featured a lot of arrows being thrown at people and actually being killed. I don’t believe this is a direct link to Mary Rowland’s account but there definitely is some context of Swift using satire to poke fun and have a little humor with such accounts. Especially considering how he would say to his cousin that the accounts were true.

-Abraham Alvarez

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