Gulliver's giant feet walking in the diminuative forest of the lilliputians

Gulliver's Travels

by Jonathan Swift

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At the start of the novel, Gulliver is traveling to the South Sea with his captain. On the journey, they face a powerful storm. Soon later, many of the crew die of overwork and lack of proper nutrition. They then face another misfortune when their ship strikes a rock and splits apart. Gulliver makes it away safely and manages to swim to shore.

When Gulliver arrives, he falls asleep. When he wakes, he discovers that he is tied up. He's puzzled by this at first but soon notices that something is moving on his leg:

"bending my eyes downwards as much as I could, I perceived it to be a human creature not six inches high, with a bow and arrow in his hands, and a quiver at his back" (ch. 1).

He later learns that these tiny creatures are called Lilliputians, and that he is in the land of Lilliput.

Gulliver finds life as a giant (compared to the Lilliputians) to have several challenges. For instance, going to the bathroom can make quite a mess for these tiny beings. Providing sufficient food for Gulliver, also, is quite a challenge for the Lilliputians. When hungry or thirsty, Gulliver learns to put his finger to his lips (he cannot communicate in their language yet).

When feeding Gulliver, the Lilliputians put ladders up to his sides; more than a hundred citizens carry food up to his mouth. Some of these foods include baskets filled with meats (which Gulliver cannot identify by taste). They also give him loaves of bread and wine. The inhabitants come to realize that Gulliver needs massive portions of food and drink, and they find creative ways to hoist larger amounts of wine to his mouth. For example, they use a large hogshead. (He needs more than one drink from this container to satisfy him.)

After this first feeding, Gulliver explains that he considered using his strength to attack the people and escape. However, he then changes his mind when he considers their hospitality:

"I now considered myself as bound by the laws of hospitality, to a people who had treated me with so much expense and magnificence" (ch. 1).

Gulliver learns to appreciate the generous provisions that the Lilliputians provide him with.

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The point in the story where Gulliver is fed is an illustration of the tiny size of the Lilliputians, his captors. Gulliver grows hungry and thirsty and is fed by the Lilliputians when he requests food. The tiny people try their best to satisfy his hunger and thirst, bringing him large (to them) baskets of meat and loaves of bread. Gulliver then decides to consume the loaves three at a time because they are so very small in relation to his size. The Lilliputians also bring him two large (again, large to them) barrels of their drink, which he immediately consumes in very little time. The drink barrels are quite small from Gulliver's point of view and amount to less than half a pint between them. 

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In Gulliver's Travels, how is Gulliver fed?

I'm going to assume that you're asking how the giant Gulliver was fed by the tiny Lilliputians. It's a huge logistical operation, a truly remarkable feat of engineering, yet somehow the Lilliputians manage to pull it off. On the express orders of the Emperor, they rest little ladders against Gulliver's sides. Then, once they've climbed up these ladders, they feed him with morsels of food that they've carried with them in baskets.

The food is too small for Gulliver's mouth, and in any case he can't tell the difference between the various kinds of meat that he's been given. He also eats minuscule loaves of bread, which are the size of musket bullets. As the morsels of food are so tiny, the Lilliputians have to feed him quickly, as once Gulliver has swallowed one morsel, he soon needs another.

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