Gulliver's Travels Part IV, Chapters 3-5: Questions and Answers

Jonathan Swift

Part IV, Chapters 3-5: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What is the significance of the phrase “the thing which is not” in these chapters?

2. What do the Houyhnhms discover about Gulliver’s physical appearance?

3. What are they unable to understand about a country where horses serve humans?

4. What political concepts are the Houyhnhms unable to understand?

5. How does Gulliver characterize religious disputes in speaking to the Houyhnhms?

6. How does he characterize soldiers?

7. How does he characterize lawyers?

8. How does he characterize judges?

9. Why, according to Gulliver, are learned lawyers not teachers?

10. What does the dapple-gray think when Gulliver explains weapons?

Answers
1. “The thing which is not” is the way Gulliver characterizes a lie or falsehood, a concept unknown to the Houyhnhms.

2. When Gulliver is accidentally seen naked, the Houyhnhms discover that he differs in few major respects from a Yahoo. They had previously been misled by his clothes.

3. They are unable to understand why horses, being larger and stronger, can be compelled to serve humans.

4. The Houyhnhms are unable to understand the concepts of power, war, law, government, or punishment.

5. Gulliver, in speaking to the Houyhnhms, characterizes religious disputes as trivial.

6. Gulliver characterizes soldiers as people who are highly esteemed for their ability to kill people.

7. Gulliver characterizes lawyers as men whose profession is to try to prove that black is white and vice versa.

8. Gulliver characterizes judges as being subject to bribes and never deciding cases according to the merits.

9. According to Gulliver, lawyers are totally ignorant outside their own field.

10. When Gulliver explains weapons, the dapple-gray says that humans in Gulliver’s country possess not reason, but some quality to increase their vice.