“Gulliver’s Travels” Student Reviews 2009

The following reviews by COHS students are on “Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift.

Genre:  Wild frontiers and exotic lands/ European historical fiction

Pages: 271

Reviewer: Andrea Z.

In the novel Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, the reader is introduced to the main character named Lemuel Gulliver who goes on extraordinary adventures. The first location he goes to is the island of Lilliput. There he meets people that are about six inches tall. He learns their customs, and becomes friends with the king, but he eventually departs from this strange land. Once he returns home he again sets sail and becomes stranded on the land Brobdingnag. He soon discovers that this land is inhabited by giants. He becomes friends with a farmer and he starts making a profit out of Gulliver. He is soon sold to the queen and is taken care of by the farmer’s daughter. After about two years of living there an eagle captures him and drops him in the ocean where he is rescued by his own kind. One again he ventures off inot the world and goes to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Glubbdubdrib and Japan. Laputa is a flying island and the people there are devoted to music and mathematics. Then he basically goes to the other places just to  get back home which he eventually does. Despite his past mishaps he once again goes out to sea and lands on Houyhnhnms, a land where horses are the rulers. He eventually leaves this land  by force and once he arrives back home he is unable to live a normal life.

I really enjoyed reading this novel. The author uses a lot of detail in describing the places Gulliver went. I still wonder why Swift capitalizes random words but it was a great new experience for me. The adventures the main character  went on were very strange but life changing at the same time. What I learned from this novel is to accept people for who they are. I also learned that everyone is different. I highly recommend this book to others.

1.The author’s purpose in writing this book was to inform the readers on how different people are and how people in other lands have customs we are not used to.
2. The theme of this novel is the limits of human understanding and the thesis of the novel is understanding different customs.
3. The author supports the thesis by learning the ways of other people. “Learned men appointed to teach the author their language” (30)
4. The only issue in this book is trying to fit in and the author solves this by learning the inhabitants’ ways.


About Victoria Waddle

I'm a high school librarian, formerly an English teacher. I love to read and my mission is to connect people with the right books. To that end, I read widely--from the hi-lo for reluctant high school readers to the literary adult novel for the bibliophile.
This entry was posted in Adventure Stories, Classic Fiction, Fable/Fairy Tale/Fantasy, Fiction and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to “Gulliver’s Travels” Student Reviews 2009

  1. That was such an awesome book. Don’t think I’d enjoy it now but I remember i had a great time with it when I was younger. Thanks for reminding me about it.

  2. Tipsy says:

    Ah, one of the all time classics I still haven’t found the time to get to. When I were 12, I got my hands on a comic based on the book and It was so engulfing I’ve read it over and over again, till the wear started to show on the comic 😉
    Now that I’m a bit older, I think I might finally get to reading the original. Unfortunately I think I’d have to break a leg or something to find the time …

  3. I remember that book! I think I might need to rent it and read it again. I remember I quite enjoyed it when I was a kid.

  4. Ms. Kurtz (city librarian) says:

    I read a junior version of the book when I was a child, and I sure saw a lot more in it when I read the whole book as an adult. I could see that Swift was making fun of his own society with examples like political corruption, war based on religion, and characters who believed only in theories instead of obtaining some practical knowledge. The imaginary countries reflect what Swift saw in the British and European society of his time.

  5. Mr. Chang says:

    How fascinating that Gulliver travels to Japan! Why do you think that Swift includes the description of an actual country in his novel, along with his depictions of several imaginary countries? What might this suggest about Swift’s attitude toward the cultures of East Asia?

  6. Ms. Waddle says:

    I was very young when I read “Gulliver’s Travels.” I think it’s time to read it again–but even then, I was captivated, laughing aloud at the foibles of mankind. Desperate to finish the book, I read it on a windy road trip in the back of a station wagon (pre-SUV era).

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