By: David Iola, Griffin Powell and Maverick Johnson
Brief Synopsis :
As this novel progresses the reader embarks with Lemuel Gulliver on his very mystical travels across the world. Gulliver encounters four different countries where the people/ animals are unique and mysterious. After a shipwreck left him stranded on an island, he was left in a town named Lilliput, where the citizens were 6 inches tall and the animals were also in proportion. He stays with these people and is viewed as the mountain man. This was the first part of his mystical journey. After returning home gulliver decides to go on another journey, and this time he gets left on another mysterious island after his crew got scared and left him. To his surprise this island was inhabited by giants, and they used him at first as a method of making money, but then he was adored by the queen. Throughout his adventure with the giants he was travelled in a carrying box and taken care of by a young sweet girl giant named Glumdalclitch. for two years he stayed with the giants and finally a giant eagle swooped down, grabbed his carrying box, and dropped him back into sea. This was the second part to Gulliver’s mystical journey. After returning home once again, he is approached by a friend wanting to go out on another expedition. Unable to resist the excitement,Gulliver sets out once more. This time his ship is raided by pirates and they set him afloat a one person canoe to fend for himself in the middle of the ocean. Gulliver once again reaches another island, yet this time instead of the island possessing some mystical creature, he notices that there is another giant island floating in the air towards him. Gulliver climbs onto the island and it flies off towards their mainland. During this experience he is accompanied by people of normal stature but with very strange ideals. The carry around flappers and “flap” each other for attention or to speak, and also believe that the earth is going to disintegrate in 100 years. Leaving the floating island but staying in their mainland Gulliver goes to one of their academies and notices how farfetched and ignorant some of their ideas are. Such as building a house from the roof down, or turning ice into gunpowder, or extracting sun beams out of cucumbers. Gulliver continues on to two more cities, Glubbdubdrib, the city of magicians, enables him to speak to anyone from the past and learn their knowledge, then he returns to Luggnagg, where he finds immortal people and his way back to Japan and England. His fourth and final travel involved him going to a place where savage humans were ruled by intelligent horses. Gulliver spends time learning their language and eventually comes to understand and appreciate them. He shows a gradual loss of faith in humanity and the whole story reflect human ignorance and stupidity.
The themes of human ignorance/ stupidity and the theme of whether strength or intelligence should rule both apply to society today. After all of these years on the same planet, no one has found any of these societies, represents the stupidity of human nature. Swift utilizes this satire to emphasize how we as human are oblivious to major things in our lives and miss the obvious. He makes subtle hints that some people indulge themselves too deep into their beliefs or into status or into resources that they don’t see what is really around them. The theme of strength vs knowledge also pertains to society because of the conflict with wars and maybe even just locally with bullying. The question is always brought up throughout the novel of which side should be in power.
Scene 1) Right after he is shipwrecked on to lilliput and is tied down by the little people is an important scene because it is the start to his mystical journey. At first he is at disbelief at how small the people are, then he comes to realization and conforms to their society.
Scene 2) All the times he returns home to his wife after each adventure, but then continues to leave her is an important scene because it shows the theme of human ignorance and how stupid he is. Gulliver has just gone through two of the most strange occurrences yet thinks nothing of it and thinks nothing of being away from his wife for this long. Also, his wife thinks that he has been dead for years yet still lets him go on more excursions, they never really spend time with each other.
Scene 3) After he gets rescued by the portuguese ship he doesn’t want to go home because of how inferior humans are and their resemblance to yahoos. Gulliver becomes obsessed with the horse species and their beliefs, and it turned him against his own kind. This scene also brings out the theme of human ignorance and also shows how quickly humans are to come to judgement and curse something inferior.
The movie I watched was very well structured and represented. Although they switched the plot around by having Gulliver be on his travels the whole time without going home, and having him tell the story from a mental hospital, the themes of the book were very ingeniously shown in the movie. I thought that they could have had Gulliver come home after at least one voyage only because the wives human ignorance is really shown through her letting him leave every time. A big part that did not work was in Gulliver’s second travel with the giants when his giant farmer used him as the “spirit of the cornfield” rather than a little man that entertains for money. This prevented the actual showing of how miserable Gulliver actually was when with the farmer in the book. In terms of depicting the four journeys and the characters within them, the movie director did exceptionally well. All the characters and the societies in the movie were spot on in comparison to the book. The only major thing I felt did not work as well was the omission of the king of giants and having there only be a queen. But even though they didn’t follow the direct plot line of the book, the movie plot worked very well and made the story more interesting.
