What is Gulliver's stay like in Blefuscu in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Gulliver arrives in Blefuscu at the end of Part I, Chapter VII. He escapes to Blefuscu after the Lilliputians charge him on several counts of treason and negotiate to punish him by only gouging out his eyes and starving him to death as opposed to executing him. Once he arrives in Blefuscu, he is guided to the emperor's royal palace, and the emperor and his royal family come out to greet him. He then lies prostrate on the ground to honor the emperor and empress by kissing their hands. He ends the chapter by saying, "I shall not trouble the reader with the particular account of my reception at this court, which was suitable to the generosity of so great a prince."

In Chapter VIII, we are not told much about the nature of Blefuscu or its people. We are instead told that Gulliver walked to the "north-east coast of the island," where he was able to spy an overturned boat his own size less than two miles from the shore. He then solicits help from Blefuscu to retrieve the boat. He asked the emperor for use of twenty ships remaining in his fleet after the war with the Lilliputians and three thousand sailors. The fleet sailed to the overturned boat while Gulliver swam to the boat. Then Gulliver attached the sailors' cords to the boat and used the cords to overturn the boat. Together, Gulliver and the sailors both pushed and pulled the boat to shore. Gulliver then spent 10 days making paddles in order to row the boat to Blefuscu's royal port to inform the emperor that he could use the boat to return to England.

Gulliver planned to set sail a little while after the ship was all repaired, but he informs us that he needed to leave sooner once the emperor of Blefuscu learned about the Lilliputians' grievances against Gulliver. While the emperor of Blefuscu refused to comply with the Lilliputians by returning Gulliver as a prisoner to the Lilliput, Gulliver felt it was not in either kingdom's best interest for him to remain in Blefuscu much longer, because his stay would deepen conflict between the two kingdoms. Hence, in only a month's time, Gulliver had the ship ready to set sail and stocked with provisions and took his leave of the emperor and his family.