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Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 2 A Voyage to Brobdingnag
Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 2 A Voyage to Brobdingnag Chapter 1 to 8
- Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 2 Chapter 1
- Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 2 Chapter 2
- Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 2 Chapter 3
- Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 2 Chapter 4
- Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 2 Chapter 5
- Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 2 Chapter 6
- Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 2 Chapter 7
- Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 2 Chapter 8
Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 2 Chapter 1
A great storm is described; the long boat is sent to fetch water; the narrator goes with it to discover the country. He is left on shore, is seized by one of the natives, and carried to a farmer’s house. His reception, with several accidents that happened there, is described and so are the inhabitants.
Two months after returning to England, Gulliver became restless again. He set sail on a ship called ‘The Adventure’, travelling to the Cape of Good Hope and Madagascar before encountering a monsoon that blew the ship off course. The ship eventually arrived at an unknown island and a group of sailors, including Gulliver, went off to explore it. Gulliver left the group to do some looking around on his own. There were no inhabitants about and the landscape was barren and rocky. Gulliver was walking back to the boat when he saw his mates running for their boat. He was about to call out to them when he saw that they were being pursued by a ‘monster.’ The sailors made their getaway, leaving Gulliver behind on that island of monsters. When he saw the giant was following the boat, Gulliver ran away, and when he stopped, he was on a steep hill from which he could see the countryside. He was shocked to see that the grass was about twenty feet high.
He walked down what looked like a high road but turned out to be a footpath through a field of barley. He walked for a long time but could not see anything beyond the stalks of com, which were forty feet high. He tried to climb a set of steps into the next field, but he could not mount them because they were too high.
As he was trying to climb up the stairs, he saw another one of the island’s giant inhabitants. He appeared as tall as an ordinary spire steeple, and took about ten yards at every stride. Struck with fear and astonishment, Gulliver hid in the com, and heard him call in a voice that sounded to Gulliver like thunder. At that, seven monsters, who appeared to be servants or labourers, came and began to harvest the crop with scythes. Gulliver lay down and bemoaned his state. He was sure he would die there, and for the first time Gulliver yearned mournfully for his family. ‘I reflected,’ says Gulliver, ‘what a mortification it must prove to me to appear as inconsiderable in this nation as one single Lilliputian would be among us.’ But he had enough presence of mind to realise that such thoughts were ridiculous at such a time. For he reasoned, he’d probably end up a ‘morsel in the mouth of the first among these enormous barbarians….’
One of the servants came close to Gulliver with both his foot and his scythe, so Gulliver screamed as loudly as he could.
The giant finally noticed him, and picked him up between his fingers to get a closer look. Although the giant’s fingers were hurting him, Gulliver did not struggle in the least for fear he should slip through his fingers as the giant held him in the air above sixty feet from the ground. Gulliver tried to speak to him in plaintive tones, bringing his hands together, and the giant seemed pleased, placed him in his pocket and walked to his master.
The giant’s master, the farmer of these fields, took Gulliver from his servant and observed him more closely. He asked the other servants if they had ever seen anything like Gulliver, then placed him onto the ground. They sat around him in a circle. Gulliver knelt down and began to speak as loudly as he could, taking off his hat and bowing to the farmer. He presented a purse full of gold to the farmer, which the farmer took into his palm. He could not figure out what it was, even after Gulliver emptied the coins into his hand.
The farmer took Gulliver back to his wife, who was frightened of him. The servant brought in dinner, and they all sat down to eat, Gulliver sitting on the table not far from the farmer’s plate. They gave him tiny bits of their food, and he pulled out his knife and fork to eat, which delighted the giants. The farmer’s son picked Gulliver up and scared him, but the farmer took Gulliver from the boy’s hands and struck his son. Gulliver made a sign that the boy should be forgiven, and kissed his hand. After dinner, the farmer’s wife let Gulliver nap in her own bed. When he woke up he found two rats the size of bulldogs
attacking him. He was so startled, frightened, disoriented, and disgusted, that he defended himself with his ‘hanger,’ or sword and killed one of them.
Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 2 Chapter 2
The farmer’s daughter is described. The narrator is carried to a market-town, and then to the metropolis. The particulars of his journey as given.
Gulliver was ‘turned over’ to the farmer’s daughter, who cared for him in much the same way that she cared for her doll. She was very good-natured, and not above forty feet high, being little for her age. Gulliver’s name for the girl was Glumdalclitch, which in Brobdingnagian meant little nurse. In fact, her name for Gulliver, Grildrig, meant ‘doll’. Glumdalclitch’s doll’s cradle became Gulliver’s permanent bed. Glumdalclitch put the cradle into a small drawer of a cabinet, and placed the drawer upon a hanging shelf for fear of the rats. She became Gulliver’s caretaker and guardian, sewing clothes for him and teaching him the giants’ language.
