How was Gulliver tied down on the seashore?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In chapter 1 of part 1, Gulliver wakes up on the seashore, unable to move. He finds that his arms and legs are "strongly fastened on each side to the ground," and his hair is "tied down in the same manner." Across his body he feels "several slender ligatures." When he manages to partially break free of the restrains, Gulliver notes that his legs and arms are fastened with "strings," which in turn are fixed to the ground with "pegs." To the Lilliputians, of course, these "strings" are likely thick ropes.

Guulliver can quite easily break these "strings," but when he attempts to do so and break free completely, the Lilliputians attack him with volleys of arrows and spears. Thus he considers it "the most prudent method to lie still . . . till night." After a while, though, Gulliver doesn't try to break loose from the restraints because he considers himself "bound by the laws of hospitality." After all, the Lilliputians have gone to some considerable trouble and expense to feed Gulliver with huge quantities of meat and wine. Gulliver is thus restrained, at this point, more by his own notions of honor than by the "strings" tied across his body and pegged to the floor.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

When Gulliver wakes up on the seashore, he realizes he is on his back and his arms and legs are tied strongly with strings to the ground, as is his long hair. He also feels some "slender ligatures" across his body, extending from his armpits to his thighs. He can't turn his head, so he can only look up at the sky. The sun hurts his eyes.

Gulliver soon discovers that tiny people are climbing all over his body, but when he "roars," they are frightened and run away, some getting hurt jumping off him. Gulliver has met up with the Lilliputians. When he tries to break his bonds, they shoot at him with tiny arrows that feel like needles. Rather than be shot at, he decides to wait to nightfall to try to get free.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial