She doesn’t wear a burkha, but never steps out without a hijah. She has picked up a smattering of Dari, and travels around the beautiful war-ravaged Afhan countryside without bodyguard What’s more, Bhawna Agarwal loves the local mehman nawazi so much that she lives as a house guest with an Afghan family in Kabul. This when most foreigners in the city cannot imagine living outside a UN-approved safe guest­house with shatter-proof windows, high barbwired walls and a burly pathan to guard its gates. No wonder, Bhawna finds her life in the badlands of Afghanistan “exciting, challenging and adventurous with enough risk involved.”

But Bhawna is not alone. Ever since the guns have died down in the picturesque Kabul valley, and the world is doing its bit to reconstruct the war-torn country piece-by-piece, thou­sands of foreigners have made the country their home. From UN agencies to NGOs, private donor agencies to MNCs. everyone now has a presence in this country once overrun by the Tulibans. Interestingly, many among these have attracted Indian women, who have given up their cushy life, to work in the strife-torn country.

They are ordinary women, living extraordinary lives. They brave threats, face restrictions and sometimes, have close shaves too – – after all working in Afghanistan is not for the faint-hearted. But they are a confident and adventurous lot.

Take Pushpa Pathak. A senior urban development advi­sor to the Kabul municipality, Pushpa has been working there since 2004. Initially, she worked for the UN and her job in­volved travelling from Kandahar to Bamiyan and Herat “I knew the situation outside Kabul was very different. In Kandahar for example, there were hardly any women on the streets. I was the only woman amongst the 50-odd partici­pants at the Kandahar Action Planning Workshop. Foreign­ers had curfew from 6 pm to 6 am and were not allowed to move outside the green zone,” she says. Yet, she dared to go back again after her UN term ended, this time to work for the Kabul municipality.

Incidentally, Pushpa has already had two close encoun­ters. Once in 2004, when a bomb exploded so close to her guest house that it shattered the glass windows. The second time was in May 2005, when antiforeigner riots raged through Kabul, and several guesthouses where foreigners stayed were vandalized. She was caught in her office in the Kabul mu­nicipality and had to flee by jumping walls.

Bhawna, too, has been working for two years as a free­lance business consultant for Livelihood Promotion. “I came on the invitation of my friend,” she says. Now, her work takes her all around the country. “I have travelled all around and found being an Indian is an advantage. They respect us a lot. However as a woman people do expect us to behave in a certain manner”. And while travelling to the east and south one has to be extra careful- people there are very conserva­tive. “During my trips, I was accompanied by a mehram, which means, a male member from the family accompanies the women everywhere. So my friend’s brother came along. More importantly, outside Kabul, the initiative has to come from the person accompanying me, only then are the men willing to talk,” Bhawna explains.

So, how do the locals react to a single women living alone? Pushpa says the fact that she’s living alone does sur­prise most Afghans. ‘They live in extended families and can­not understand why anybody should live alone, be it a man or woman. In the workplace, the men are generally formal and polite, ‘initially, my colleagues were reserved and not sure how to react to a senior women advisor. That’s because I am the only senior women the Kabul municipality ever had at the management level. It took me some time to establish trust and professional credibility. Now, I’m integrated in the system and work normally.”

Interestingly, all these women have realized adapting to the culture does make life easier for them. Most of them have made minor changes in their clothes to fit in. Like Jyotsna Rege who has been in Kabul for eight months and works for Ariana Airlines. “I chose to cover my head because I believe ‘fitting in’ keeps one secure and I have not encountered any problem so far. In fact, all working women wear formal clothes, so, my clothes never attracted much attention. People couldn’t even guess I was an Indian,” she says. And it’s not the Afghan women are not in touch with the latest in the fashion world. “Everyone is very conscious about the way they look, especially the women. They spend a-lot on clothes and under those burkhas they wear the most beautiful and fashionable gowns,” Bhawna adds.

But life is not easy for these brave hearts. For, they don’t have the freedom of moving around and doing mundane things like shopping, hopping on to a bus, or watching a movie. Their social life is restricted to meeting guesthouse mates in the dining room and cooking during weekends. Even if they do step out for the occasional dinner in a fancy restaurant, they have to be back within the stipulated time. What’s more, some­times they have to cancel appointments due to sudden secu­rity alerts.

