A Tale of a Tub is one of the major works by the author of the celebrated Gulliver's Travels and is considered by many critics as one of the finest satires of the English tongue. The book's structure is divided into two entities: A tale and a series of digressions that have no relationship with the main tale. As long as the tale is concerned, it centers on three brothers named Peter, Martin and Jack, who represent respectively the three branches of Western Christianity: The Roman Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church and other dissenting protestants such as Quakers, Presbyterians, etc. The narrative symbolically speaks about a will left by their father along with three coats that they have to cherish and maintain as they are. Yet, they do the opposite and make certain changes to their coats from the very beginning. Generally, Swift starts by overtly parodying religious excesses and bigotry to come to satirizing human nature in general and its tendency towards pride, credulity, hypocrisy and enthusiasm. The numerous digressions Swift embeds in the narrative are often related to literature, theology, human behavior and politics. Since religion and the State were closely intertwined at his time, Swift's work caused him serious problems among both churchmen and political rulers and greatly affected his reputation as a writer.
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by Jonathan Swift
by Herman Melville
by Frank Haskell
by Mark Twain
by L.M. Montgomery
by William Shakespeare
by Ulysses S. Grant
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