Travel Writing And Cultural Identity English Literature Essay Free Essay

Johanathan Swift ‘s repute as an Anglican priest and descendent of an Anglo-Irish household belies the built-in intercrossed structural, ideological and model that is identifiable in “ Gulliver ‘s travels ” ( Smith 20 ) . Borrowing theories of Homi. K. Bhabha and Stuart Hall, the research worker tries to understand the impression of “ cultural individuality ” . This paper besides attempts to follow the historical force that made Ireland a intercrossed state and influenced Swift ‘s personality. Bhabha ‘s impression of Hybridity and liminality can be applied to swift word picture of Gulliver. Hybridity and heterogeneousness abound in “ Gulliver ‘s travels ” oppose the English policy to homogenise Ireland and its dwellers ( Hinant 9 ) .

Writing from an Ireland that was under English control, fleet battles with the troubles in picturing the Irish experience. Take a combination of different individualities in “ Gulliver ‘s travels ” as an illustration of what mentioned supra. Swift ‘s ain Hybrid subjectiveness as mentioned earlier affects Gulliver ‘s word picture. Swift tries to stand for him in close interaction with different civilizations ( Rawson5 ) . Whether it is because of the trouble in continuing a stable cultural individuality or because of indispensable premises of race pureness and high quality is what this paper is traveling to seek.

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This paper will utilize the Bhabha- Hall dialectic to set up what stated earlier that Ireland ‘s cultural fundamental law inspired Swift to picture Gulliver ‘s sense of cultural-identity as unstable and “ going more than of “ being ” ( Bhabha 1-18 and Hall 233-241 ) . Bhabha besides stresses that Hybridity consequences from “ the outgrowth of the interstices-the convergence and supplanting of spheres of difference-that the intersubjective and corporate experiences of nationness, community Interest, or cultural value are negotiated ( Bhabha 2 ) .

Combined with Bhabha ‘s thoughts, Stuart Hall ‘s contention that cultural individuality, “ far from being everlastingly fixed in some essentialzed yesteryear, [ is ] topic to the uninterrupted ‘play ‘ of history, civilization and power ” besides becomes Pertinent to Gulliver ‘s Travels. Quoting Bhabha, Hall explains that such a cultural individuality “ belongs to the hereafter every bit much as to the yesteryear ” and that it “ undergoes changeless transmutation ” in tandem with historical alterations ( Hall 236 ) . Swift ‘s word picture of Lemuel Gulliver and his brushs with several civilizations reflects the Irish status and prefigures the formation of cultural hybridities in states where colonial brushs take topographic point ( Rawson 1 ) .

The cultural conquering of Ireland by England since the 12th century invests it with a assortment of cultural individualities and consequences in a “ creolization ” or “ syncretism ” of Irish society. In add-on to the English policy of settling the English and the Scottish in Ireland, the Anglo-Norman invasions into Ireland that preceded it besides contribute in doing Ireland a regular intercrossed society that much later becomes the dominant theoretical account of colonised states of the universe ( Collins 13-39 ) . Therefore, Ireland is the precursor of future postcolonial states and the Irish society prefigures the many splits and points of disjuncture in postcolonial societies in yearss to come ( Fabricant48-71 ) .The repeated cultural conquering of Ireland ensuing in a really heterogenous society becomes the focal point in understanding Swift ‘s word picture of the different cultural kingdoms in “ Gulliver ‘s Travels ” . Unlike Ireland, where different cultural groups settled, Swift ‘s protagonist visits different societies and brushs varied civilizations. Gulliver is non forced to absorb into the civilizations he interacts with nor does he seek to enforce his civilization on those societies, which poses a blunt contrast to the status of Ireland where the native Irish were bit by bit forced to give-up their cultural patterns, even their linguistic communication, and take on the cultural attire of their ‘superior ‘ Godheads ( Collins 13-39 ) .

The building of Swift ‘s ain cultural individuality, a blend of English and Irish individualities, is influenced greatly by Ireland, his place of birth. The history of Ireland, full with conquerings from the 12th century until the 17th century, consequences in the presence of different civilizations within Ireland ( Collins, 13-39 ) .

Turning up in such Ireland under control of different settlements, Swift struggles with his cultural individuality. Every Irish topic has a alone cultural individuality, shaped by perennial intercessions of history, comprises similarities and differences. It is a intercrossed cultural individuality as it consequences from the intermixing of different cultural groups ( Collins, 13-39 ) . The Irish people, both the aristocracy and the provincials, imitated English patterns and through exogamies with the English came to possess a dual consciousness: a consciousness of their rich yesteryear and a realisation of their servile present status which necessitated that they eschew their old patterns and take up new 1s. The forced appropriation of the Irish into English civilization resulted in their “ going ” English and giving up their Irish “ being. ” The “ going ” English was non a smooth passage from one civilization to another ; alternatively, it created a cultural individuality that was a mixture of English and Irish subjectivenesss. We find a similar quandary in the people of colonised and postcolonial states. Therefore, Ireland becomes the precursor to the postcolonial societies of the hereafter ( Rawson 17 ) .