Besides, food too could become an issue especially, if you are a vegetarian. I’m a hardcore vegetarian and that is a problem. There are no ready to-eat vegetarian food available either in the market or restaurants here. Besides, seeing meat hanging all around the place makes me nervous even today” says Bhawna.

So, do they ever feel scared? Sometimes, but they keep alert and follow the security restrictions, “During win­ters, I used to feel uncomfortable after sunset. But I engrossed myself in books and kept away from negative news. Also, I kept in touch with the Indian embassy. And yes91 picked up hobbies that I had given up or had no time for in India”.

Yet, nothing really deters them, not even emotional out­pourings from their family members back home. Pushpa says her brothers were against her working in Afghanistan, but knowing her adventurous nature, they gave in. So did Bhawna’s family. Of course, they are worried but they sup­port their brave daughter all the way. As Bhawna stuns up, “I enjoy being here with all its challenges. It’s exciting to be in a different environment where things can happen anytime. But working with the community makes me happy and satis­fied. And I would want to be here until I can keep getting work and make a small difference to people’s lives.”

ANCIENT GREECE: Essay Writing Topics


Geographical Location

The Ancient Greek civilization was located on today’s Greek land, Ionian Islands, Asia Minor, South Italy, and Sic­ily. It is surrounded by mountains and in the north by water. The Ionian and the Aegean seas, together with natural islands and bays, gave the Greeks the opportunity to develop their maritime commerce and their rich culture. The mountains, which surrounded Greece, gave us the picture of its political character.

From early times, the Greeks lived in independent set­tlements, and they were isolated from one another. Later, these settlements grew up into “poles” or city-states.

The Mediterranean Sea moderates Greeks climate cool­ing air in summer and warmth in winter period. Summers are generally hot and dry, and winters are mild and rainy in coastal regions. In mountain, region winters are stronger.

Greek’s History

The Greek civilization has made great contributions in many areas to western society. Greeks scientists made revolutionary discoveries in medicine, mathematics, physics, and astronomy. They also developed the expression of individu­ality. Those are only some reasons why the Greek civilization was and still is one of the most important civilizations in the world.

Time Periods

  1. Protogeometric Style (1100-900 BC)

The protogeometric period is time of economic and cul­tural depression. The depths of this depression occurred from circa 1100 to 1050 BC. This period is also known as the Sub Mycenaean period on the Greek mainland and Minoan period on the island of Crete. Contribution made by the Minoan and Mycenaean Empire to the creation of the Greek civiliza­tion, helped them to develop their own Empire. The use of iron and the cremation of the dead became the greatest progress in Greek civilization. The urns for the ashes are among the most characteristic vessels of that period.

  1. The Geometric Period (900-700 BC)

This period, the Geometric period, is well known by many transformations and startling innovation in Greek ar­chitecture and sculpture. The population has increased, and people have moved from the isolated settlements to the city states. The Greeks also moved to the new territories to the east, and to the west. In that, new-concurred territories, the Greeks founded commercial trading posts and colonies. Also in this period, new script was adopted the Semitic alphabeti­cal script, which was encountered through contact with the Phoenicians. The polities formalized, so the need for build­ing temples became popular.

  1. The Early Archaic Period (700-600 BC)

During the Early Archaic period, the concept of polis became very developed. The Greeks continued with colonialization. Locations, such as Cyrene on the North Afri­can cost and Massilia in southern France became Greeks colo­nies. One may say that Greeks suddenly began to launch these overseas projects. The commercial trade between Greece and Egypt, Anatolia and the Levant, developed. Because of these imports from the eastern parts of the world, one could feel the “eastern culture” impact on Greeks architecture and sculp­ture. This period had also the significant impact on Greeks architecture; the first Greek monumental stone sculpture ap­peared, and the Doric and Ionic architectural orders were born.

  1. The Archaic Period (600-479 BC)

Even though the most powerful and the most important city states were ruled by tyrants they continued to rise. The Greeks adopted a massive building program, and the Attica region started to dominate in the pottery market for about the whole century. By the beginning of the Archaic period large statues of nudes of males “kuroi” and draped female “kuroi” were produced. In those times, huge temples with cult im­ages were built all around the Greek Empire.