In our new interpretation, we would display Gulliver’s travels in the present tense and not as a flashback from a psychiatric hospital. The whole story would be based upon how Gulliver reacts to each situation and when he returns home, how the citizens of England react. This would create a new center for depicting individual themes, and provide an aspect more similar to the books. The setting would be on Gulliver’s ship in the middle of a storm back in the late 17-1800’s. The ship would get destroyed and Gulliver would be washed up on the island of Lilliput. The movie would consist of the same characters as the book with maybe a little more emphasis on the giant farmer, and the king of Laputan. I would also add another over emphasis on the academy and how ignorant everybody is in that environment. The key plot highlights would be the times during all of his journeys when he starts describing England to each king. Putting emphasis on how each society reacts, such as the resentment from the king of the giants, and the confusion from the horse. The significant changes to the story I would make would be to have each society almost similar to that of Gullivers, and making the only difference between them there ideals/ beliefs of government and how the world works. For instance, the floating island of Laputa would be just like England but Laputa is based off of intelligence rather than parliament. I would also maybe take out the flappers that the people use. I would also try to make some of the stories more realistic and not as farfetched. Such as the immortals and the magically appearing people from the past by the magician, and try to put logical reasoning behind each these occurrences. Otherwise, the new movie would follow along almost exactly to the plot of the book in order to preserve Jonathan Swift’s satirical message and effectively portray his intended theme.
Lemuel Gulliver: The main character of the book that goes on all of these travels. He is a very intelligent man being able to speak many languages. He is very normal in stature but always has a sense of intellect of deep observation. He has well manners and always knows how to please someone. Gulliver has to always be accepting of the weird situations he is confronted with, he never panics. One main scene he plays a key part in is the seizing of all the Blefuscudian ships in order to prevent war. This scene shows his loyalty and his smartness. First choice modern day actor would have to be Jack Black, and the second choice modern day actor would probably be Ashton kutcher.
The Lilliput Emperor: Initially he is very friendly and welcoming towards Gulliver, but then he progresses into a very mean person who wants to gouge Gulliver’s eyes out. The emperor is depicted as being somewhat older and somewhat playful. The Lilliputian rituals are very ridiculous, thus their leader also is. As emperor he is very controlling yet very understanding. He takes council from his fellow commanders but in the end his word always wins. The actor portraying the emperor must be an authority figure, father figure, of an older age, and playful. This personality is best shown during the scene when the emperor instructs Gulliver to seize Blefuscudian ships and especially afterwards when he is reward with a parade but then hated for his crimes. The first choice modern day actor to cast would be Jeff Bridges and the second choice would be Kelsey Grammer.
The Giant Farmer: This farmer is the giant who first discovered Gulliver on the island of Brobdingnag. He is depicted as a burly gentlemen that is very self centered and not really caring. His image is that of strength yet weak personality and respect. This is best shown when he makes Gulliver entertain other giants for money. After Gulliver does so for weeks, he is practically dead, yet the giant doesn’t care. The actor portraying this character would have to be big bodied and dirty and mean, thus the first choice modern day actor would be Robbie Coltrane, and the second choice actor would be Jorge Garcia.
Flimnap: This person is a Lilliputian who despises Gulliver and thinks that he is a terrible thing to have in their country. Flimnap tries to find excuses and every little detail to persuade the emperor that Gulliver needs to leave or be executed. He is very evil and deceptive, but very open about his hatred. In general he is a mean spirited person that seems to hold grudges on people. This is shown throughout the whole time Gulliver is at Lilliput and more specifically when he goes up to the emperor and tries to persuade him to execute Gulliver. The first choice modern day actor would be William Forsythe, and the second choice would be James Caan.
Glumdalclitch: She is the young teenage giant who enjoys taking care of Gulliver. She is very sweet and will do anything to not let Gulliver get harmed. From her description we can tell that she a very pretty young girl who can take care of herself and others. This is evident from the home she made Gulliver, clothes she sewed for Gulliver, and the food she gave him while he was on that island. The first choice modern actress for her role would be Willow Shields, and the second choice would be Elle Fanning.
