Talking about Budha, Swami Vivekanda mentions the irony of Budha, who stood against idol worship all his life, only to be he himself made an idol and worshipped after his death.’ Gulliver’s travels ‘presents a similar irony. A misanthropic work seeking to bring out the failings of human civilization ended up delighting children for centuries. Not that Jonathan Swift did a bad job of it. He rather did a too good job of it. He has put so much attention to details and written so lovingly that people can’t help falling in love with the book, satire though it is.
Most books have a general purpose: to entertain, to put across a point, to educate etc. At the outset, it may seem fantasy would always serve only to entertain. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Fantasy provides much more scope that any other literary genre to explain complex or abstract concepts and to prove a point. For instance an ‘Animal Farm’ can teach you what is communism better than any political science text book. Similarly fantasy is a very good tool to examine the current social conditions form a detached stand point. Aesop’s parables and Panchatantra are classic examples of social messages conveyed through intelligent animal societies. ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ can be counted in their ranks as it tries to illustrate the vanity, frailty and baseness of human spirit in general through fantasy.
You can read the rest of the post here on my other blog dedicated to science fiction.
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