Troubles came from the east ant the west. The Persians wanted to take control over the Greek land, but finally the Persians lost their fight. The Greeks celebration of that vic­tory left many signs in their culture.

  1. The Classical Period (479-323 BC)

By the end of the Persian war, the Classical period started. This was the period when the city of Athens had the greatest political and cultural power principles of democracy estab­lished, the Parthenon was built, and philosophical schools of Socrates and Plato were founded. During the late 5th century BC century, the war between Athens and Sparta took place. After many years of fight, Sparta finally won, and took con­trol over the Greek land. That event destroyed democracy and started to return tyranism.

In the first half of the 4th century BC, another war took place in the Greeks land: the war between Athens, Sparta and Thebes. At the end, peace was finally established when Sparta took overall control, backed by Persia. In the second half of the 4th century BC, Phillip II and his son Alexandar the Great took control over the Greek world. Finally the Classical periods ends at the same time as the Alexandar the Great died in the age of 32 (323BC).

  1. The Hellenistic Period (323-31BC)

When the Alexandar the Great died (323BC), the land was split into three portions. The first portion was ruled by Antigonid dynasty, and it spread throughout the mainland of the Greece. The Seleucids ruled the second portion, and it consisted of the eastern empire, and the third, the Ptolemies governed the largest portion of the territory the land of an­cient Egypt. In this time the greatest advances were made in terms of engineering, physics, astronomy and mathematics. In Alexandria the great libraries were founded. The old be­liefs in Olimp were influenced by the “Orient” religions and  cultures.

In the 3rd century BC, one could clearly see the rise of the Ancient Rome. Step by step, the Romans took control over almost the whole Greek territories. The city of Corinth was destroyed in 146 BC, Aethens captured in 86 BC, and finally Cleopatra and Mark Anthony defeated at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC. That year is considered as the end of the Ancient Greek Empire, and it was just the beginning of the Great Roman Empire.

The Greeks Everyday Life

The archeologist could only find rare signs of the pri­vate life of the ancient Greece. The only way to figure out what was their private life like were scenes on Black Figure and Red Figure pottery made in Athens during the 6th and 5th century BC.

Very often, the evening meal followed by the special occasions such as symposium. The Symposium is a drinking party organized by the host, and they were normally attended by male guests, but could also include female entertainers and servants. The interior of these drinking parties showed music and revelry. On the exterior, six-party attendant sang and danced.

Women’s Life

The Greek women did not have power, political right to vote, and men controlled them. Duties of women who lived in the cities were different of the one who lived in a rural area. The city-woman had to raise the children (desirable male baby), and to run the household. The rural-woman also had to raise children and to do some agriculture work.

The Greek woman had very strictly limited lime outside the house. The exceptions were only some occasions such as weddings, funerals, and religious festivals, where a Greek woman was expected to play prominent public role.

Clothes for women were normally made from available materially wool or flax- and these clothes were made at home. The most commonly clothes were the “chiffon” or tunic and “himation” or cloak.

Men’s Life

Men in the ancient Greece were much buster than women. Their primary occupation was politics, arts and crafts, construction, agriculture, manufacturing and trade. At the Greeks vase painting, men’s outdoor life was very good illus­trated. Their primary relaxations were horse riding and hunt­ing.

At first, only the aristocratic boys had a chance to edu­cate themselves. After, in the 4th century BC, all eighteen-year males spent two years in gymnasium. Gymnasium was a state school devoted to overall physical and intellectual development of a young man. More advanced education in phi­losophy, mathematics, logics, and rhetoric was available to the aristocracy in highly selected gymnasium like the acad­emy of Plato and the Lycaeum of Aristotle.



The fundamental purposes of law enforcement are the serve and protect the individuals of society. Rough treatment is often times afflicted upon unruly citizens as an alternative reform of discipline. Police abuse remains one of the most serious and divisive human rights violations of today. The secrecy, stress, and dangers of police work leads to an insular and close-knit occupational culture that results in a strong distinction between members of the police and society. An in-depth investigation on police brutalization and its causes of corrupting within the 1991 beating of Rodney King is evalu­ated by means of the credibility within the rights of citizens in Canada and the United States, the effects from prejudice affliction, and the societal disparagement on morals of the cultures in policing.

