If I was to sit down and read Harry Potter, or the Lord of the Rings, I would not be surprised to find humans-like creatures about a twelfth of the size of a typical human climbing around on a characterâ€™s body, as in the realm of fantasy this does not seem suspicious or implausible. It is very easy to accept characters or action such as this in a world that is very different from our own. It is interesting then that in Jonathan Swiftâ€™s Gulliverâ€™s Travels, that the presence of a â€œhuman creature not six inches highâ€ (2494) is not disarming in a world that â€“ up until Gulliverâ€™s arrival in the country of Lilliput â€“ appeared very similar to our own.
Swift narrates the events of Gulliverâ€™s life in such factual and reporter-style detail that we do not question their validity, we accept the narrative as being the truth. By noting that Gulliver received an education at Emmanuel College in Cambridge, as well as from the â€œeminent surgeonâ€ (2492) Mr. Bates, Swift asserts that Gulliver is well educated, and that he is trustworthy. The great detail Swift describes each character in aids in the soundness of Gulliverâ€™s past. Gulliver does not simply mention his wife but notes that his wife is â€œMrs. Mary Burtonâ€ who was the second daughter of the hosier â€œMr. Edmond Burtonâ€ who lived on â€œNewgate Streetâ€ (2493). Swiftâ€™s penchants for detail contributes to the reliability of Gulliverâ€™s story.
In a piece of fantasy the reader accepts the impossibility of characters and actions because we accept that this is real in that world. In Swiftâ€™s writing, however, we accept the unlikelihood of the situation of Gulliver waking up on an island with his arms and legs â€œstrongly fastened on each side to the groundâ€ (2494) by six-inch tall humans, each carrying a â€œbow and arrowâ€ (2494), because we trust Swift to be a reliable narrator. Because the reader does not question the authenticity of Gulliverâ€™s story prior to his arrival in the country of Lilliput, due to the great detail and apparent factuality of Swiftâ€™s writing, Swiftâ€™s narrative seems very plausible.
Swift, Jonathan. â€œGulliverâ€™s Travels.â€Â The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. 9th ed. Vol. C. New York: W. W. Norton &, 2012. 2487-633. Print.