As Satires employ a different kinds of narrators and speakers, and the reader cannot therefore assume that the speaker or storyteller is the author or speaks (directly) for the author. The Rape of the Lock (text of poem) has an omniscient third-person narrator, whereas the same author's "Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot" presents an idealized version of Pope as the speaker. In contrast, Swift's "Gulliver's Travels uses a created character in a most complex and varying way. In the first book, which mocks England by having Gulliver describe six-inch beings whose customs resemble those of England, Swift's character usually presents the author's views, though indirectly; in the second, which mocks England by having Gulliver now the tiny figure, Gulliver becomes the target of satire as a means of mocking England; in the voyages of the third book, Gulliver again becomes more agent than target, but in the last, the darkest of the four, Gulliver, now a satiric everyman, becomes the target again. Similarly, in "A Modest Proposal" Swift creates a figure who becomes almost an allegorical representative of his audience. Where in each of these works can you see the author peeking through? what differences (in tone, language, or whatever) seem to indicate such change?
Incorporated in the Victorian Web July 2000