Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

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What happens in Gulliver's Travels?

In Gulliver's Travels, Gulliver encounters strange groups, like the Lilliputians and Brobdingnagians. Upon his return to England, he no longer wishes to associate with people, whom he associates with the repulsive Yahoos. 

  • In Gulliver's Travels, Gulliver first travels to the island of tiny men called Lilliputians. He is accused of treason and sentenced to death after putting out a fire with his urine, but escapes before having to face his punishment.
  • Two months later, Gulliver embarks on a second voyage. This time he travels to the land of the gigantic Brobdingnagians, where he is exhibited like a freak and made to fight animals. An eagle drops him into the sea where he is picked up by a British ship and returned to England.
  • On his third voyage, Gulliver visits a series of islands devoted to abstract things like mathematics, abstract ideas, and magic.
  • On his fourth voyage, he visits the land of the Houyhnhnms, who enslave the repulsive human-like Yahoos. He is expelled after the Houyhnhnms deem they cannot have a partly-rational Yahoo like Gulliver.

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Summary

Summary of the Novel
In Gulliver’s Travels, Gulliver describes his four voyages. In the first voyage, he is the only person to reach land after a shipwreck. He awakes to find himself tied down by tiny men; these are the Lilliputians. A Hurgo (official) supervises them. Gulliver agrees to cooperate, and is untied and taken to the capital where he meets Lilliput’s Emperor. He agrees to serve the Lilliputians, and is granted partial freedom in return. Gulliver prevents an invasion from Lilliput’s enemy, Blefuscu, by stealing the enemy’s ships and is given a high title of honor. He makes friends and enemies at court and learns details of Lilliputian society. After putting out a fire in the palace by urinating on it, he is accused of high treason through polluting the palace. He is sentenced to be blinded and starved. However, Gulliver escapes to Blefuscu, finds a boat, sails out to sea, and is picked up by an English ship.

Two months after his return to England, Gulliver leaves on his second voyage. He lands in an unknown country to get water and is abandoned. A giant reaper picks him up (he is in the country of the gigantic Brobdingnagians) and takes him to a farmer, who wants him to be on exhibit as a freak. He fights a gigantic cat and other monstrous animals. The Queen of Brobdingnag buys Gulliver and presents him to the King. The farmer’s daughter, Glumdalclitch, who had befriended Gulliver, is hired by the King as Gulliver’s guardian and nurse. Gulliver quarrels with the King’s dwarf, but describes England in detail to the King. Gulliver is carried around in a box and tours the kingdom. He fights birds and animals and finds the King’s Maids of Honor, who undress before him, disgusting him because of their great size. Gulliver’s box is picked up by a gigantic eagle and dropped into the sea; he is picked up by an English ship and returns to England.

Shortly after his return, Gulliver leaves on his third voyage. His ship is captured by pirates, who set him adrift in a small boat. He arrives on the flying island of Laputa, which flies over the continent of Balnibarbi. The people he meets are interested only in abstract speculations. Their king asks Gulliver only about mathematics in England. Gulliver learns that the island is kept flying by magnetism. He travels to Balnibarbi, and he is shown the Academy of Laputa, where scholars devote all their time to absurd inventions and ideas. He then goes to Glubbdubdrib, an island of magicians. The king is waited on by ghosts, and he calls up the ghosts of dead historical characters at Gulliver’s request. He then goes to Luggnagg, where the Struldbruggs who have eternal life but not eternal youth. After spending time in Japan, Gulliver returns to England.

On his fourth voyage, Gulliver is set on shore in an unknown land by mutineers. This is the land of the Houyhnhms: intelligent, rational...

(The entire section is 2,918 words.)