Your purpose for Essay 4 is to examine Gulliver’s Travels to identify an importa

Your purpose for Essay 4 is to examine Gulliver’s Travels to identify an important theme and analyze its use as an argumentative device. This essay encourages you to really evaluate the effectiveness of satire and how it affects the reader.
A theme (sometimes called a motif, though the two are slightly different) is a recurring idea in a work that seems important to the author. Fiction rarely has “morals” that are clear and unambiguous, but we can arrive at conclusions about what ideas intrigue the author and what the targets of satire in the work are from the use of consistent themes. If an issue or idea seems to come up several times, it’s likely an important theme in the work. Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels is rich in satirical themes; that is, ideas about society which are held up for ridicule, possibly with a purpose either to force us to see those subjects in a new light or to address those problems we might otherwise ignore.
Your goal in this essay is to (1) identify a theme that seems important in the novel; (2) identify where and how that theme surfaces in the text; (3) discuss how Swift uses that theme (How does the theme work? What tools and devices does he use to make us see the issue?); and (4) suggest what the author’s purpose is in addressing that theme. What might Swift want us to think? How might he want us to react? What, exactly, is the point of satirizing that subject? Ideally, you’ll identify for the reader some ideas he might not have considered before. Imagine that you are an instructor, and your paper is going to help us reread or think about the work different than we did before.
To successfully accomplish these goals, you will need to use specifics and examples from the text to make your assertions. You may suggest any interpretation of your chosen theme that fits within the context of the work—the core of the assignment is to identify where the theme appears, discuss how it is used, and suggest what it ultimately means.
Remember that a theme isn’t just a vague idea or a general subject. You could say that “knowledge” is a theme in Gulliver’s Travels, but that isn’t very useful and doesn’t make a claim. For an analytical argument, you’ll be suggesting what we are supposed to understand about that theme from the work. In this case, you might say, “Abstract knowledge without practical application is treated with ridicule and disdain in Gulliver’s Travels,” for instance.
You will also use the opinions of other critics of the text and/or experts in the social circumstances, subject matter, or history which your theme addresses to bolster your position. You must use at least three (3) outside sources for this paper. These will most likely be drawn from books, scholarly journals, or online database sources. Though they may contain some useful information and be a good place to begin, some sources are not sufficient for a college-level argument. Specifically, dictionaries, encyclopedias (including online encyclopedias, such as Wikipedia), study guides (such as Spark Notes, Cliff Notes, MasterPlots, Schmoop, Magill on Literature, etc.), and general interest web sites (such as, eHow, Yahoo Answers,, etc.) will not count toward your required sources. Consult your course texts and the links provided about vetting sources and follow the guidelines suggested. The EBSCO Literary Reference Center Plus database (available in our college library databases) may prove useful, as may Google Scholar (Links to an external site.).
Gulliver’s Travel Text:
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