Gulliver's Travels And Pastoralia Analysis

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Explore the struggle between the individual and society in 'Gulliver 's Travels ' and 'Pastoralia '

'Principally, ' wrote Jonathan Swift in a 1725 letter, 'I hate and detest that animal called man... upon this great foundation of misanthropy the whole building of my Travels is erected '. Such cynicism is hardly surprising from a writer such as Swift, whose whole corpus is marked by its acerbic and critical tone. As Gravil put it, Swift 's genius was a 'radical scepticism ', one that often-times put him at odds with his fellows, who were utterly entrenched in the intellectual optimism of the Enlightenment. What perhaps may be more unexpectedly gleaned from Swift 's correspondence is his focus on how the 'Travels ' relate to the human
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Critical analysis of the literature of the 1990s and early 2000s has focused on the perceived 'loneliness ' of modern life. Critic Patrick Kiger speaks of the presence of the 'disillusionment of the corporate worker-consumer lifestyle, in which the support of the state is conspicuously absent '. Indeed, in 'Pastoralia ' Saunders explores the isolation of the individual, as his characters attempt to integrate with the collective and ultimately fail. Whilst Swift presents another mode of being, wherein there may be a way for man to function beneficially in society, for Saunders such reconciliation is impossible. In the title story of the collection, the protagonist struggles to conform to the rigid standards laid out by the theme-park, desperate to assimilate into the position of loyal worker and useful member of the group. However, his experience is marked by an underlying discontentment, as he will never be able to achieve a fully functional relationship with the society he lives in. The story begins with, 'I have to admit I 'm not feeling my best. Not that I 'm doing so bad. Not that I really have anything to complain about. ' Immediately, there is a feeling of reluctance, the protagonist only voicing discontent out of necessity – 'I have to admit '. The succession of short clauses reflects his disquiet; he is quick to get his complaints out of the way, his sentences are clipped and uncomfortable. This immediate undermining of his feelings is indicative of his desire to conform. He is eager to reconcile himself with his position, but is unable to force himself to do so. This desperation eventually leads to the expulsion of Janet, an individual who deviated from the norm and was punished

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