Gulliver's Travels By Jonathan Swift Summary and Analysis Part II: Chapter 4

Summary

When the King and Queen go traveling about the country, they decide to take Gulliver along. Gulliver describes 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. In describing the inhabitants of the island, Gulliver focuses on their illnesses and diseases. He mentions, for instance, giant beggars, horribly deformed, with lice crawling all over them. Gulliver compares the sights to similar sights in his homeland. Finally, the dimensions of the King's palace are described with the kitchen receiving particular attention.

Analysis

The exact dimensions that Gulliver enumerates in the chapter emphasize Gulliver's smallness. The description of the church, for example, reinforces this notion: Size denotes morality. Swift also shows us another magnified view of human flesh. Gulliver sees people with obvious tumors and cysts, and he states, "But the most hateful sight of all was the lice crawling on their clothes: I could see distinctly the limbs of these vermin . . . ." Gulliver's interest as a doctor is piqued because he suggests that he would like to dissect one of these vermin, but he adds, " . . . the sight was so nauseous, that it perfectly turned my stomach." Even if we have disgust for the physique of the giant beggars, it is surpassed by our disgust for the lice that crawl over the enormous bodies. The lesson is this: The giant beggars may be physically revolting, but the pernicious little vermin (humans) are even more so.

Glossary

wen a benign skin tumor, especially of the scalp, consisting of a fatty cyst.

in battalia in full battle dress.

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




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