Books are a storehouse of knowledge and wisdom. They are never failing friends of man. According to an Arabic proverb:
“A good book is like a small, beautiful garden carried in the packet.”
In fact, civilization is molded by books. Nowadays the whole market is flooded with books. It is, therefore very difficult for the readers to make the correct choice. There are two kinds of books.
- books of the hour that die a natural death after some time
- Books of all times, the classics that always interest and attract the readers. They are like never failing friends of man (Southey). Their popularity grows with the passage of time.
My favorite book is Gulliver’s Travels by J. Swift. It is a great book, full of interest both for the children and adults. It is a novel of adventures and a tale of wonder. On the surface it appears a series of sea journeys; but if we go deeper, it comes out to be the greatest book of satire. Swift is the greatest master of humor and satire.
The Book comprises of four tales or voyages too:
The writer Swift assumes the name, Gulliver. In the first voyage, Gulliver reaches the land of Lilliputians-six inches dwarfs. As he tries to shake himself, they shower thousands of needle-like arrows at him. The pinching arrows make him uneasy. He promises to be still. The king of the land climbs up his chest by means of a ladder. The giant Gulliver promises to behave well, and the king accepts him as his honored guest. Gulliver is surprised to see the intrigues and sycophancy at the royal court. The courtiers dance on ropes to flatter the king. They quarrel over breaking the egg at the small and big ends.
In fact, Lilliput stands for England. When their country is attacked by the enemy (France), Gulliver walks up to the knee-deep sea and drags the whole fleet of enemy ships. The dwarf king is very pleased with the giant guest and allows him to return home. It is a satire on court sycophancy, political intrigues, and monarchy of England. Life-like narration makes it a real story full of fascination and wonder. In the voyage to Brobdingnag, Gulliver reaches the land of giants fifty feet tall. As he is dame tired; he falls sleep by a rock. A giant man picks him up and takes him home. His small daughter plays with the little Gulliver as toy. When the king of the land hears the news about the six feet tall dwarf, he purchases Gulliver for a handsome amount. The king takes fancy to the small man and discards his twenty feet tall dwarf.
Gulliver surprizes the giant king by telling how his country (England) is best governed; the treasury is full; the ministers’ are public servants, and the clergymen are honest and God fearing. Through cross-examination, the reality comes to the surface. His country (England) is worst governed; the treasury is empty; the ministers are corrupt and the Bishops are dishonest and ease-loving. The satire becomes bitter.
In the third story: Journey to Laputa, swift (Gulliver) makes fun of the philosophers and scientists of his time. The inhabitants were funny creatures. Their one eye was deep one-inch inside the socket, and the other eye bulged one inch out. Their heads were bent either to the right or to the left. They (philosophers) were engrossed in thoughts. A stroke of flappers awakened them to senses.
He then attacks the scientists who used to extract gun power from ice. They started building from the roofs and at last, laid down the foundation. Satire makes us laugh.
In the last tale journey to Honshu, the writer (Gulliver) becomes rather acidic in his attack on mankind. Gulliver is ushered to the philosopher king, the nag (horse). He is attended and served by creatures like himself. He calls them Yahoos-the worst image of man. Swift says that human beings have become so deprave, debauch, debase and corrupt, that the kingdom of the world, should now pass from the hands of men into the hands of the animals. For his bitter attacks on society, institutions and his country, he has been called the greatest misanthrope – man-hater.
The book is worth reading.