News of Gulliver living at the farmer’s house spread quickly and several visitors came to see him. One day, a friend of the farmer came to see him. He looked at Gulliver through his glasses, and Gulliver began to laugh at the sight of the man’s eyes through the glass. The man became angry. At his urging, the farmer decided to take Gulliver to the market place and to put him on display for others to see (for a price). He agreed and much against Glumdalclitch’s will, Gulliver was taken to town in a carriage, which he found very uncomfortable. There, he was placed on a table while Glumdalclitch sat down on a stool beside him, with thirty people at a time walking through as he performed ‘tricks.’ Gulliver was exhausted by the journey to the marketplace, but upon returning to the farmer’s house, he found that he was to be shown there as well. People came from miles around and were charged great sums to view him. Thinking that Gulliver could make him a great fortune, the farmer took him and Glumdalclitch on a tour throughout the kingdom, including visiting the kingdom’s metropolis, Lorbrulgrud.
The three arrived in the largest city, Lorbrulgrud, and the farmer rented a room with a table for displaying Gulliver. By now, Gulliver could understand their language and speak it fairly well. There Gulliver performed ten times a day for all who wished to see him. He showed off his knowledge of the local language, drank from a thimble, flourished his (to them, miniature) sword, vaulted with the aid of a piece of straw. In short, he did all the things that people do, except on a toy scale. Gulliver was a great sensation, and the farmer earned a great deal of money. By this time, though, Gulliver had presented far too many performances; and he was almost dead with fatigue.
Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 2 Chapter 3
The narrator is sent for by the court. The queen buys him off his master, the farmer, and presents him to the king. He disputes with his majesty’s great scholars. An apartment at court provided for the narrator. He is in high favour with the queen. He stands up for the honour of his own country. His quarrels with the queen’s dwarf.
The strain of travelling and performing in road shows began to take its toll on Gulliver and he grew very thin. The farmer noticed Gulliver’s condition and resolved to make as much money as possible before Gulliver died. Meanwhile, an order came from the court, ordering the farmer to bring Gulliver to the queen for her entertainment. Gulliver performed admirably and respectfully for her. The Queen, was attracted to the novelty of this tiny man, and after Gulliver pleaded his case in the most humble fashion imaginable—bowing, scraping, pledging undying loyalty, and embracing the tip of the queen’s finger. The queen was delighted with Gulliver’s behaviour and she became his saviour when she bought him from the farmer for 1,000 gold pieces. Gulliver requested that Glumdalclitch be allowed to live in the palace as well.
Gulliver explained his suffering to the queen, and she was impressed by his intelligence. She took him to the king, who at first took him to be a mechanical creation. He sent for great scholars to observe Gulliver, and they decided that he was in fact a freak of nature and unfit for survival, since there was no way he could feed himself. Gulliver tried to explain that he came from a country in which everything was in proportion to himself, but they did not seem to believe him. Gulliver found this ‘a determination exactly agreeable to the modem philosophy of Europe’ where professors used the category of ‘freak’ as a cover for their own ignorance when they came across something that puzzled them.
Glumdalclitch was given an apartment in the palace and a governess was appointed to teach her. Special quarters were built for Gulliver out of a luxurious box by the best court artisans. They also had clothes made for him from fine silk, but Gulliver found them very cumbersome. The queen grew quite accustomed to his company, finding him very entertaining at dinner, especially when he cut and ate his meat. He found her way of eating repulsive, since her size allowed her to swallow huge amounts of food in a single gulp.
The king conversed with Gulliver on issues of politics, and laughed at his descriptions of the goings- on in Europe. He concluded that not only was Gulliver a freak, but he came from a freakish society as well. Gulliver’s stories of Whigs and Tories made the king laugh out loud and exclaim, ‘how contemptible a thing was human grandeur, which could be mimicked by such diminutive insects’ as Gulliver. At first Gulliver was indignant to hear his ‘noble country, the mistress of arts and arms, the scourge of France, the arbitress of Europe, the seat of virtue, piety, honour and truth, the priderand envy of the world, so contemptuously treated.’ But then, he came to realize that he too had begun to think of his world as ridiculous. ‘I really began to imagine myself dwindled many degrees below my usual size.’ His perspective suffered in more ways than one.