Corruption is both a result and cause of the separation of the police from society. The isolation of the police can lead to a divergence of the values of law enforcement officials from those that the rest of society professes to uphold. The early morning of March 3, 1991 illustrates the horrific crime in Los Angeles, California. Several California Highway Pa­trol cruisers chase Rodney King, a robbery parolee, speeding over 110 miles per hour down the Los Angeles strip. King, an African American, is eventually forced to stop after running through several red lights at intersections. As the other two passengers of the car complies with police requests to exit the car and are subdued with minor resistance, King refuses to exit the car, thus a beating is administered by three Cauca­sian officers at the order of their sergeant who is on the scene. He is subsequently stricken over 56 times by wielding PR 24 metal batons, kicked at least 6 times, and shot twice with a Taser electronic stun gun, holding over 50,000 volts of elec­tricity per shot. Additionally, twenty-three other officers stand watching on the scene in which none made effort or sugges­tion to stop the crude combat. Consequently, King suffers extensive injuries including skull fractures, broken bones, and nerve damage to his face and body. Meanwhile, George Holiday, one of the several civilian by-standees awaken by noises of the police helicopter and sirens, videotapes the initial beat­ing from his nearby apartment. Twelve days later, the three police officers involved in the beating, as well as their ser­geant, are charged with assault by force likely to produce great bodily injury and a deadly weapon, along with several other charges. All are indicted by a grand jury.

Fundamentally, under the United States Constitution section 242, the officers violate the federal constitutional rights of Rodney King by willfully using unreasonable force against him in arresting him. Likewise, King’s rights are violated by the sergeant who willfully permits the three other officers to unlawfully assault him, therefore depriving him of his right to be kept free from harm while in official custody. Similarly, as a Canadian citizen, one violates the legal rights of the Ca­nadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms section 8 of search and seizure whereas everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure (Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 2002). Obviously in this case, King is not granted the freedom to be secured when he is being arrested. Therefore, the police officers obstructed justice process and contribute to further injustice done to the victim. Moreover, given the extensive pre-trial publicity surrounding the case and that the defendants’ being law enforcement officials, they have caused a high level of indignation and outrage. There­fore, the accused sought to obtain a change of venue for the trial to a county other than Los Angeles County. Consequently, the trial site was Simi Valley in Ventura County, a predomi­nantly white, middle-class, and conservative community 35 miles from downtown Los Angeles. Generally, out of the lo­cal media market. The jury comprises of ten white persons, one Hispanic person, and one Asian person, with no African Americans. Whereas, the jury renders its verdicts, finding the accused not guilty of all charges. The Independent Commis­sion on the Los Angeles Police Department came out three months later documenting the systematic use of excessive force and racial harassment in the LAPD. If the beating was not purely racial, it still reflects negatively upon the LAPD.

 The police work was terribly negligent.

Corruption within a moral perversion of any policing
must not be tolerated. The persistent misconduct of law enforcement official’s affects public trust in the police force, and
in turn, imperative that the system be reformed to prevent
human rights violations. The King case contributes to a de-
creased level of respect for law enforcement officials. The
publicity of the case draws outrage from Paris to Tokyo, as
everyone sees the repeatedly eighty-one second video foot-
age of the beating on the news. The hugely controversial case
is hurting Los Angeles. There is potential trouble waiting to
explode once the verdict claimed the acquittal of the officers.
Most are angry mainly because the officers deprive Rodney
King his right to be safe from the intentional use of unreason-
able force. Then, as an epic beginning is the worst civil disturbance in American history. On April 29, violence erupts
on the streets of Los Angeles after the verdict reaches the
streets. The acquitted case initiates fierce rioting in Los Angeles as a response to the verdict. For three days, outbreaks
of looting, major vandalism, and beatings sweep through the
city. By the time the police and National Guard takes control
of the situation, fifty-four people are dead, 500 extreme fires
are set, and 4,500 stores are destroyed intensively. Total dam-
ages reach more than $1 billion. More than 3,000 people are
arrested, 40 percent of which are African American (“Emergency Net News SVC”, 1992).

