ENG 262 Kinser Paper 1

Submitted By Aheshea-Kinser
Words: 1527
Pages: 7

Gulliver: The Schizophrenic
After reading Gulliver’s Travels Part IV, it is hard to believe that Gulliver is mentally well. Gulliver exhibits traits to be consistent with the mental illness schizophrenia. According to Personality: Classic Theories and Modern Research, schizophrenia is defined as: “a devastating condition in which a person loses touch with reality. Such people may have delusions, become paranoid, and generally talk or behave very strangely” (Friedman 165). Abnormal Psychology 14th edition states that schizophrenia is “characterized by an array of diverse symptoms, including extreme oddities in perception, thinking, action, sense of self, and manner of relating to others. However, the hallmark of schizophrenia is a significant loss of contact with reality, referred to as psychosis” (Butcher 458). Gulliver exhibits several traits of schizophrenia by the end of the book including: paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized speech. Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine defines paranoia as “an unfounded or exaggerated distrust of others, sometimes reaching delusional proportions. Paranoid individuals constantly suspect the motives of those around them, and believe that certain individuals, or people in general, are “out to get them”” (Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine). The main of example of paranoia that Gulliver exhibits is when he lands in Lisbon with Captain Don Pedro. Gulliver was then taken to the Captain’s house to stay. To quote Gulliver, “He gained so far upon me, that I ventured to look out of the back window. By degrees I was brought into another room, from whence I peeped into the street, but drew my head back in fright”(Swift 310). It is thought that although Gulliver has let some of his inhibitions against the Captain disappear he still cannot tolerate to look outside with fear of being faced with a Yahoo. Another trait of schizophrenia that Gulliver exhibits is delusions. Delusions involve a disturbance in thought. A delusion is “an erroneous belief that is fixed and firmly held despite clear contradictory evidence. The word delusion comes from the Latin verb ludere, which means “to play”. In essence, tricks are played on the mind. People with delusions believe things that others who share their social, religious, and cultural backgrounds do not believe” (Butcher, 460). There are many instances where Gulliver exhibits delusional thoughts. Gulliver’s largest delusion lies within his view of the Yahoo’s. Prior to his voyage, Gulliver does not have a distorted view of the human race. It is while on this voyage that his trust is betrayed by his shipmates who imprison him and cast him ashore on an unknown land. Once arriving on this land he is seemingly attacked by what he believes to be an ugly monster, which we later find out are human-like creatures known as Yahoo’s. Gulliver’s first encounter with the Houyhnhnm’s was when they saved him from the Yahoo’s. From this point forward he develops a fascination with the gentle Houyhnhm species. As Gulliver begins to grow and develop his relationship with the Houyhnhnm’s his hatred for the human population, Yahoo’s, grows stronger. By the time he is banished from the Houyhnhm land the thought of a human repulses him despite the fact that he himself is a human. The biggest example we see of this is when Gulliver returns home to England and is reunited with his family, “…but I must freely confess the sight of them filled me only with hatred, disgust, and contempt; and the more, by reflecting on the near alliance I had to them” (Swift 310). Furthermore, Gulliver is wrapped up in this delusion by seeing his own family as Yahoo’s and is repulsed by the idea of resuming his previous lifestyle with them as evidenced by: “As soon as I entered the house, my wife took me in her arms, and kissed me; at which, having not been used to the touch of that odious animal for so many years, I fell in a swoon for almost an hour. At the time I am writing, it is five