The King and Queen were happy with Gulliver, but there was one member of the royal entourage who was not happy: the Queen’s dwarf, who was jealous because Gulliver had replaced him in the Queen’s affection. He dropped Gulliver into a bowl of cream, but Gulliver was able to swim to safety and the dwarf was punished. At another point, the dwarf stuck Gulliver into a marrowbone, where he was forced to remain until someone pulled him out.
The queen teased Gulliver for being so fearful, and concluded that his compatriots must all be cowardly. Gulliver was terrified and sickened by Brobdingnagian flies and wasps. Where the queen was oblivious to their excrement and other droppings, to Gulliver this falling matter was torrential. His revenge against these giant insects was of two types: some he cut into bits as they flew past; others he displayed as freaks when he got back to England.
Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 2 Chapter 4
The country is described. A proposal for correcting modern maps is made. The king’s palace; and some account of the metropolis is given. The narrator’s way of travelling and the chief temple is described.
When the King and Queen went travelling about the country, they decided to take Gulliver along. Gulliver wrote a description of the island, the sea around the island, the city of Lorbrulgrud, the King’s palace, his [Gulliver’s] method of travel on the island, several of the island’s inhabitants, and some of the sights to see on the island. The land stretched out for about 6,000 miles. The kingdom was bound on one side by mountains and on the other three sides by the sea. The water was so rough that there was no trade with other nations. The rivers were well stocked with giant fish, but the fish in the sea were of the same size as those in the rest of the world—and therefore not worth catching.
In describing the inhabitants of the island, Gulliver focused on their illnesses and diseases. He wrote of giant beggars, horribly deformed, with lice crawling all over them.
Gulliver was carried around the city in a special travelling-box and people always crowded around to see him. He asked to see the largest temple in the country and was not overwhelmed by its size, since at a height of 3,000 feet it was proportionally smaller than the largest steeple in England.
Finally, the dimensions of the King’s palace were described with the kitchen receiving particular attention.
Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 2 Chapter 5
Describes several adventures that happened with the narrator. The execution of a criminal is described. The narrator shows his skill in navigation.
Gulliver was happy in Brobdingnag except for the many mishaps that befell him because of his diminutive size. Shortly afterward, he attended an execution with great interest. He compared the spurts of blood, as the man was decapitated, as more spectacular than the fountains at Versailles.
In one unpleasant incident, the dwarf, angry at Gulliver for teasing him, shook an apple tree over his head. One of the apples struck Gulliver in the back and knocked him over. But the dwarf was pardoned at Gulliver’s saying so, because he had given the provocation. Another time, he was left outside during a hailstorm and was so bruised and battered that he could not leave the house for ten days.
Once a bird of prey nearly grabbed him and again a dog mistook Gulliver for a doll and took him in his mouth and ran with him to his master. Needless to say, Gulliver was traumatized. Gulliver and his nursemaid were often invited to the apartments of the ladies of the court and there, he was treated as a plaything of little significance.
Because Gulliver was a sailor, the queen ordered a special boat to be made for him and a trough in which to sail. The boat was placed in the trough and Gulliver rowed in it for his own enjoyment and for the amusement of the queen and her court. The royal ladies also took part in the game and made a brisk breeze with their fans. Disaster struck when a frog hopped into the trough and nearly swamped Gulliver’s boat, but Gulliver bravely drove the monster off with an oar.
Yet another danger arose in the form of a monkey, which took Gulliver up a ladder, holding him like a baby and force¬feeding him. He was rescued from the monkey and Glumdalclitch pried the food from his mouth with a needle, after which Gulliver vomited. He was so weak and bruised that he stayed in bed for two weeks. The monkey was killed and orders were sent out that no other monkeys be kept in the palace. When he recovered, Gulliver was summoned by the king, who was curious to know whether Gulliver was afraid. Gulliver boasted that he could have protected himself with his sword. This made the court laugh.
Of course Gulliver was punished for his pride. While out walking he saw a pile of cow dung. He tried to leap over it and landed in the middle of it.
Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 2 Chapter 6
Several contrivances of the narrator please the king and queen. He shows his skill in music. The king inquires into the state of England, which the narrator narrates to him.
Gulliver made himself a comb from the stumps of hair left after the king had been shaved. He used strands of the queen’s hair to make several chairs similar to English cane-backed chairs, which he gave to the queen as souvenirs, and a purse that he gave to Glumdalclitch.
The king delighted in music and had frequent concerts at court. Gulliver was sometimes carried, and set in his box on a table to hear them. But the music was so loud that he could hardly distinguish the tunes. Gulliver decided to play the piano for the royal family, but he had to contrive a novel way to do it, since the instrument was so big. He used large sticks and ran over the keyboard with them, but he could still strike only sixteen keys.
