A detailed analysis of book 4 of "Gulliver’s Travels", “A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms.” The first part consists of a 17-page handout for your students. By filling in blanks, they will chapter by chapter analyze the themes, plot, characters, and symbolism of book 4. This study will conclude with them engaging in an in-depth contrast of the Houyhnhnms and the Yahoos, which will tie together the philosophical implications of Swift’s brilliant satire.
In the next sixteen pages, I have included additional commentary on each chapter not included in the student handout. (A startling instance: Three ways in which Houyhnhnmland resembles Nazi Germany! But most of my comments are more textual and less controversial.) You may incorporate these points as you wish into your class’s discussion of book 4.
The final eight pages contain notes on all four books of “Gulliver’s Travels,” including discussions of Swift’s use of satire, comic and tragic elements in the book, Swift’s religious views, his attitude toward science, a detailed analysis of the character of Gulliver, and a synopsis of the correspondence by Swift and his literary friends about “Gulliver’s Travels.”
The seventeen-page student handout section, which is followed by an answer key, is suitable for a homework assignment or as an in-class activity.
Prepared by Professor William Tarvin, Ph.D., who has published many articles on literature in scholarly journals.