Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

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Part IV, Chapters 1-2: Summary and Analysis

New Characters:
James Welch: Mutineer on the Adventure, who sets Gulliver ashore on an island

The Yahoos: animal-like, savage human beings in the country of the Houyhnhms

The Dapple-Gray: Houyhnhm (rational horse) who protects Gulliver and asks him about his country

The Sorrel: servant of the Dapple Gray

Gulliver spends about five months at home in England. With his wife pregnant, he accepts the captaincy of the Adventure, a merchant ship. New sailors to replace those who die of disease are taken on at Barbados. They turn out to be pirates and mutiny against Gulliver, who is held prisoner by them. James Welch, a mutineer, tells Gulliver that the decision has been made to set Gulliver ashore at the first landing-place. Gulliver lands on a strange island, where he is attacked by ugly, disgusting, animals. He is rescued by a horse, who is greeted by another horse; they seem to be conferring together like humans. They examine Gulliver, amazed at his clothing. Gulliver speaks to the horses and is amazed to discover that they neigh in a language. Gulliver gradually learns their language. He hears the word “Yahoo,” and learns it.

In Chapter Two, Gulliver finds horses living in a crude sort of building. He discovers that the Yahoos are in fact human beings, although of a filthy and disgusting nature. They are forced to serve the horses, who are called Houyhnhms; they pull a sort of sledge carrying a Houyhnhm. Gulliver refuses to eat the raw flesh that the Yahoos eat; he drinks cow’s milk and eventually makes a kind of cake from oats (oats are the Houyhnhms’ food). To Gulliver’s amazement, the horses are more civilized and more humanlike, except in form, than the Yahoos.

Gulliver’s treatment at...

(The entire section is 441 words.)