This illustrates the rife of police collusion and negative consequences of corrupt acts which foster impunity. Corrupt officer and citizen relations’ influences police perception of their relationship with the rest of society. Many students of police culture have noted an “us vs. them” mind set being common among law enforcement officials. Such a distinc­tion often entails some officers seeing the public as a source of trouble or even the enemy, and thus isolating themselves and their peers from the rest of society. The division may be further entrenched by a perception on the part of some offic­ers of public animosity towards the police. Every instance of corruption is further reinforces the distance between societies and the police by increasing public hostility and distrust to­wards the police.

Policing is an extremely emotional occupation and it is difficult for officers not to involve personally in their work. They are not merely human forms of robots, firing their guns arbitrarily with a complete lack of sense or emotion. No mat­ter what type of activities police officers are involved in, they are often required to use force to rectify certain situations, thus this primary discrepancy is difficult to distinguish be­tween what is required and what is excessive force. As long as police officers play by the rules of their peer group and the public continues to negatively label them, any rapprochement between the two is unlikely. Fundamentally, police officers rely primarily on instinct and as long as their basic intention is to promote good and not evil while citizens need to trust that the instincts of an officer are generally correct.



A Tale of Two Cities is a novel categorized as historical fiction. Historical fiction is a composite material, with a por­tion of history embedded in a matrix of fiction. A Tale of Two Cities is appropriately titled, as the novel is the story of Eng­land and Revolutionary France; as a result it can be catego­rized as historical fiction. A Tale of Two Cities is parallel to history in many different respects. The English setting, and atmosphere, is similarly portrayed, as it actually existed in the seventeenth century. In the novel, Dickens goes into more detail about Revolutionary France in history with regards to setting, politics and the social structure, as well as the events, which occurred during the revolution. Dickens may not have been totally accurate with his historical information, but he vividly portrays the atmosphere of England and France dur­ing this period.

The French Revolution, by Carlyle, was the main source of Dickens’ information for his novel with the two settings, London and Paris. Adopting Carlyle’s philosophy of history, Dickens created A Tale of Two Cities with a tightly structured plot, developed through a series of amazingly detailed and vivid pictures. The English setting of A Tale of Two Cit­ies is very realistic with respect to the time period. Dickens starts the story by describing the atmosphere in England by illustrating the poverty and the economic situation. It is a tale, which tells of life in two cities and the dreadful happenings, which link them together.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything be­fore us, we had nothing before us. We were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

In England, it was the dawn of the industrial revolution, and for the growing middle class it was the best of times, For the poor, it was the worst of times because illiteracy and un­employment were high. In France, for the aristocracy it seemed like the best of times but many lived in a world insulated from what the reality was for the poor: hunger and unem­ployment. Whether it was the best of times or the worst of times depended on one’s point of view. The quote describes the spirit of the era in which this story takes place.

Dickens also shows that crime ran rampant and robbery and murder were common occurrences in England at the time, “Daring burglaries by armed men, and highway robberies, took place in the capital itself every night”. This shows the terror that the highwaymen brought to the people in England,

The Old Bailey, a court of law, which stands beside the famous Newgate Prison, is the place where Charles Darnay was tried for treason. The Old Bailey was a real court in Lon­don; Prisoners were kept in the jail, brought next door for trial, and hung on the street outside, until 1866. ‘”You know the Old Bailey well, no doubt?’ said one of the oldest of the clerks to Jerry the messenger”. The Old Bailey was a court of law until it was renovated and called the Central Criminal Court.

The Tellson’s Bank, where Mr. Lorry works is based on a real life bank called Thelusson’s Bank. “Tellson’s Bank by temple bar was an old fashioned place even in the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty”. Dickens needed a name for the organization, which brings Lucie and Dr. Manette front France to England; he had read about Thelusson’s Bank in Carlyle’s work and shifted the name to Tellson’s Bank, which had branches in London and Paris. The setting in England is realistic for the time and is historically correct.

In A Tale of Two Cities, practically all of the French peasants lived in poverty. Dickens sets the atmosphere of a grim world of the very poor and the conditions of Frances’s streets as they were at the time. This is exemplified in the wine scene, in which the casket falls and smashes on the ground and everyone suspends his business and rushed to drink the wine.

