Gulliver's Travels Book IV of Term Paper
Excerpt from Term Paper :
A two mighty powers have, as I was going to tell you, been engaged in a most obstinate war for six-and-thirty moons past. It began upon the following occasion: It is allowed on all hands, that the primitive way of breaking eggs, before we eat them, was upon the larger end; but his present majesty's grandfather, while he was a boy, going to eat an egg, and breaking it according to the ancient practice, happened to cut one of his fingers; whereupon the emperor, his father, published an edict, commanding all his subjects, upon great penalties, to break the smaller end of their eggs. The people so highly resented this law, that our histories tell us there have been six rebellions raised on that account; wherein one emperor lost his life, and another his crown. These civil commotions were constantly fomented by the monarchs of Blefuscu; and when they were quelled, the exiles always fled for refuge to that empire. It is computed that eleven thousand persons have, at several times, suffered death, rather than submit to break their eggs at the smaller end. (44)
The plot becomes even greater when a foreign body enters and then even greater when theology becomes a foundational aspect of the argument over the end of the egg to crack. There is secrecy and intrigue as books are banned and conversations halted.
Many hundred large volumes have been published upon this controversy; but the books of the Big-endians have been long forbidden, and the whole party rendered incapable by law of holding employments. During the course of these troubles, the emperors of Blefuscu did frequently expostulate by their ambassadors, accusing us of making a schism in religion by offending against a fundamental doctrine of our great prophet Lustrog, in the fifty-fourth chapter of the Blundecral, which is their Alcoran. This, however, is thought to be a mere strain upon the text; for the words are these: That all true believers shall break their eggs at the convenient end; and which is
the convenient end seems, in my humble opinion, to be left to every man's conscience, or at least in the power of the chief magistrate to determine. (45)
Despite the fact that a logical man, being the Secretary general of the empire and likely many others feel that egg cracking ia personal choice of convenience it still fuels a costly war between not only two parties in one nation but with a neighboring empire, who is no doubt covetous of the property and power of Lilliput.
Now, the Big-endian exiles have found so much credit in the emperor of Blefuscu's court, and so much private assistance and encouragement from their party here at home, that a bloody war has been carried on between the two empires for six-and-thirty moons, with various success; during which time we have lost forty capital ships, and a much greater number of smaller vessels, together with thirty thousand of our best seamen and soldiers; and the damage received by the enemy is reckoned to be somewhat greater than ours. However, they have now equipped a numerous fleet, and are just preparing to make a descent upon us (45)
Gulliver's choice to become a mercenary, for the people of Lilliput and fight in allegiance with the Emperor, or in his words, "I was ready, with the hazard of my life, to defend his person and state against all invaders," is foundational to the document. It is not foreshadowed that Gulliver will seek diplomatic solutions, building the intensity of the narrative, there is a sense instead that Gulliver takes all matters seriously and will seek a violent end if need be, as a true mercenary in a foreign war. The tale is fascinating in thematic goals, as it discusses the fact that many conflicts of empire can be broken down to the simplest of ideological conflicts, a comparison between real and fictitious empires can be drawn that is meant to be a core lesson of the fable.
Sources Used in Documents:
Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver's Travels. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1912.
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