Gulliver's giant feet walking in the diminuative forest of the lilliputians

Gulliver's Travels

by Jonathan Swift

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Explain how Gulliver indicates he is a practical man. Use examples of how he restrains himself and accepts his condition. Provide supporting evidence using details and referencing specific line numbers from the reading selection.

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Throughout the book, Lemuel Gulliver emphasizes his superiority to the people he encounters. One way he does so is by emphasizing his superior manners and well-reasoned behavior. Because the novel is a satire, however, Jonathan Swift repeatedly shows how Gulliver’s egotistic opinion of his behavior is contradicted by the...

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Throughout the book, Lemuel Gulliver emphasizes his superiority to the people he encounters. One way he does so is by emphasizing his superior manners and well-reasoned behavior. Because the novel is a satire, however, Jonathan Swift repeatedly shows how Gulliver’s egotistic opinion of his behavior is contradicted by the stories he tells. On each occasion that Gulliver brags about outsmarting or having superior knowledge, the author shows the native peoples are actually getting the best of him.

One example of Gulliver’s supposed restraint and acceptance of his situation occurs in Lilliput. Soon after he arrives—having been washed ashore and knocked unconscious—Gulliver awakens to find himself supine and tied down. Although dozens of cords are binding him to stakes pounded into the ground, he sees that each cord is so thin that he could easily pull loose. After his initial attempts partially free him but also result in the armed men firing arrows into him, he quiets down and bides his time: “I thought it the most prudent method to lie still…”

The other extreme arises in Brobdingnag, where Gulliver is tiny compared to the giant, human-like beings. As a favorite of the queen, he must sit by and listen to the nobility disparage his country. Rather than disagree, he turns red with anger but generally keeps quiet.

[M]y color came and went several times with indignation to hear our noble country… so contemptuously treated.

But as I was not in a condition to resent injuries, so upon mature thoughts I began to doubt whether I was injured or no.

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