Gullible – on Jonathan Swift

In my article titled “Maybe on Syria” I wrote ironically that certain types of insects would survive nuclear war better than the human race. One of my readers [Fergiemoto] commented: …Wouldn’t it be fascinating to know what they are thinking… They might be thinking, “those people are so gullible.” frizz-reply: as I read GULLIBLE I had to ask “google translate” (I’m German, you know, leichtgläubig) and realized the term means something like brainless follower; my first frizz-translation (of course wrong) was something like: gullible = they are looking like a crowd of Gullivers [similar to “Kafkaesque” as tribute to Franz Kafka] – do you know GULLIVER’S TRAVELS by Jonathan Swift? One of my favorite novels! About the topic, that small persons (like children or insects) like to dream, they would be strong and powerful like a giant! And subliminal Swift wrote not a children’s book but a message for adults: a satire on arrogant rulers, kings, generals and politicians – and their gullible followers.
Shtandart, St. Petersburg, full sail+Longhorn Beetle (Anoplophora beryllina, Cerambycidae)
sailship photo by frizztext + insect photo by itchydogimages / John Horstman, click on the picture to enter his galleries on
my article about Gulliver’s Travels,
once written for
Because Gulliver is not only a story for little children, but at the same time a very ironical satire on social conditions, also adult viewers will find their pleasure. Who has a little insight into a psychological point of view, will moreover discover, that in the gigantic Gulliver, with whom the childlike spectator of course identifies himself at the first meeting, – that this Gulliver helps to become resistant against every nasty surroundings, which will happen to us in our lifetime, using a fantasy-based, satirical technique of making bad things small and unimportant! Swift gives a therapeutically example for children (always being the smaller ones, helpless, powerless at the lower rank of the social influence scale) how to make a wonderful reversal of the everyday fright. The Gulliver shape reconciles to the powerlessness feelings of the childhood. When Jonathan Swift wrote this story, the situation of childhood in Europe was substantially worse than today. Gulliver’s journey to the country of the dwarves (Lilliput) is the favorite story. But the other one, his journey to the giants in the land “Brobdingnag” is more unloved. Many small “Liliput”-towns are built for tourists – but you cannot find any “Brobdingnag”-town, where you have the chance to feel small and suppressed. All in all: Swift has (like a more mocking Homer) created a bold parody on the old Greek “Odyssey”…
Shtandart, St. Petersburg, full sail
photo by frizztext – Russian Sailship SHTANDART, frigate, coming from St. Petersburg, built: 1994 (replica); length: 34m, width: 7m, 18 sails = 680m2

About frizztext

writer, photographer, guitarist

6 responses to “Gullible – on Jonathan Swift

  1. Yes, a wonderful book, my friend, which can be understood on many levels, and to many great depths. Often in our history, the most brilliant among us had to be purposely obscure to avoid persecution by those in power. And it makes the journey all the more sweet and enjoyable as we discover what the hints are really all about. Best wishes for a beautiful day.


  2. I heard someone say that the great classics of literature are those books that appeal to both children and adults. Gulliver’s Travels certainly qualifies. Swift was brilliant. Other classics: Robinson Crusoe, Alice in Wonderland, Le Petit Prince, not to mention all the great legends. Some of the passages in Gulliver are just spectacular.


  3. great post, which leaves me wishing for a copy of gv’s travels! z


  4. You’re expanding my vocabulary. Now I know a new word “gullible”. Thank you


  5. I’m glad I could help add a word to your English vocabulary, Frizz! Yes, I am gullible when it comes to our charming feathered visitors and their methods of getting our attention.
    Thank you for teaching me some German words, and for the link to my blog.
    (I still chuckle when I read your description of gullible as a “brainless follower.”)


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