A motherly view of Jonathan Swift

by Andrea Elizabeth

Seeing as his father died before he was born (from the bio in Wikipedia, linked yesterday), and how he was sent away to live with others, one can see how human relationships take on a more studied nature in his writings. He had a relationship with a parentless young servant girl, who he renamed Stella, at one of his posts, which lasted him a lifetime in correspondence at least. I wonder if this relationship is portrayed in Part II with his nurse who was assigned to carry him about and feed him and such. It seems to me that he looked to this girl  as a mother figure, even though she was underage. Both of them were in unnatural circumstances so I believe Swift was emotionally stymied, had disordered affections, and was too intellectually cultivated, as well as very creative. Therefore, Gulliver’s Travels.

C.S. Lewis has a similar background with the death of his mother when he was 9, and his being sent off to boarding school. However, I believe his longer relationship with his parent, his formative encounter with joy in the terrarium when he was young, and his Christianity, influenced by George MacDonald, made him better in touch with heavenly realities. His influences were not completely orthodox because his view of paradise and God are a bit removed and till then, which I think may be platonist, or simply a result of not seeking to be received into the Orthodox Church there and then.

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