“All the people within reach had suspended their busi­ness, or their idleness, to run to the spot and drink the wine. The rough, irregular stones of the street, pointing every way, and designed, one might have thought, expressively to lame all living creatures that approached them had damned it into little pools; these were surrounded, each by its own jostling group or crowd, according to its size…There was no drain­age to carry off the wine, and not only did it all get taken up, but so much mud got taken up along with it…”.

By writing about this situation, Dickens illustrates the type of life that the French peasants lived.

In France before the revolution the social structure had two extremes. The peasants hated the aristocrats for their power and money and this is shown in A Tale of Two Cities. This is revealed by a man in a crowd who yells to Monseigneur, “I devote you, to the Devil!” In other words, the aristocrats had “sealed their graves” because they were too cruel towards the lower classes. The lower classes did not have any civil liberties and were not allowed to participate in government.

The only historical characters in England in A Tale of Two Cities are King George III and Charlotte Sophia. Dick­ens describes King George III who is the King of England and Charlotte Sophia: “There was a King with a large jaw and a Queen with a plain face on the thrown of England”. Later Miss Pross says, “The short and the long is that I am subject of his Most Gracious Majesty King George the third”. Given that these characters are included in the book it can be described as historical fiction.

There are many events in France that makes A Talc of Two Cities historical fiction. In history as in A Tale of Two Cities King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette are beheaded at the guillotine eight months apart. King Louis XVl was executed on January 21 1973 and his wife Marie Antoinette was executed on October 16, 1793.

“Now, breaking the unnatural silence the whole city, the executioner showed the people the head of the king, and now, in it seemed almost in the same breath, the head of his fair wife which had had eight weary months of imprisoned widowhood and misery to turn it gray”.

Another historical fact that is included in the book is the storming of the Bastille. “‘Come, then!’ cried Defarge, …’Patriots and friends, we are ready! The Bastille’” The Bastille was captured by a huge group of Parisians that rushed it, and then began to tear it down (The Impact of the Revolution 3). This started the Reign of terror where anyone who was deemed an enemy of the revolution was thrown in jail and eventually killed. “He is a traitor since the decree. His life is forfeit to the people. His cursed life is not his own”. Anyone who openly disagreed with the new government or was supporters of the King were declared rebels and was sent                                 
to jail (The Impact of the Revolution 3).
Since there are aspects of revolutionary France integrated into A Tale of Two Cities, it’s considered historical fiction. Tuileries is the palace where the monarchy lived France. “From the Palace of the Tuileries, through Monseigneur and the whole Court…”. The home of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette was The Palace of the Tuileries. It was the object of hatred to successive generations of French revolutionarics, and was eventually burnt down during the last days of the Commune in 1871.

The Bastille, a prison, appears in A Tale of Two Cities; this is also true in history. The Bastille was used as a state prison earlier in time. It was also used to watch over the city of Paris.

Dickens also makes clear of the type of judicial system which they had in France. If one was found guilty on an offense such treason or murder, they were hanged or were beheaded by the Guillotine. “The ridges thrown to the side and to that now crumble in and close behind the last plough as it passes on, for all are following to the Guillotine”.

Some of the characters in A Tale of Two Cities are based on people that were a part of the revolution. Defarge who owned the wine shop was based on the person called Lalarge. Carlyle casually referred to Lafarge, the head of the Jacobin Society, in his book: The French Revolution; A History. At Carton’s execution there were a number of women knitting, this is also what happened at the executions during the revo­lution. “In front of it, seated in chairs, as in a garden of public diversion, are a number of women, busily knitting”. Jacobin women were well known at the guillotine, they would knit while observing the executions.

A Tale of Two Cities is well portrayed by Dickens a historical fiction. He does this by including places in France and England that are well known. In many ways England and France are different but they are the similar in their terror and their troubles, this casts them in a parallel light, Dickens also takes historical events, like the storming of the Bastille, and makes them parts his story. Dickens’ objective in writing A Tale of Two Cities was to educate about a past event, the French Revolution. Dickens wrote the story in order to warn his Victorian inhabitants of what may happen if England did not make the necessary economic, judicial and political re­forms. He warned them that if they did not change their ways, a revolution might occur, like it did in France. Since aspects of setting and events are accurate in history, A Tale of Two Cities can therefore be described as historical fiction.



