The Relevance of Eighteenth Century British Literature to Modern Lives

This poem contains Black Nationalist content that refers to the 9/11 attacks. Baraka brilliantly reminds us of the lingering dilemma of slavery in American society. The poem implies that the terrorists who blew up the World Trade Center are no different than white Americans who engage in racial discrimination. The core of this poem is oppression by people of a higher class against those of a lower class, which is an inevitable problem nowadays. This poem is important because it highlights aspects of human's taking control of others based on social and political classes just in the same way that Jonathan Swift saw Europe's exercise of powers on its colonies. Gulliver represents Europe and specifically England on its quest to build empires around the world. The right treatment he gets in Lilliput symbolizes' the exercise of political power by people with bad intentions, yet the people have a positive view of the leaders. Somebody Blew up America will be used to expound of the exploitation of those who are politically weak by those who are politically powerful.

Johnson, Samuel. The Vanity of Human Wishes Andromedia Rutgers, 1749,

The poem attempts to discourage humans against the pursuit of wealth and power because they are all vanity. The poem focuses on the emptiness of all the things that people struggle so hard to achieve in life and also links all those wants to trouble. The poem also dwells on the weakness of human beings such as greed and pride which often gets them into trouble. Johnson's poem is still relevant and will forever be of interest because the nature of human beings drives them to pursue worldly success in the name of money, power, and fame. The work is useful in analyzing the current political quests for power and riches and the vices of greed and pride that bring down those who have attained power and wealth. The poem is an excellent example of eighteenth-century British literature that speaks the issues of the modern society.

Pope, Alexander. "The Rape of The Lock." Archive.Org, 1712,

This mock-epic is a satirical look at the importance that young men of the eighteenth century attached to good grooming and idling in the open courts. The poem also presents the gender roles issue and somehow gives women power over males. The problem with the men portrayed in the "Rape of the Locke" is idleness, with most of them spending time playing card games and gossiping. The problem of laziness is an issue that many youths are grappling with in the modern society because of rising unemployment rates. The significance of this poem is the personal and ethical issues of the 18th century that it highlights which are the same as experienced by today's youth. The other significant contribution of this poem to the current work is the issue of masculinity and femininity. The modern society is getting confused with the two aspects because of the overemphasis on teaching girls to be tough while neglecting the boys who might end up to be like Baron (less masculine). In other words, Pope's poem portrays man as imperfect and over preoccupied with worldly beauty.

Swift, Jonathan. "Gulliver's Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World." Gutenberg.Org, 2009,

The short stories of Gulliver Travels tackle some of the issues that the modern society faces in political and social arenas. In the Gulliver travels, the Voyager tells of the corruption in Britain and how the government officials easily get away with corruption yet several institutions should tame such vices. Also, gulliver's voyages are useful in analyzing the current quest for international superiority or the desire by nations to become the super powers. Jonathan Swift uses the misadventures of to mock the British governance of the 18th century. The concept of wielding power over colonies is still relevant today if interested as the current strive by some nations like North Korea arming themselves with nuclear weapons in readiness for war.

Warren, Robert Penn. All the King's Men. London, Penguin Books, 2007,

The book revolves around the history of slavery in the United States by presenting it as a never ending problem for Americans. The novel insinuates that a hopeful vision for America is impossible with the slavery past hanging on to haunt generations. The author suggests that truth telling is the only way for America to get over the ghost of slavery. Moreover, the book brings out politics of blackmail and tricks that politicians use to keep on top of their jobs. This novel is useful for the proposed paper because it focuses on similar ethical and political issues that the British literature of the eighteenth century tackled. Of greatest significance is the aspect of political tricks similar to Jonathan Swifts' mockery of corruption in England and how politicians thrived on vices. Themes of the novel that are comparable to the Gulliver travels will be used to support the argument that the political, ethical and personal challenges faced by characters in the 18th century are still relevant today.


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