Mrs. Mary Burton Gulliver: She is Gulliver’s wife who is very vaguely described throughout the book. We know that she cares very much for him but she also doesn’t really depict her love because she’s always letting him go on more expeditions right after she gets him back. This is also because Gulliver also never shows any love for her, he never mentions how much he misses her during his travels. Mrs. Gulliver’s personality seems to be that of being very kind and caring yet very relaxed. She is displayed as much of a worrier, but she also does have deep affection for Gulliver. This is shown when Gulliver returns home from one of his travels and is embraced by her very lovingly, then afterwards she lets him go out again almost as if she doesn’t care. The first choice modern actress would be Angelina Jolie and the second choice would be Amanda Seyfried.
The Giant King: The giant king is portrayed as a very assertive figure and well learned and controlling. He is set in his society's ways and very judgemental to opposition or anything that go against them. He wears nice clothes and lives in a palace as the ruler over his entire country. The giant king does enjoy company and talking about things. His personality is best shown throughout the scene of when him and Gulliver talk about England’s government and how much he despises it. The king hates how the people of England could live under such conditions that are not like his. Which is why he doesn’t like opposition. The first choice modern day actor would be Leonardo DiCaprio and the second choice would be Colin Firth.
Munodi : He is the man that takes Gulliver around Balnibarbi and explains why the land is so Barren. In many ways he is just like Gulliver. He realizes that the whole intelligence aspect isn’t the way to go about living life. Munodi is very kind and friendly. He is also very smart with the capacity to separate the logical from illogical. He is depicted as a lord meaning he wears fancy clothes and is looked up upon by almost all citizens. His key moment in the story is when he walks with Gulliver around his country and explains the cause for its wasteland look, and how he differs in belief from others. His true personality and ideals come out and the reader gains a lot of insight from the talk. The first choice modern day actor would be Sendhil Ramamurthy and the second choice would be Ashton Kutcher.
Don Pedro: He is the captain of the Portuguese ship that picks Gulliver up after his voyage to the country of the Houyhnhnms. The captain is portrayed as a person who likes to help people and get to know them better. His key scene in the book is when him and Gulliver are on the ship and he persist to try and get to know him even though Gulliver thinks he is inferior. This does not stop him from trying to help Gulliver, thus also making him very determined. Don Pedro is dressed very nicely being a captain but offers his clothes to Gulliver as a sign of kindness. The first choice modern day actor would be Amaury Nolasco and the second choice would be Javier Bardem.
The Giant Queen: She is always around the palace while Gulliver is there. But she is most noted when Gulliver is eating with her at the dinner table. She is described as being huge in size and very disgusting as she eats. The queen was the person who bought Gulliver off of the farmer. She is a very graceful figure who possesses wit and humor. She is kind and cares for Gulliver, and enjoys his beauty and charms. The first choice modern day actress would be Melissa McCarthy and the second choice would be Queen Latifah.
Reldresal: The Principal Secretary of Private Affairs in Lilliput, who explains to Gulliver the history of the political tensions between the two principal parties, the High-Heels and the Low-Heels. Reldresal functions more as an informant rather than a character the reader really gets to know personally. His key scene in the book is in fact when he was talking politics with Gulliver, and one thing that we could tell is that he has courage and faith in trust. The first choice modern day actor would be Matt Damon and the second choice would be Matthew McConaughey.
- Setting: The overall setting would be Britain and the Caribbean, with Gulliver’s home being in Britain while his adventures take place in the Caribbean. Britain fits because it is a general location for Gulliver’s home and can fit in any time period. The Caribbean fits because it consists of many island nations that can serve as each location that Gulliver travels to. Lilliput, the country on the island of which Gulliver washes up on, is described most like a monarch-type country in the novel, for there is an emperor, servants, and a palace in the capital city. In a modern interpretation of the book, the setting for Lilliput would most likely be Cuba, because in the Caribbean, it is the closest thing to Lilliput’s rule, having one man run the country and is the biggest, most powerful country. Their rival island nation, Blefuscu, would most likely be Puerto Rico, based off of its relation with the United States. The history between Cuba and the US parallels the relationship between Lilliput and Blefuscu because of their negative relationship, and Puerto Rico is the closest thing to a U.S. island.
- Costumes: The costume for Gulliver would be a modern English outfit: a shirt and tie with a vest, and a coat. He is educated and works as a doctor/surgeon, so I assume he dresses appropriately. The costumes of the Lilliputs would be ancient such as Greek and Roman attire. I believe this is best because they are a country that has never encountered the outside world, so they would be unaware of the evolution around them. It also fits their description because they are a monarch with an emperor. They wear armor and carry swords, and the civilians wear cloths.