The purpose of this essay is to analyze Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels from feminist perspective. To fully understand the views that Swift exhibited, with respect to feminist approach, it is important to have some background on Swift himself and women’s role in society in the eighteenth cen­tury.

In the time of Swift, women were considered the legal responsibility of their fathers or husbands. Whatever a woman said in public was a reflection of the ideas of her father or husband. The ideal wife was obedient, for if not their husbands were allowed to physically discipline them. The gen­eral view of women was that of an object to be enjoyed by men. It was feared that education of women might lead to a subversion of the natural order which gave men unquestioned dominance. It was commonly believed among men that women need not be educated at all, because their main pur­poses in society were to tend to domestic dealings and pro­creation.

Swift’s view of woman was influenced by the times and the society that he lived in. The paucity of love in author’s childhood and the little exposure he had to women when he was growing up also attributed to the corrosive personal iso­lation. Some critics like Lord Orrery, Middleton Murry and Norman O. Brown have suggested that Swift was a misogynist, because of the way in which he is attacking women’s physical aspect Jonathan Swift often mentions the female body with repugnance. He very often dwells with exagger­ated honor at the sight of a woman’s body performing its normal bodily functions. Many have concluded from this that he hated women and considered them inferior to men. Gulliver hates humanity through women. Swift portrays women as inferior creatures, comparing them to lusty, dirty, and igno­rant animals, ultimately leading to Gulliver’s disgust in women in general at the end of the novel. In the moral domain, women inspire as much aversion as they do on the physical side.

In Lilliput, Gulliver illustrates the carelessness of women, when he retells the story of the fire. The only way to extinguish the fire is through urination, an act so loud and gro­tesque that a woman could not handle it. The queen is auto­cratic and infuriated when Gulliver urinates on her apartment to keep it from burning. She decrees that public urination be banned and that the contaminated building be left as it is. The method by which Gulliver describes this event, leads the reader to believe that only a woman would act so harshly to his ac­tions.

In “A Voyage to Brobdinunag”, when the farmer shows Gulliver to his wife, she screams with disgust, the way a woman would react to a bug.

Gulliver in Brobdingnag discovers that his sense was more acute in proportion to his littleness. He sees everything magnified, he examines even thing as if through a microscope. Looking up close at the women’s anatomy, Gulliver notices that their skin seems very rough, discolored and greasy. In addition, he has difficulty breathing because of their strong and repugnant scent. He is disgusted by the sight of their huge pores, spots, pimples, hair and moles and even more repulsed by one maiden who places Gulliver on her nipple to play. Swift uses the Maids of Honor to illustrate flaws in a wom­an’s beauty that are generally overlooked or hidden. Gulliver expresses his aversion to their naked bodies. They were, “very far from being a tempting sight”, and gave him, “any other emotions than those of horror and disgust”. Gulliver makes the connection that the women of England, that he normally finds so beautiful, have the same flaws, but he just does not see them as easily because they are of the same size. “This made me reflect upon the fair skins of our English ladies, who appear so beautiful to us, only because they are of our own size, and their defects not to be seen but through a mag­nifying glass, where we find by experiment that the smoothest and whitest skins look rough and course and ill coloured.” Only the women are described as having such horrible discolored skin. Men had it too, but he only brought attention to the women.

When Gulliver describes a grotesque vision of human­ity in Brobdingnag, he generally uses women as the objects of repulsion. It is the Empress who eats in a grotesque fash­ion. When Gulliver sees beggars and homeless, he describes in unkind detail the lice crawling on their clothes. The home­less beggar with cancerous breast is a horrific sight to Gulliver as he can see into the crevices and cavities in her body, de­stroyed by vermin and disease. That is the most horrible spec­tacle that ever a European eye beheld”. Swift deploys the rhetorical “instruments” necessary for such disavowal figur­ing the decaying body as female.

