Physical travel is a very good way in exploring which will eventually lead you to discovering new things and at the end be able to reflect on how certain experiences will make changes in life that could be very helpful in the future. Ill be referring to Gullivers Travels and Candide with this essay to show how their journey affected their lives all and all.
Ill start it off with Jonathan Swifts, Gullivers Travel. Even though I only read the last book, Ive already heard of this work when I was a kid. It is about an Englishman who takes off to the seas whenever his business fails. Gulliver ends up in 4 islands, namely; Lilliput, where tiny people lived. They were not at all afraid to used violence against Gulliver but overall, they were very hospitable, in a way that they even risked famine just to feed him. Unfortunately he got convicted but later on got pardoned by the king and eventually went back to his family in England. He then sets sail again and ended up in Brobdingnag, also known as the land of the giants. Here, he was discovered by a farmer but in bad luck, he was sold to the queen and became an entertainer. Gullivers social life was pretty easy but not enjoyable at all. He was often bothered by the natives, whose mistakes are often magnified by their huge size.
Gulliver suffered in this island, like for example, he had difficulty eating because the insects leave slimy trail in his food. There was also a time where in his life was endangered by various forms of animals in the realm. Luckily, his cage was plucked by an eagle and suddenly ended up in the island of Laputa. This island is populated by intellectuals where in he discovered that the research being done there were totally insane. Gulliver was also able to witness the conjuring up of important military leaders, like that of Julius Caesar, which he found less impressive than that of what the he already know from reading the books. Most importantly, he discovered that theres no way that you would know everything in a lifetime and that there will always be something new that you will learn everyday. And finally, he sets out as captain of a ship, but after the mutiny of his crew, he arrives in an unknown land. This land is populated by Houyhnhnms, rational-thinking horses who rule, and by Yahoos, brutish humanlike creatures who serve the Houyhnhnms. Here, he was treated with kindness and courtesy but although he wanted to stay with them for good, the Houyhnhnms wanted him to leave because when his bared body was revealed to the horses they regarded him as very much Yahoo like rather than their kind. With this voyage, Gulliver cannot help now seeing the captainand all humansas shamefully Yahoo like.
The second work is Candide. This story has several themes that ties in with every exploration that all of the characters experienced. The first one is the indulgence of optimism. All throughout the narration of the story both Pangloss and Candide had in mind that everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds. Even though both of them suffered tremendously it did not serve any apparent greater good, but point only to the cruelty and folly of humanity and the indifference of the natural world.
The second theme will be the nonsense use of philosophical speculations. Time and time again, it prevents characters from making realistic assessments of the world around them and from taking positive action to change adverse situations. At the novels conclusion, Candide rejects Panglosss philosophies for an ethic of hard, practical work. With no time or leisure for idle speculation, he and the other characters find the happiness that has so long eluded them. The next themes are both the hypocrisy of religion and the corrupting power of money. When Candide acquires a fortune in Eldorado, arrest and bodily injury are no longer a problem, since he can just easily bribe his way out of most situations. Yet, if anything, Candide is unhappy as a wealthy man because just by watching his money go away into the hands of unscrupulous merchants and officials tests his optimism in a way that no amount of flogging could.
Lastly, if a story has a theme it will also have symbols to represent the abstract concepts. The most important symbol in this novel will be the garden. At the end, Candide and his fellowmen found real happiness in a very simple way and that is by raising vegetables in a garden. This garden, as I could fully understand, symbolizes that it will be the end of their trials and sufferings. In the world outside the garden, people suffer and are rewarded for no discernible cause.
In the garden, however, cause and effect are easy to determine which will be careful planting and cultivation yield good produce. Finally, the garden represents the cultivation and propagation of life, which, despite all their misery, the characters choose to embrace.