Swift ‘s word picture of Gulliver in Houyhnhnm land mirrors the cultural province of Ireland in Swift ‘s clip. Gulliver is neither a Houyhnhnm nor a Yahoo like Swift in Ireland. Gulliver ‘s Houyhnhnm maestro informs the Houyhnhnm Assembly “ that he observed in me [ Gulliver ] all the Qualities of a Yahoo, merely a little more civilized by some Tincture of Reason, which nevertheless was in a grade as far inferior to the Houyhnhnm Race, as the Yahoos of their State were to me ” ( Monk 250 ) . While Swift ‘s portraiture of the Yahoos has been viewed as a nauseating portraiture of the Irish indigens, his deeper review of both the Houyhnhnm race and Gulliver has non been much acknowledged. Swift proposes a loanblend of the three: Yokel, Gulliver and Houyhnhnm. Such a loanblend would ensue in a balanced person who would hold possible in the universe ( Monk 126 ) .

In Gulliver ‘s Travels Swift addresses the jobs Ireland was confronting because of English policies and how it fought English efforts to wipe out Irish civilization ( Fabricant53-60 ) . The cultural transmutation of Ireland because of different conquerings crossing five centuries may hold contributed to Swift ‘s classless and non-judgmental positions sing spiritual associations, cultural individuality and ethnicity that he espouses satirically in Gulliver ‘s Travels. We find grounds of this in Gulliver ‘s brief brush with a Dutchman when Gulliver is taken captive by Nipponese plagiarists. Gulliver informs us “ I observed among them a Dutchman, who seemed to be of some Authority, aˆ¦I spoke Dutch acceptably good ; I told him who we were, begged him in consideration of our being Christians and Protestants, of neighbouring states, in rigorous Alliance, that he would travel the Captains to take some commiseration on us. ” Gulliver ‘s petition to the Dutch, as a fellow European, a Christian and a Protestant, is denied. Alternatively, the pagan Japanese Captain shows clemency as Gulliver “ was regretful to happen more Mercy in a Heathen, than in a Brother Christian ” ( 144-145 ) .

What we see in Swift ‘s portraiture of Gulliver in Book IV of Gulliver ‘s Travels is an effort akin to Homi Bhabha ‘s thought of the liminal topic, which is the act of being “ suspended between two provinces of being ” ( Bhabha, 1-18 ) , the merchandise of a syncretised civilization that was present in Ireland during Swift ‘s life. In this context, Swift ‘s ain liminal subjectiveness as an Anglo-Irish influences his word picture of Lemuel Gulliver. Like Swift, Gulliver excessively, has an “ interstitial position. ” Hence Swift tries to portray Gulliver as “ going ” a “ liminal topic ” through his brushs with different societies in his journey, particularly so in Houyhnhnmland, who is neither like the Houyhnhnms nor like the Yahoos ( Monk 121 ) .

In all his journeys and interactions with the societies he visits, Gulliver continues to be Swift ‘s liminal person. In Gulliver ‘s narrative of his escapades into different lands, we notice a double-consciousness, which is the really kernel of liminality in post-colonial discourse. Gulliver ‘s double-consciousness in Gulliver ‘s Travels stems from his varied experiences ( Hinant 14 ) .

Swift consciously presents Gulliver, as being both himself and another. Gulliver encounters the new civilizations with his remarkable consciousness of European civilisation but applaudable properties of the new civilizations seep into his consciousness, suggesting at his Hybridity and liminality as an of import characteristic of his cultural individuality. Fleet nowadayss Gulliver ‘s personality as dynamic in the class of the many transmutations he undergoes when he proceeds from one society to another. He continues to germinate until the last journey when he aligns with the Houyhnhnm and proves that he would neglect to make the heroic position Swift expects him. Gulliver ‘s Travels provides state of affairss that serve as the cardinal character ‘s rite of transition. He matures as he goes from one land into another ( Hinant 116 ) .

In Gulliver ‘s assorted brushs with different societies, Swift presents the narrative of the storyteller ‘s growing and adulthood. Every civilization and society he meets offers Gulliver a lesson that educates him. Chew overing over the patterns, imposts and policies of the assorted civilizations, Gulliver acquires cognition of the universe. Swift ‘s word picture of the different societies and civilizations is really dynamic. They are really different from each other. The political positions, the beliefs, and the nature of all the societies are of different chromaticities. While the different societies are microcosms within the larger universe of Gulliver, they besides are parts of the whole. The particular features of the different societies symbolize the different facets of the universe in enlistment were side. The captivation for young person in the Struldbrugs, the compulsion for scientific discipline in the Laputians, the unsighted trust on ground of the Houyhnhnm and similar eccentricities can all be present in one universe. They are qualities that coexist in the diverse universe ( Rawson 11 ) .

Gulliver ‘s journeys, in malice of the harrowing experiences he suffered, are a pursuit for the ultimate experience, which his ain civilization can ne’er supply. In Book IV, his sense of his ain civilization ‘s neglecting mornings on him and he eschews his ain imposts to take up the civilization of the Houyhnhnm. Even so, Gulliver ‘s Hybridity shapes his cultural individuality as does his assorted experiences with different societies. The “ syncretised ” nature of Ireland and its feeling on Swift provides the stuff for such portraiture. Centuries subsequently, similar texts develop into what we know as postcolonial discourse.

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