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A Beautiful Young Nymph Going To Bed

Jonathan Swift

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Thank God for Swift
2002-07-23
Added by: Andrew Mayers
In ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ there is a passage when Gulliver is in Brobdingnag and we are given a description of a woman’s breast. It is described FROM the perspective of a man six inches tall, so it appears to be the equivalent of ten feet across. We see the hairs, the spots, the blemishes and other imperfections. A much-needed corrective in these days of glittering surfaces. All is vanity.

“I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.”
‘Gulliver’s Travels’

Is the poem a good mirror, ladies? You may not think so, but only because the truth will ouch.
2003-10-29
Added by: concerned citizen
It is about Prostitution, in case you missed that
Satirising Social Attitudes
2004-03-15
Added by: Charles Audley
Swift's poem is an excellent example of satire. It is derogatory towards both men and woman in the way in which women are driven to prostitution because they have no other options and men are driven to engaging in sexual intercourse with prostitutes in exchange for money. Dirty old business men who need to get a quick do to get their end away! It is dispicable, and the way in which Swift describes the diminished woman in physical terms and the men psychologically, it evokes moral disgust. The satirising of social attitudes in the poem makes one think and when stepping back to gain a more objective angle, although written centuries ago the same things occur in the present day, the element of duplicity in society now and then is shocking. There are lessons which can be taught through this poem and other pieces of literature like it, however whether people choose to acknowledge and try to learn from them is a different question.

Other works which i would recommend which satirise social attitudes and make one think about society and the not so peachy centre under the silver lining - "1984" by George Orwell; "The Canterbury Tales" by Chaucer (physical detail to reveal psychological traits); Pope; Dryden; Butler; Auden; Atwood.
A few meanings of this poem
2004-09-30
Added by: Centenary College Student
Although it seems he's mocking a prostitue, he's really sympathizing and showing all the dirty men a look behind the "peep show", at what they may really be dealing with. He's sympathizing and feels sorry for her...

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