Gulliver's Self-Awareness

When Gulliver encounters Lilliput, he is initially lacking in self-reflection and self-awareness. He makes no mention of his emotions, passions, dreams or aspirations, and he shows no interest in describing his own psychology to the reader. By the end of the satire, Gulliver has come close to a sense of self-knowledge in his unhinged belief that he is a Yahoo. His revulsion with the human condition, shown by his poor treatment of Don Pedro, extends to himself, so that he ends the book in a disguised state of self-hatred. Swift seems to be telling the reader that self-knowledge has its limits much like theoretical knowledge does as well. That if we look too closely at ourselves we may no longer be able to continue living happily.
In book one, “A Voyage to Lilliput,” when Gulliver finds himself lost in a world much smaller than his own, he proves himself to be quite naïve and impressionable. Gulliver thinks of the toy-like Lilliputians to be perfect and innocent. When he is tied to the ground by their troops, Gulliver still shows an idolization for the strangers; “Besides, I now considered myself bound by the laws of hospitality to a people who had treated me with so much expense and magnificence”(Swift, Jonathan. “Gulliver’s Travels” Doubleday & Company. 1945. Garden City, New York. Pp 9) He refers to their six inch high emperor as “His Imperial Majesty” and mindlessly agrees to perform all their demands, even though he could easily overpower the tiny nation. His services are soon exploited and the Lilliputians banish Gulliver. Once he realizes how cruel and deceitful the Lilliputians truly are his personality begins to transform.
In “A Voyage to Brobdingnag”, Gulliver confronts an opposite situation, for in the world of Brobdingnag everything is much larger; “He appeared as tall as an ordinary spire-steeple” (pp.72) Gulliver says of the inhabitants. Freshly hardened by his hostile experiences on Lilliput, he approaches this new society from the beginning with...