- Music: In this particular setting, the music would be intense during the shipwreck because of fierce storms and rocky waves. When he journeys onto Lilliput and finally gets recognized as a hero, music would be more celebratory and uplifting. With every action that Gulliver takes, such as stealing the Blefescu ships, different arrangements of music should accompany them, For instance, a very sneaky and slow tone of music when stealing the ships and very congratulatory and upbeat tone when they win the war. This music would be present throughout the movie and correlates to each scene.
- Setting: The setting of Brobdingnag would be the island of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, but the country would be only the Dominican Republic. This is because the D.R.’s geography fits Brobdingnag’s quite well. There is a mountain range on the west border, and the other three borders are connected with the sea. Also, there are rivers that are one of the main sources of food in the country, just like Brobdingnag. The country’s capital, Santo Domingo, can be the largest city in Brobdingnag, Lorbrulgrud. This would be where the King and Queen reside, for it is the largest city and the most wealthy.
- Costumes: The costumes of the giants would be very dirty and poor, because they are described as filthy and smelly by Gulliver. The non-royalty giants would wear dirty rags and cloths for clothing, while the King and Queen and citizens of the largest city would occupy nicer clothes that actually have pants and shirts. The transition needs to be noticeable when Gulliver is taken to Lorbrulgrud; a transition from poor to rich.
- Music: The music for this setting would be intense when the monsoon swoops the boat to the island, and suspenseful when Gulliver is wandering the land. When he sees his boat has left him, the music would be surprising, followed by mellow, sad music. When he begins to realize the extreme height and size of everything, the music should be eventful, like in Jurassic Park when the land and dinosaurs are first shown. When he transitions from the poor, farming giants to the royal giants, the music should shift to elegant and proper.
- Setting: The setting of Laputa would be a very advanced floating society. Although there are no real floating societies in the real world, the island we would use would have to be small in circumference, therefore the island Hawaii would be perfect. Not only is it relatively smaller but the volcano in the middle would act as the mountain that the King's palace rests on. We could use an isolated region to depict the cramped living areas of Laputa, and compact a sizable population within it. Then we can use other parts of the island as the mainland, and the other cities in the country. Since the mainland is barren due to the academies experiments, Hawaii would once again be perfect since its land has been scorched by lava and is mostly barren rock or grassland.
- Costume: The people on the floating island are considered to be the smartest people in the land, therefore they would be wearing very rich robes and outfits. They would also be equipped with their own flapper. The actual outfit would resemble more of a higher class Indian intellectual who wear the fanciest and most expensive attire. The people on the mainland would wear regular clothes, and go about everyday life with no exceedingly high social status.
- Music: The music for this setting would be profound when he sees the floating island and the people on it. When he learns of their customs and their odd behavior, it should be surprising, to show that he is confused and surprised by their ways. When he visits the lower island, the music should be dull and boring, because their lifestyle compared to the floating island is much worse. When he is finally able to leave the island, the music should be relieving and upbeat because he has yearned to leave for quite some time.
- Setting: The setting of the Houyhnhnm society is not highly detailed in the novel, but I imagine it to be of valleys, mountains, and forests. This would be similar to Jamaica, for it occupies forests, has mountain ranges, and has vast land. The Yahoos would live in the forests as savages and animals, while the Houyhnhnms would live in simple houses in the valley regions with a city square that holds the grand assemblies. Although not necessarily depicted in the story, in the movie the mountain range of Jamaica could be the separation between the Yahoos and Houyhnhnms, only having the coast as a way to each side.
- Costumes: The costumes of the Yahoos would be simply loincloths covering their private regions, because they are uncivilized and in the book they are naked, but that wouldn’t be acceptable in the movie. The Houyhnhnm’s costumes would be nothing, because they are simply talking horses, so they don’t need attire.
- Music: The music of this setting would be mostly peaceful and upbeat, because Gulliver begins to love the Houyhnhnms and their intelligence. When he first arrives and sees the Yahoos for the first time, the music would be surprising, and when they attack him, it would be fast and upbeat. There should be a change in music when he goes to live with the Yahoos, because their way of living is far less civilized than the Houyhnhnms. When he is banished, the music would be depressing and gloomy, because it would show how disappointed he is that he cannot live with the creatures he has become so accustomed to.