“A Voyage to Lilliput” demonstrates one of the main themes that we saw in Moon and the Mars: coexistence as a tool for survival. In “A Voyage to Lilliput”, Gulliver must learn how to live like a Lilliputian to avoid being killed (which might be impossible for people who are less than 6 inches tall, but they were able to capture him and take him to their capital city). Even though Gulliver has an enormous physical advantage on the Lilliputians given his size, he still takes efforts to learn about their culture to survive. He says “I made a great progress in learning their language” (Swift, Chapter 1) so he can try and get the emperor to liberate him. Once he is liberated, he starts to learn more about Lilliput and respects its people. Gulliver could have easily destroyed the city for capturing him as revenge and taken more efforts to return to England. However, he decides to discover the city and does it very carefully as to not destroy anything. He says he “walked with the utmost circumspection” (Swift, Chapter 2) which demonstrates that he now respects the people that once bound him up. He is learning to coexist in a society that is very different from Bristol because at this point, it is all he has. It is very similar to what we saw in Five Points in Moon and the Mars. For many Irish immigrants, they learned to coexist with Black people because they lived in the same neighborhoods, worked the same jobs, and shared many other aspects of life. Once this coexistence was disrupted with the building of Central Park and the Civil War, chaos ensued between the Irish and Black people. Once Gulliver loses the respect of the Lilliputians, he has to escape. Both works show us that coexistence is used as a survival tool to avoid civil conflict. When this coexistence dies, then each side tends to protect themselves even if it means attacking other people.

One Reply to “Coexistence”

  1. When I was reading Gulliver’s travels, I was struggling to connect it to the previous material we had studied, but I really like the connection you make here! Gulliver must learn to live on Lilliput, surrounded by people he has little in common with, like the Irish immigrants and Black people learned to live together in Five Points.
    I think that Theo, because she belonged to and felt attached to both her Irish and Black family, provides us an interesting middle ground that we don’t see in Gulliver’s Travels, though. Gulliver is not related to the Lilliputs (other than their humanoid form); nevertheless, he must learn to adapt. Theo does not have to adapt as much–she is Irish and she is Black. But, that coexistence still shatters when conflict breaks out during the Civil War. It appears that no matter how strong her familial bonds are, coexistence is still fragile. However, Theo is able to build back the relationships with her Irish family after the riots in a way that I don’t predict Gulliver could.

Comments are closed.