In Brobdingnag, Gulliver is shocked to see the “mon­strous breast” of a nurse giving suck in front of him. Even the act of feeding does not escape his disgust: “I must confess no object ever disgusted me so much as the sight of her mon­strous breast…”

The flying island of Laputa (from the Spanish la puta, “the whore”) has been the object of several feminist discus­sions particularly to show that women are repeatedly described separately from men. The women are described by geometric shape and mathematical figures. Furthermore, the women are not allowed to explore or travel off the island without spe­cific doctrine from the King. In Laputa, a wife is someone who would rather prostitute herself than stay with her ne­glectful husband. According to Susan Bruce, Gulliver’s Voy­age to Laputa enacts men’s ultimate inability to control women’s bodies and desires.

In Houyhnhnms women were also supposed to be gross, lusty, sexual, benevolent and disgusting as the description of the Yahoo female shows: “The females… had long lank hair on their heads and only a sort of down on the rest of their bodies… Their dugs hung between their four feet and often reached almost to the ground as they walked.” A young fe­male Yahoo gets “inflamed with desire” at the sight of Gulliver. Never does Swift suggest they are more than what he presents them to be, nor does he suggest that they think, feel, love or are morally responsible. The Yahoo female who, driven by sexual craving, throws herself on Gulliver is a strikingly hor­rific image.

While the Houyhnhnm females are sexually modest and controlled, the Yahoo females are sexually aggressive: “A female Yahoo would often stand behind a bank or a bush, to gaze on the young males… and then appear, and hide, using many antic gestures and grimaces… and when any of the males advanced she would slowly retire, looking often back.”

Swift is attracted to women on one hand but repelled by them on the other. Women’s artifice and smells, to Swift, must have been both erotic and disgusting. We never hear the voices of the women however. Gulliver encounters several women in his travels but we never hear their opinions. We never find out how women think or what they feel about their own soci­ety. We also never find out what they think about Gulliver’s society. The reason for this is that women did not have figu­rative voices. The conversations that he had with the queen, the lady and the women in Laputa are not brought up because it doesn’t matter. Women’s voices were not important.

When Gulliver returns home from the Land of Houyhnhnms, he finds the smell of his wife and children re­volting, intolerable, due to his experiences with the Yahoos.

A closer examination of Swift’s work shows that attack­ing women is a misconception. Swift did not believe, as his society did, that a woman should not be educated. Although he does utilize the feminine gender as a vehicle for his social thoughts, his text is more concerned with satirizing humanity, in order to express his ideal for their existence. Swift is exaggerating the characteristics of each society, so that they can be clearly seen. In fact, Swift perceives women to be on an essentially equal plane with men in three different areas. These areas are as follows: social accountability, educational abilities and purpose of existence. Actually, considering the century in which Swift lived, his views are extraordinary and differ drastically from the views of most of his contemporar­ies.

Jonathan Swift’s writings convey that he believed that women should hold a larger role in English society. Swift also dismissed the idea that a woman should be valued on her physical appearance, rather than her actions as a human be­ing.

Swift believed that people typically behaved immorally. Swift did not judge men and women separately for their ac­tions, but looked at them as equally contributing factors in a society that was plagued by immorality, injustice and corrup­tion. Swift writes, “The handsomest among these Maids of Honor, a pleasant, frolicsome girl of sixteen, would some­times set me astride one of her nipples…” The sexual refer­ence and the attention to the girl’s age, signify the lack of morals instilled in some young women of Swift’s time. Swift makes examples of these women, not so much as to degrade them, but to condemn their behavior.

Swift is bashing, as much as the behavior of men and women in general. Swift puts women on the same level as men, where they are to be judged based upon their capabili­ties, and of being a worthwhile person, instead of an object of beauty. He goes to the extreme of using bodily functions as a means to symbolize equality, which also serves to express the ridiculousness of the entire situation. Essentially, what Swift is saying is that the value of a woman should be based on who she is and not what she appears or what a man desires her to be.

Jonathan Swift desired a better human race than existed in the 1700’s. He wanted a society in which women were educated equally with men. He wanted a society in which men and women placed a great deal of importance on their virtue, morals and intelligence. Through his satirical views of the human condition, Swift illustrates the weaknesses of mankind and his own ideal for the improvement of humanity.