Gulliver's Travels By Jonathan Swift Summary and Analysis Part II: Chapter 3

Summary

The Queen asks for an audience with the farmer and Gulliver, and Gulliver performs admirably and respectfully for her. The Queen, being attracted to the novelty of this tiny man, buys Gulliver from the farmer. Included in this arrangement is the farmer's daughter, Glumdalclitch, who becomes a member of the Queen's court as Gulliver's nurse. Conversing with the King, Gulliver tells him about English customs and politics. The King is amused; he laughs at the fierceness of such tiny insects. Gulliver dares not refute the King's opinion; indeed, before long, he adopts his host's point of view.

The King and Queen are happy with Gulliver, but there is one member of the royal entourage who is not happy: the Queen's dwarf, who is jealous because Gulliver has replaced him in the Queen's affection.

Analysis

Swift prevents us from idealizing the giants by reminding us of their incapacity to accept Gulliver as a scaled-down version of a Brobdingnagian. Gulliver always considered the Lilliputians as miniature men, but this is not true of the Brobdingnagians. Even the King, who is affectionate towards Gulliver, thinks of him as rat-like and as a contrivance made of clockwork.

The King discredits Gulliver and his fellow Englishmen. And, because the King is adamant toward the English, Swift has a mouthpiece to voice some of his complaints. The English, he emphasizes, are contradictory. They "love, fight, dispute, cheat, and betray." In general, the Brobdingnagians do not. Interestingly, the only real "villain" in Brobdingnag is the Queen's jester — a dwarf, diminutive physically and lacking in the Brobdingnagian virtues, who wedges Gulliver into the hollow of a bone and dumps him into a large silver bowl of cream.

The King also mocks human pretension, and once again we recall our perspective. In Book I, we stood tall, like Gulliver, and watched the Lilliputians mimic human posturings and vanities. Now we stand small, like Gulliver, and listen to a moral giant discredit human pride and pretense. Gulliver accepts the King's judgment. Actually, it would be false pride not to. The King is merely telling Gulliver, and us, what we already know about the damage that results from inflated pride. But Gulliver is still gullible; his acceptance of the King's viewpoint reflects the fact that he is beginning to adjust to the Brobdingnagian perspective.

Glossary

scrutore (escritoire) a writing desk or table.

equipage furnishings; accessories.

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Gulliver’s visit to Lilliput allows Swift to satirize what sort of rulers?




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