This sample essay on Houyhnhnms And Yahoos Comparison provides important aspects of the issue and arguments for and against as well as the needed facts. Read on this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
Both Orwell and Swift create imaginary worlds in which to set their books. Jonathon Swift wrote “Gulliver’s Travels” in the 1720s. It was written as a travel book where the apparent hero, Lemuel Gulliver, travels to the wild and fantastic worlds of: Lilliput, Brobdingnag, Laputa and Houyhnhnyms.
When Gulliver returns to England, he is viewed as mad and becomes a laughing stock. George Orwell wrote “1984” in 1940s Britain (post world war two), and set it in the future, 1984. Orwell’s imaginary world is called Oceania. The main character of “1984” is a man called Winston Smith.
The backdrop to Orwell’s novel remains the same throughout, but in “Gulliver’s Travels”, many strange and intriguing worlds are introduced. The main reason both authors create imaginary worlds is to criticize their own.
Both books are satires. Swift writes “Gulliver’s Travels” as a travel book but it is actually meant as a reflection of 1720s England. This technique enables Swift to ridicule the government and express his views on how the country is run. It is now obvious to us that the purpose of Swift’s novel is not to entertain us with an imaginary travel book but to expose the injustice & sins in the world around him!
Orwell also invents a fantasy world in which he can show a tragic side of what he hates or fears.
He doesn’t disguise his views with a different genre though; instead, he invents a totalitarian government with extreme rules and strict routines. Orwell’s “1984” creates a state similar to that in Nazi Germany or Communist Russia. The “Big Brother” in “1984” relates to Hitler. I think “1984” is Orwell’s attempt to show us what life would be like, had Hitler succeeded. Orwell and Swift share the same views on Power. Both feel that power is abused.
In “Gulliver’s Travels”, people gain power in Lilliput by “leaping and creeping”. Swift patently believes that is the way people gain power in England. In “1984” power is completely abused. The totalitarian government wants absolute control. They are cruel, clever and use suffering against the population. They rule by keeping people loyal to the party. However, when Gulliver travels to the land of Brobdingnag, he has a different perspective on things. He is tiny in a world of giants and the culture of this country is somewhat different to that in Lilliput.
Swift has created Brobdingnag as a utopia. In “1984” the imaginary world is very different. Orwell invents a dystopia. A nightmare world filled with destruction and suffering. In Brobdingnag the king rules with justice and for the benefit of the “common good” (everyone). In Oceania, “1984” the party rules for itself. Its aim is to destroy humanity: “… stamping on the human face forever… “. The two authors both use war to criticise England. In “Gulliver’s Travels” the Littlendians are constantly at war with the bigendians over the trivial matter of which end of the egg one should break.
This petty but perilous argument is meant to relate to the constant feud between Catholics and Protestants. When Swift compares England to Lilliput (a land of tiny people), he is commenting on the small mindedness of the English. The inspiration for Orwell’s “1984” was from war. Whether the war is fictional or not, the government manipulate the tragic situation to keep the population loyal. Swift and Orwell share the same views on science and technology. When Gulliver visits the flying island of Laputa his is confused in a world of science. The flying island is occupied by many, many scientists with strange scientific theories.
I believe the point of the scientists living on the island is to display Swifts view of all scientists having their heads in the clouds. The idea of the loadstone controlling the gravity of the island probably compares to Newton’s gravity theory, which would have seemed preposterous to Swift. Technology also plays a big part in “1984”. Telescreens enable the party to watch everybody all the time. This maximized the party’s power because they could spy on people 24/7. In “1984” only 5% of the population are inner party members. This 5% abuse the power given to them.
In “Gulliver’s Travels” the flying island of Laputa is used as a weapon. The scientists of Laputa tax the people below as they pass over them. The unfairness of taxation and colonialism could be compared to a cruel and demanding government or monarchy of England during the 18th century, over Ireland. Underneath Laputa is a land called Glubdubdrib. Gulliver searches for a place called “The Academy”. Here people are dedicated to science. They do stupid experiments like attempting to build houses from the roof downwards or trying to obtain sunlight from cucumbers.
Another crazy experiment was a way of cutting down the language by carrying picture cards with you instead of speaking. This is very similar to the “newspeak” idea in “1984”. That was also an attempt at cutting down the freedom of speech. In “Gulliver’s Travels” Gulliver comes across a historian. This man uses Gulliver to bring back famous historical figures i. e. Alexander the Great. This historian twists and exaggerates the truth. His lies are the same as those emitted by “The Ministry of Truth”. Both the Ministry and the historian are relied upon to supply truth and, ironically, both supply people with fiction not fact.
In “Gulliver’s Travels”, Lemuel Gulliver visits the semi-tranquil, semi-chaotic land of Houyhnhnyms. Its chief inhabitants are talking horses. These horses are gentle, virtuous, rational and vegetarian. The land of the Houyhnhnms is, like Brobdingnag, a utopia. It is an unspoiled Shangri-la. Most unlike the war zones of “1984”. There is no stealing, no lies and no disease in the land of the Houyhnhnms. These vices exist only among the Yahoos. The Yahoos are inferred as savage, cave man like, aggressive, excitable and carnivorous beings. They are, without question, a parody of humans.
As Gulliver explains more and more to the houyhnhnms about his culture and human nature, the gentle beasts start to realize that the differences between man and Yahoo are very small indeed. Both are greedy, untrustworthy, vicious, sexually driven and self-obsessed beings. The Houyhnhnyms have no word in their language for “lying”. This is similar again to newspeak. After spending so much time with the talking horses, Gulliver realizes the error of his (and indeed all human) ways. Gulliver is mortified when he discovers the Houyhnhnyms see him as a Yahoo. I think it’s more than that though.
I think Gulliver knows how similar humans and Yahoos are. He cannot deny his true nature. After experiencing a flawless and virtuous life with the Houyhnhnyms, Gulliver cannot bear the thought of returning to England and living among those who he now sees as Yahoos. I think the point of this final land is to illustrate the two sides of human nature and to force the reader to ask him or herself what a human being really is. I think “heroes” is too strong a word to use for the lead characters in both books. Both men are normal men. Therefore, both men are as weak as they are strong. Both end up being very isolated and independent.
The final similarity between the men is that they are both diagnosed mad, but are in fact both very sane men. What makes them so isolated is the fact that they are misunderstood. Winston Smith is viewed as a tragic figure where as Lemuel Gulliver is seen as a comic figure. We pity Winston but laugh at Lemuel. I think this is because he comes back from the land of the Houyhnhnyms condemning mankind and we are, as Gulliver insists, an arrogant race so how could we possibly believe what he is telling us. If Swift believes what he is writing, he is not only mocking Gulliver, but also the whole of mankind and so, himself.