How did Gulliver decide that travel was the way by which he could make a living for himself?

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lusie0520 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Gulliver’s occupation is a surgeon.  As the third of five sons, he attends college, but he struggles to make it on the money he receives from his father.  He apprentices himself to a surgeon for four years, and during this time, he also studies navigation.  He studies navigation because he believes it will be useful in his travels in the future.  After spending a few more years studying, he is employed as a ship’s surgeon. “Soon after my return from Leyden, I was recommended by my good master, Mr. Bates, to be surgeon to the Swallow, Captain Abraham Pannel, commander; with whom I continued three years and a half, making a voyage or two into the Levant, and some other parts” (Chapter 1).  After this, he decides to settle down in London.

Gulliver gets married and starts his own practice with the help of his benefactor, Mr. Bates.  Unfortunately, he is not successful.  “…my business began to fail; for my conscience would not suffer me to imitate the bad practice of too many among my brethren” (Chapter 1).   Gulliver has  too much integrity to cut corners while practicing medicine.  He goes back to sea. 

Gulliver travels for 6 years, but he grows tired of the sea and decides to stay home.  He tries to build his business again; he even moves to a place more advantageous for his business, to no avail.  “After three years expectation that things would mend, I accepted an advantageous offer from Captain William Prichard, master of the Antelope…” (Chapter 1).  Gulliver’s decision to travel is made for him by his money situation.  He has to travel because he needs to support himself and his family.