Gulliver’s Travels, by Dean Jonathon Swift, a cognitive and emotional writer, was never widely read, some of the words he invented, however, have become well known. H.G Wells in the Time Machine borrowed from Swift and wrote about the Eloi providing meat for the repulsive Morlocks. The Planet of the Apes films have dark aspects taken from Swift. The search engine Yahoo took its name from a vile and savage humanoid creature with unpleasant habits that Lemuel Gulliver encountered in Book IV of his travels. Swift had a strong social conscience, Gulliver’s Travels never faced the same scrutiny as Alice in Wonderland, probably due to Swift’s archaic and ponderous style of writing, he wrote as though thinking out loud. Books I and II studies size relative to power and how it determines moral outlook. The little people in Lilliput are not small minded because they are 15cm small; the giants in Brobdingnag do not have a brilliant intellect because they are 60m tall. This political satire concentrates on Gulliver’s reactions to the little people and the giants and how his intellect responds to his power or lack of power. Gulliver’s Travels satirised the British Whig political party in power 1699-1709 and the universal tendency to abuse political power, manipulate others and deceive ourselves. In Lilliput Gulliver can destroy everything with one sweep of his arm, his benevolence is striking, he has complete power. In Brobdingnag Gulliver is reduced to a toy, a thing of derision amongst the giants. Gulliver described gunpowder and war to the Brobdingnagian King just to show how ingenious his people truly are. Gulliver’s morality in Lilliput amongst the small-minded, violence prone people has shrunk in the presence of the morally admirable, pacifist giants. Gulliver’s fourth voyage where Yahoos, savage, hairy humans, are kept by Houyhnhnms (horses) is bizarre because Gulliver becomes misanthrophic and subject to ridicule. The Houyhnhnms were orderly and rational and travelled in sleds drawn by four Yahoos.
Swift evaluates the human condition, the gentle Houyhnhnms are compared and contrasted with the horrible Yahoos as with the dichotomy between reason and unreason, sanity and insanity and fairness and unfairness. Gulliver met the King of the Houyhnhnms, to whom he explained money and the English Constitution. The King said money led to avarice. He found the actions of man difficult to comprehend, honour is more important than net worth. The King could not imagine war with another country. The Houyhnhnms had a language without trace of political and ethical nonsense, perhaps reflecting Swift’s concern about the corruption of the English language, which he believed was in need of reform. Swift does not share Gulliver’s opinion on the hopelessness of mankind. Gulliver ignores the Houyhnhnms lack of literature and their arrogance, their lack of imagination and emotion. Gulliver does not understand the Yahoos are not meant to be mistaken for humans. Gulliver is repulsed by humans because he sees Yahoos as closely resembling us physically. Swift implies mankind is neither a rational intellect nor wholly passionate, neither Houyhnhnm nor Yahoo. Man inclines to bestial behaviour. Gulliver does not understand we are a blend of Yahoo and Houyhnhnm and that is the future for mankind. At the end of the final book Gulliver returns to England where he is revolted by his countrymen, so that he lives in stables to be near horses. The overall satire concerns Gulliver’s voyage to wondrous countries to meet wondrous inhabitants, yet returning blind, unable to learn anything from his adventures.