Remember those books you read in school that had their own special way of transporting you to another dimension? They were stories that shaped our lives and taught us important lessons along the way. Take a look at some of the great literary works that left a lasting impression on our characters.
A tale told in four parts, Gulliver’s Travels is a classic in English literature, written by Jonathan Swift. The adventure story follows the voyages of Lemuel Gulliver. Through a series of unexpected events, Gulliver inadvertently ends up on several unknown islands living with people and animals of unusual sizes, behaviors, and philosophies. After each misadventure, he manages to return to his home in England, only to settle in and then venture out again on a new voyage.
Book I: Gulliver is shipwrecked on the island of Lilliput and is captured by its inhabitants (the six-inch Lilliputians). He befriends them and helps them solve some of their biggest problems, ending up in the middle of a conflict with their enemy, the Blefuscudians. The moral of this story is standing up for kindness, compassion, and freedom. In the end, Gulliver escapes, is rescued at sea, and finds his way back home.
Book II: As Gulliver travels as a ship’s surgeon, he and a small crew are sent to find water on an island, this time encountering a land of giants. The crew leaves Gulliver to be captured. He’s taken to a farmer’s home and eventually sold to the Queen. Once again, the moral of this story is kindness. It’s about having an open mind. It’s also about appreciating the customs and behaviors of where you come from. Although not always ideal, your home is a part of who you are.
Book III: In this book, Gulliver’s grand travels get him attacked by pirates and left drifting at sea. He eventually discovers a Flying Island whose inhabitants are scholars. Here he learns all about mathematics, music, and the laws of magnetism. The moral in this story is the importance of knowledge. After many stops and meeting with Kings and Emperors, Gulliver returns home, enriched in the ways of the world.
Book IV: Now captain of a merchant ship, Gulliver is faced with a series of challenges, forcing him to fend for himself against “civilized”, human-like creatures. Here, Gulliver learns that these creatures are not so much unlike him. He also discovers that he is happiest when spending time with a grey horse, the grey’s mare, a colt, a foal, and a sorrel nag. The grand moral here: Your heart belongs to the quality of the company you keep, no matter who they are or what they look like.
The Chronicles of Narnia
A series of seven novels by C. S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia takes a group of children who discover a magical world through a wardrobe and drops them in the middle of a universe where they are hugely important to a civilization’s people and history. In a world full of magic, mythical beasts, and talking animals, these protagonists faces issues dealing with everything from religion to race to gender to overall morality. Following The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, came Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, The Horse and His Boy, The Magician’s Nephew, and finally, The Last Battle.
Throughout each book, one could argue that Narnia itself was a main character. The fantasy world is one of the most beautiful literary pictures of all time. It’s said that the landscape in Ireland was Lewis’s inspiration. As far as journeys go, The Chronicles of Narnia is up there as one of the most epic tales of all time.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn is one of Mark Twain’s most poignant pieces of literary work. This story of friendship, adventure, and buried treasure is centered on the ideas of freedom, responsibility, and morality. Faced with life’s hardest issues at a young age, the boys turn to each other to escape to a carefree world of fishing, swimming, smoking (yes, smoking), exploring, and playing. Overall, the story is about love, honor, honesty, and struggle. In true Mark Twain fashion, this masterpiece closely examines and confronts all of life’s aspects and beautifully dives into the heart of these characters on their journey.
Every good story has a moral. The moral here: Read more. Dream more. Become more.
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