Utopia or Dystopia? Swift

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Carolina Alarcón Marín Utopia and Dystopia in: “Gulliver’s Travels” Book 4 by Jonathan Swift

“That Nation which he describes as the Seat of Virtue, and its Inhabitants as Models to all (he the lays) World reputed of his for no own Justice, and better Brain; than and Truth, are mere the Cleanliness, Fictions Temperance, Wisdom,

Houyhnhms and Yahoos deemed to have no more Existence than the Inhabitants of Utopia”.1

In the voyage to the country of the Houyhnhms, portrays a society in which the qualities of the

Jonathan Swift characters are

remarkable and in a way impossible, in other words these astounding moral and intellectual characteristics create a sense of a utopian society in the mind of the reader, especially when comparing it to the real world and the real social schemes in which we live on. Swift’s satire in Houyhnhmland may be seen as a Utopia, but the incredible yet awkward behaviour of these creatures is completely

unnatural, and therefore it creates a dystopia. This utopia is believed to be plausible because of the accumulation of details the writer provides, enveloping the reader and blurring the limits between reality and imagination that have been imbedded in our minds through the socialization process.
“...He looked upon us as a sort of animals to whose share he could not conjecture, some small pittance of reason had fallen, whereof we made no other use than by its assistance to aggravate our natural
1

Williams, Kathleen, editor. ”Anonymous criticisms of Houyhnhmland”, in “Jonathan Swift: The critical heritage”, Routledge, London, 1970, p. 97.

Carolina Alarcón Marín Midterm Essay corruptions, us...”
2

and

to

acquire

new

ones

which

nature

had

not

given

The superiority of the Houyhnhms is especially noticed when judging human kind, because of the way in which one of them talks about “Yahoos”…...

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