After having been awayfrom his wife and family for many years, it is difficult tounderstand how a man could respond in such a fashion to hisspouse, who had received him with great joy and compassion. Gulliver behaves in this manner due to the vast amount ofbrainwashing and psychological fatigue, which he underwentwhile in Houyhnhnmland. This brainwashing has a lastingeffect on Gulliver’s personality. In the beginning of the story,Gulliver relates that, upon leaving for his voyage overseas, hewas in a “very happy condition” (p. 246).
He has great pride inhis native country of England, and he maintains his proudnature when he first arrives in Houyhnhnmland. Once arrivingin this strange land, Gulliver encounters a group of animalsknown as Yahoos. Gulliver is utterly appalled by thesecreatures. He tells the reader, “The ugly monster. . .
distortedseveral ways every feature of his visage. . . then rated so loudthat a herd . . .
came flocking about me . . . howling and makingodious faces.
Several of this cursed brood. . . leapt up in thetree, from whence they began to discharge their excrementson my head.
. . I was almost stifled with the filth which fellabout me on every side” (p. 248-249).
Gulliver does notconsider the vile creatures to be similar to him. Therefore, hecontinues to search the land for “civilized” creatures. WhenGulliver first meets the Houyhnhnms he has a much differentreaction. Gulliver pays great attention to their “conference,”involving the shaking of their hooves and their neighing indeliberation.
He states that the horses must be rationalcreatures. “I was amazed to see such actions and behaviorsin brute beasts,” he says, “and concluded with myself that ifthe inhabitants of this country were endued with aproportional degree of reason, they must needs be the wisestpeople upon earth” (p. 249). Although Gulliver views thehorses as rational creatures, since they have a language, hedoes not believe that the horses rule the island. Gulliverbelieves that there must be another race of people similar tohimself, and that the horses are simply their servants.
Initially,Gulliver has no intention to stay in Houyhnhnmland. Hedecides to utilize the scarce resources of the land “till I couldmake my escape to some other country, and to creatures ofmy own species” (p. 254). Gulliver’s pride is quickly shakenwhen he is compared to a “detestable” Yahoo. He is”mortified” when he perceives that the Houyhnhnms believehim to be one of those detestable creatures. “I heard the word”Yahoo, often repeated betwixt them,” he says, “the meaningof which word I could not then comprehend, although it werethe first I had learned to pronounce; but I was soon betterinformed, to my everlasting mortification” (p.
252). After hispride is weakened, Gulliver soon becomes very submissive tothe Houyhnhnms. For example, at first, Gulliver refers to hishost as “the master” of the house. However, after only a shortperiod of residing in the horse’s home, Gulliver begins to referto the horse as “my master.
” Gulliver also makes great effortsto learn the Houyhnhnms’ language. The Houyhnhnms,however, make no effort to learn Gulliver’s language, deemingit as “inferior” to their own. The horses view the Yahoos, aswell as Gulliver, as being inferior to them because theypossess no reason. They believe that Gulliver, rather thanpossessing reason of his own, has merely been taught to”imitate a rational creature” (p. 255).
Gulliver soon adopts thisstandpoint of inferiority. When asked to relate the state ofEngland to his master, Gulliver says that his account will”suffer. . .
by translation into our barbarous English” (p. 262). Gulliver then attempts to tell his master of the “wonders” of hishomeland, intending to glorify his country’s virtues. Ratherthan relating “wonders,” however, Gulliver tells his master ofthe atrocities of humankind, such as war,