Gulliver is correct in predicting that when he shares his experiences with his fellow humans they â€œwould believe that I said the thing which was not,â€ and that they would think he had â€œinvented the story out of [his] own headâ€ (2598), as we see in Don Pedroâ€™s reaction to Gulliverâ€™s tale on page 2627. This issue of truth and falsehood works on several levels. Firstly, that Gulliverâ€™s experiences are so ridiculous that they are unlikely to be taken seriously. This ridiculousness is an effect of the satire which is present throughout Gulliverâ€™s Travels. Swift reverses and exaggerates the characteristics of Man and Beast in order to show the errors and pettiness of his own society. There is also a reference to truth and the ignorance of the Houyhnhnms to lies, which is a mark of decency but also shows their naivety. The Houyhnhnms are a simple race that has no ambitions or wild emotions such as humans do. They are very reasonable and have no need for lies. This aversion to falsehood is imprinted on Gulliver, who repeats often that he has â€œnot been so studious of ornament as of truthâ€ (2629). Truth is a crucial element with many layers in this story. It allows Swift to present these satirical Travels under the impression of reality, which makes them more powerful. Swift uses detail and phrases which place the Travels within a recent time period and constantly remind the reader of their supposed truth. For example, he compares his methods of relation with other travel books, and explains why it is necessary to relate certain details by explaining â€œit was necessary to mention this matter, lest the world should think it impossibleâ€¦â€ (2594). Swift is pulling a tricky manoeuvre, acknowledging that while the story may seem unbelievable it is not, though Gulliver and his adventures are in fact a fiction intended to satirize human nature and society. Swift is himself saying the thing which is not, though he does it in order to show truth, as all fiction does.
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. Print.