How the Utopain Genre's Purpose Aligns with the Thesis of the Two Texts

Submitted By BrandonVu
Words: 1165
Pages: 5

Thomas More sparked the Utopian genre by naming it and referring to it in his book Utopia, in the novel More uses satirical meanings and ambiguities to reveal and conceal his criticism about his society. More's influence is evident in Jonathan Swift's novel" Gulliver's travels" where it similarly attempts to satirise Swift's criticisms through a novel however taking it to a more cynical direct level. Gulliver's travels was chosen due to the obvious influences by Utopia evident in the text. Both composers were similarly driven by the faults of their society and strove towards Utopian perfection and therefore expressed their criticism and ideals by using the utopian genre.
Both criticisms and suggestions work together to improve. Thomas More's main ideals for Utopia was equality, due to his background (renaissance period) there was a very unequal distribution of income, due to this the lower class society had to turn to stealing just to survive. "They create thieves, then punish them for stealing" this is evidence to suggest More's disregard for inequality, he then expresses suggestions to fix this through creating an Utopian society with a diverse verisimilitude law processes which emphasizes universal labour and minimal possessions, therefore More expressed his criticisms as well as suggestions underneath the ambiguous meanings of Utopia. On the other hand Jonathan Swift favoured logic over equality, this is portrayed through his own verisimilitude Utopian land of the Hounnyhms, however unlike More instead of suggesting a solution such as equality, Swift solely focuses on criticising his society satirically to get his ideals across. For example the Swift uses the characters as allegories for the faults of mankind for example, the Yahoo's symbolise humans at their worst, this is then amplified when Gulliver is slowly recognised as one. This satirically criticizes mankind for all his faults. So in an attempt to vocalise the need for a higher level of logic, Swift criticises in an attempt to improve. Therefore by using the Utopian genre and juxtaposing it against societies, both authors identify several flaws that need to be rectified.
The word Utopia is a paradox therefore the meaning is unattainable. Another one of More's ideals was he acknowledged a perfect society is not possible "no society can be perfect, until human beings are perfect", therefore More directly states thesis was not to perfect society but rather to improve it. Similarly Swift expresses mankind's incompatibility with perfection through the hounhymh's purely logical minds juxtaposed against Gulliver's hybrid logical and emotional mind. The result is human beings are incapable of pure percent logic therefore the ideal society the hounhyms can't work for humans. All aside both texts used the Utopian genre in two different ways: More to portray their ideal values and concepts by directly stating his suggestion and Swift where he juxtaposes a utopian society against his current society to display criticism.
Criticisms and suggestions can co exist when both contributing to the issue at hand. More's main ideal was equality so therefore he implemented ideas by providing inter textual references to Plato's society as well as using his characters as allegories to represent the meaning of: Universal labour where everyone is working therefore they can increase productivity and shorten the time each individual has to work. On the other hand Swift's suggestions are portrayed through subtle satires such as the "high heels and low heels" to differentiate two different political parties. Despite not actually mentioning it, the purpose of the satire is to make the audience identify the stupidity in the matter and trigger an idea that more logic is required. Another one of More's ideals was to not take more than you need this is expressed in the following statement to the King "I therefore advise him to concentrate on the kingdom that his ancestors handed down to him