How did the war between Lilliput and Blefuscu begin in Gulliver's Travels?  

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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In Daniel Defoe's novel Gulliver's Travels, Gulliver becomes involved in the long-standing dispute between the tiny citizens of Lilliput and the nearby island nation of Blefuscu. The conflict between the two nations of little people began long before when one of the Lilliputian emperors determined that eggs could only be broken on the small end. Some Lilliputians rebelled against this doctrine, and Blefuscu entered the conflict since the natives of Blefuscu--also known as "Big-Endians"--believed that eggs should only be broken on the big end. The two nations had been at war ever since.

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iandavidclark3 | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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Jonathan Swift brilliantly satirizes conflicts in the Western world through the Lilliput - Blefuscu war in his novel, Gulliver's Travels. Though the war is bitter and violent, the conflict between the nations of Lilliput and Blefuscu started because of an absurd disagreement: Lilliput believes an egg should be broken from the small end, while Belfuscu believes it should be broken from the big end. 

This war is an important satire for one major reason: it pokes fun at the contemporary wars and conflicts of Swift's day. Though our wars might seem to be based on rational reasons, Swift says, they're ultimately as silly and absurd as the debate over how to break open an egg. The truly insignificant nature of the conflict is mirrored by the size of the citizens of Lilliput and Blefuscu; just as they are physically small, people from Lilliput and Blefuscu are wrapped up in tiny disputes blown way out of proportion. Thus, through this humorous depiction of a war, Swift suggests that Western conflicts are small-minded, absurd, and ultimately unnecessary. 


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