In Gulliver's Travels, what are some of the problems Gulliver poses to the Lilliputians?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Because of his size, Gulliver requires a great deal of problem-solving from the Lilliputians that they never considered. For example, in their first encounter, they use ropes and stakes to tie Gulliver to the ground, thinking that he might be dangerous; they never consider that his strength is equal to his size, and it is only his hunger and inherent goodwill that keeps him from ripping free and causing damage. Another big problem is that of food; Gulliver needs far more food than the Lilliputians to survive, and they calculate that he needs as much food as 1,724 of their citizens.

I had three hundred cooks to dress my victuals... A dish of their meat was a good mouthful, and a barrel of their liquor a reasonable draught... Their geese and turkeys I usually eat at a mouthful, and, I must confess, they far exceed ours. Of their smaller fowl, I could take up twenty or thirty at the end of my knife.
(Swift, Gulliver's Travels, eNotes eText)

Although this use of food must have been an enormous drain on the Lilliputian resources, it is never mentioned if they suffer from food shortages because of Gulliver, or if they took greater measures to raise livestock which need time to grow to maturity. The background of the problem is not addressed, only the actions taken, and so there is little indication if Gulliver's presence caused a strain on the Lilliputian economy.


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