Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift

Gulliver’s Travels Jonathan Swift | Gulliver’s Travels Summary

Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift
Gulliver’s Travels Jonathan Swift


            The Book “Gulliver’s Travel” is a novel by ‘Jonathan Swift’ who is known as a great Anglo-Irish Satirist, essayist, and poet. Its full title is ‘Travels into Several Remote Nations of World’ and was first published in 1726. The protagonist of this novel is “Lemuel Gulliver” and the whole story of this novel moves around him. It is Swift’s best full-length work. Swift claimed that he wrote ‘Gulliver’s Travel’ ‘to vex the world rather than divert it’. The novel was written in 4 parts,

  1. A Voyage to Lilliput
  2. A Voyage to Brobdingnag
  3. A Voyage to Laputa
  4. A Voyage to the Land Of The Houyhnhnms 

‘Geoge Orwell’ is considered to be one of the first five works of World Literature.

About The Author

            “Jonathan Swift” the author of “Gulliver’s Travels” was an Anglo–Irish Satirist, political pamphleteer, essayist, and poet. He is remembered for works such as ‘A Tale of a Tub’ An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity’, “Gulliver’s Travel” and ‘A Modest Proposal’. Swift is regarded as the greatest prose satirist in the history of English Literature.

            The Book “Gulliver’s Travel” gets an immediate success. The English Dramatist “John Gay” remarked ‘It is universally read, from the cabinet council to the nursery’.

The Theme of Gulliver’s Travels

            The main themes in Gulliver’s Travels are ‘Human folly and Evil’, ‘filth and disgust’, and ‘conservatism and progress’.

Gulliver’s Travel Book III:

            After being at home for only ten days, ‘Gulliver’ is visited by a ship captain who invites him on a voyage departing in two months. Gulliver convinces his wife that this is a good opportunity and set off, again working as the surgeon. After they sail for three days a storm arises driving the ship to the northeast and they are attacked by pirates. They are unable to defend themselves. Gulliver insults the captain of the pirates’ ship and as punishment is set adrift in “ A small canoe, with paddles and a sail, and four days provisions.

            On the 5th day of sailing in his canoe, Gulliver reaches a small island (Balnibarbi), where he spends the night in restless sleep. In the morning he notices that what he thought was a cloud floating above the island is actually a floating island. Gulliver calls up to the people he sees moving about the island. They lower down a system of pulleys that can pull Gulliver up.

            As soon as Gulliver steps onto the floating island, he is surrounded by a crowd of people. He finds them very strange; their heads are slanted to the left or right, and their clothes have pictures of either musical instruments or astronomical signs. Gulliver learns that he is on ‘Laputa’.

The people here have terribly short attention spans, so they carry around “Flappers”. After dinner, a man is sent to teach Gulliver the language. Gulliver finds that the Laputian houses are built very poorly and with no right angles. This is odd because the men here are obsessed with mathematics. The women are very sexual creatures who often cheat on their husbands, especially with preferred men from Balnibarbi, but the men are so wrapped in mathematics are they do not notice. The king of Laputa is not remotely interested in the government of England.

            Gulliver learns that Laputa is floating above Balnibarbi, the island on which he landed his canoe. It is able to move about the surface of Balnibarbi but not beyond its borders, and it can move up and down because of its magnetic forces. When a town from Balnibarbi acts up, the king has Laputa moved directly above it so that it can receive no sun or rain.

            Gulliver finds Laputa terribly boring because the people there are all much more intelligent than he is. He petitions to go down to Balnibarbi, and his request is granted. On Balnibarbi, Gulliver meets ‘Lord Munodi’, who invites Gulliver to stay at his home. Munodi’s home is beautiful and kept well, but when the two travel out into the country Gulliver finds that the rest of the land is barren. Munodi explains that this is because many years back, people from Balnibarbi visited Laputa, and when they returned, they decide to change things to a more academic way of living. This idea has failed. Munodi’s land is plentiful because he never changed his way of living.

            Gulliver visits the Grand Academy of Lagada, the largest metropolis of Balibarbi. The scientists there are constantly working on experiments that Gulliver finds pointless. For instance, he meets a man who is trying to turn excrement back into the food it began as, trying to make gunpowder from ice, and trying to employ spiders as weavers of silk.

Gulliver decides to take a trip to the island of “Luggnagg” but finds that no ships will be available for the voyage for a month, so it is suggested that he visit “Glubbdubdrib”, which he translates to mean the island of sorcerers or magicians. Gulliver learns that the governor has the power to bring back the dead for the purpose of serving him. Gulliver is given the option to bring back anyone he would like. He chooses ‘Alexander Pope’ who tells Gulliver that he actually died because he drank too much.  He then brings back a parade of other famous dead.

            Gulliver spends a great time speaking with various famous dead people. He speaks with ‘Homer, Aristotle, and Descartes and even get them into conversation with one another.

            Gulliver travels to ‘Luggnagg’ posing as a Dutchman. He speaks

                        “I thought it necessary to disguise my country, 
                         And call myself Hollander, because my
                         the intention was for Japan, and I knew the
                         Dutch were the only Europeans permitted
                         to enter into that kingdom.”

            His true identity is discovered, however, and Gulliver is made a prisoner. When Gulliver is released, he learns about the Struldbrug children who have a red dot on each of their foreheads. These children are immortal. Gulliver soon comes to learn that the struldbrug children are actually very unhappy and jealous of those people who can die.

            After offering Gulliver employment in the court but finally seeing that he is determined to leave, His Majesty gives him license to leave, a letter of recommendation to the emperor of Japan, and a gift of 444 pieces of gold and a very valuable red diamond. In Japan, he is told to trample the crucifix, which all Dutchmen are happy to do but Gulliver manages to get out of doing so. He takes a ship to Amsterdam and then to England, where he happily returns to his family.

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