The king also held several audiences with Gulliver to discuss the culture of Gulliver’s home country, England. In these audiences, as requested by the King, Gulliver explained the role of the people in the operation of the government, in religion, and in the legal system, among other topics. The king asked many questions and was horrified. He couldn’t understand the English system of taxation, and suggested that Gulliver’s figures were all wrong, for the country seemed headed for bankruptcy. Deficit spending made no sense at all to the king. Neither did having colonies, unless it was for purposes of self-protection. He was also mystified by England’s having a standing army in peacetime. He was astonished that religious differences give rise to problems.
And gambling-what a crazy pastime! He was particularly struck by the violence of the history Gulliver described. He then took Gulliver into his hand and, explaining that he found the world that Gulliver described to be ridiculous, contemptuous, and strange, told him that he concluded that most Englishmen sounded like ‘the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth’ who indulged in conspiracies, rebellions, murders, massacres, revolutions, banishments, the very worst effects that avarice, faction, hypocrisy, perfidiousness, cruelty, rage, madness, hatred, envy, lust, malice, or ambition could produce.
Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 2 Chapter 7
The narrator’s love of his country is described. He makes a proposal of much advantage to the king, which is rejected. The king’s great ignorance in politics and the learning of that country very imperfect and confined is written about here. The laws, and military affairs, and parties in the state are explained.
Gulliver was disturbed by the king’s evaluation of England, which he decided arose from his ignorance of the country.
To remedy this, Gulliver offered to teach the king about England’s magnificence. He tried to tell him about gunpowder, describing it as a great invention and offering it to the king as a gesture of friendship, whereby the king could reduce all his subjects to slavery. The king was horrified by the suggestion. He rejected such a bloodthirsty and inhumane proposal, warning the ‘impotent and grovelling insect’ (Gulliver) that he would be executed if he ever mentioned gunpowder again. Gulliver was taken aback, thinking that the king had refused a great opportunity. He thought that the king was unnecessarily scrupulous and narrow-minded for not being more open to the inventions of Gulliver’s world.
Gulliver turned to giving an account of the customs and government of his hosts. The Brobdingnagiari army was a national guard or militia; there w ere no professional soldiers. As for government, it was extremely simple. There were no refinements, mysteries, intrigues, or state secrets. Government depended upon common sense, mercy, and swift justice. Gulliver found the people of Brobdingnag in general to be ignorant and poorly educated. Brobdingnagian learning consisted only of morality, history, poetry and practical mathematics. The Brobdingnagians could not understand abstract reasoning or ideas. Their laws could contain only twenty-two words and had to be absolutely clear. No arguments could be written about them. They knew the art of printing but did not have many books, and their writing was simple and straightforward. One text described the insignificance and weakness of Brobdingnagians and even argued that at one point they must have been much larger.
Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 2 Chapter 8
The king and queen make a progress to the frontiers. The narrator attends them. The manner in which he leaves the country is very particularly related. He returns to England.
Gulliver spent two years in Brobdingnag, but he was not happy, despite the royal family’s pampering. He was afraid that he would never escape and would turn into a sort of domestic, albeit royal, pet. Escape seemed impossible when chance intervened; Gulliver was taken to the south coast and both Glumdalclitch and Gulliver fell ill. Gulliver said that he wanted fresh air, and a page carried him out to the shore in his travelling-box. He asked to be left to sleep in his hammock, and the boy wandered off. An eagle grabbed hold of Gulliver’s box and flew off with him and then, suddenly, Gulliver felt himself falling and landed in the water. He worried that he would drown or starve to death, but then felt the box being pulled. He heard a voice telling him that his box was tied to a ship and that a carpenter would come to drill a hole in the top. Gulliver told them to simply use a finger to pry it open, and heard laughter. He realized that he was speaking to people of his own height and climbed a ladder out of his box and onto their ship.
Gulliver began to recover on the ship, and he tried to tell the sailors the story of his recent journey. He showed them the things he had saved from Brobdingnag, like his comb and a tooth pulled from a footman. He had trouble adjusting to the sailors’ small size. While in Brobdingnag, Gulliver couldn’t bear to look at himself in the mirror as he appeared ridiculously insignificant, even to himself. Now, faced with people his own size for the first time in a long while, he couldn’t bear to look at them. He looked upon the sailors who saved his life as the most ‘contemptible creatures I had ever beheld.’
When he reached home, it took him some time to grow accustomed to his old life, and his wife asked him to never go to sea again.