Gulliver's Travels By Jonathan Swift Summary and Analysis Part II: Chapter 8

Summary

Gulliver spends two years in Brobdingnag, but he is not happy despite the royal family's pampering. He is afraid that he will never escape and will turn into a sort of domestic, albeit royal, pet. Escape seems impossible; chance, however, intervenes: On a trip to the seashore, an eagle swoops down, snatches up the box Gulliver travels in, and drops it into the sea. The box is driven by the wind close to an English ship and is spied by some sailors, who retrieve Gulliver and his possessions. Gulliver does not adjust easily to his fellow Englishmen. After living two years in a land of giants, he has convinced himself that all Englishmen are midgets. Everything looks tiny back home, and he feels like a giant. In time Gulliver's sense of perspective heals.

Analysis

Swift reinforces the idea of the giant's moral superiority by having Gulliver identify the English with the Lilliputians. This association also makes Gulliver ridiculous. It demonstrates the folly and self-deception that Gulliver practices in identifying himself with the moral giants. Gulliver's pride is at the root of his trouble. Swift dramatizes this with the mirror Gulliver cannot bear to look into. The mirror is a standard device, just as satire is; anyone who looks closely is shown his own flaws.

Swift has finished his Analysis on human morality. In Gulliver's next voyage, he trains his satire on people's intellect: how they use — and misuse — it.

Glossary

hundred leagues one league is about three nautical miles; here, meaning about 300 nautical miles.

conceit an idea, thought, concept.

raillery light, good-natured ridicule or satire; banter.

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

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




Quiz