Book Notes Book 1, Chapters 4-6 Notes from Gulliver's Travels

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Gulliver's Travels Book 1, Chapters 4-6

Gulliver's first point of action with his newly granted freedom is to visit the metropolis of Lilliput, Mildendo. The inhabitants, with due notice, all entered their houses, as to not be trampled by Gulliver's large legs. He sees the city from above, as a perfect square that houses some 500,000 populates. The emperor's palace sits in the center of the city. Gulliver steps over buildings so that he may see the palace better, and after several days of carving a stool from a nearby true trunk, he lifts up the roof and looks inside. The interior is splendid, with the wealthy princes waving to him and the empress extended her hand for a kiss. As Gulliver begins to describe the wonders of the royal palace, he stops himself quickly to inform the reader that he is working on another, longer work that describes the Lilliputian palace and government in full detail.

Topic Tracking: Exploration 2

Approximately two weeks into his freedom, Gulliver makes the acquaintance of Reldresal, the Principal Secretary of Private Affairs. Reldresal openly visits Gulliver in his house, and instead of asking Gulliver to lay down so that he may speak into his ear, he requests to be held in Gulliver's hands, so that they may speak eye to eye. Reldresal recounts the political history of Lilliput to Gulliver, explaining the two opposing governing parties of Tramecksan and Slamecksan, and furthermore, about the source of feud between neighboring empire Blefuscu and Lilliput. The war between the two empires has gone on for six and thirty moons because of an edict starting by the king's grandfather on how to break an egg. According to Lilliputian law, people must break an egg by its small end. However, those who believe or desire to break an egg at its big end (the Big-Endians), continue to try, finding death or exile. Although Reldresal believes that it should be the prerogative of each individual Lilliputian on how to break an egg, he confesses that some 11,000 Lilliputians have lost their lives trying to change the law. The exiled Big-Endians find refuge in Blefuscu, yielding the war that continually ensues on the land. Lilliputians continue to lose ships and men because of the mandate, and Reldresal requests Gulliver's aid in the perpetual battle. Gulliver complies: "I desired the Secretary to present my humble duty to the Emperor, and to let him know, that I thought it would not become me, who was a foreigner, to interfere with parties; but I was ready, with the hazard of my life, to defend his person and state against all invaders" Book 1, Chapter 4, pg. 86.

Topic Tracking: Politics 3

Gulliver describes the neighboring island of Blefuscu and his plan of attack. He waded in the water, which is approximately six feet in European measures, and some 70 "glumgluffs" deep in Lilliputian. He recalls his victory over the Blefuscu naval forces, pulling at the ships by their anchors and scaring them with his monstrous presence. He uses his glasses to protect his eyes, as the Blefuscu soldiers repeatedly shoot arrows into his arms and face. Gulliver uses the ointment previously described to heal his meager wounds, and eventually pulls the ships out of their safe anchor. "I came in a short time within hearing, and holding up the end of the cable by which the fleet was fastened, I cried in a loud voice, Long live the most puissant Emperor of Lilliput! This great prince received me at my landing with all possible encomiums, and created me a Nardac upon the spot, which is the highest title of honour among them" Book 1, Chapter 5, pp. 88-89. Soon after the victory, the emperor desires to establish Blefuscu into a province ruled by Lilliput, in which nobody shall break eggs by their big ends. Gulliver protests such an action, for he refuses to be a part of something that creates slaves out of free men. Embittered and angry, the Emperor and several of his ministers divide forces of allegiance. Some become intent on destroying Gulliver for making such a bold statement, while others support him vehemently. "And from this time began an intrigue between his Majesty and a junto of Ministers maliciously bent against me, which broke out in less than two months, an ha like to have ended in my utter destruction. Of so little weight are the greatest services to princes, when put into the balance with a refusal to gratify their passions" Book 1, Chapter 5, pg. 89.

Topic Tracking: Politics 4

Gulliver meets the Emperor of Blefuscu and offers his friendship. As the two opposing monarchies are of distinct culture, they also speak different languages. A translator is required at Gulliver's meeting with the Emperor. Both empires desire their youth to explore and see the world, by exchanging their students in each country.

Topic Tracking: Exploration 3

A fire breaks out suddenly in the house of the Empress, due to negligence of one of her maids. The Lilliputians seek Gulliver hastily, as he may be able to extinguish the flames. In his rush, he forgets his overcoat, which could easily put out the fire. He sees the thimble-like size of the water buckets and recalls that he has yet to use the bathroom for the day after a night of heavy drinking. Thereupon in the midst of the fire and smoke, Gulliver urinates over the Empress's house, meticulously in the locations of the flames, and extinguishes the fire, saving her life in an unorthodox fashion. Although he has helped, he fears the Emperor because of his method. Gulliver is ultimately pardoned, but the Empress mandates that the contaminated buildings be left as they are.

Topic Tracking: Gender Differences 1

Gulliver takes Chapter Six of his writings to explain the Lilliputian culture, government, and social credo. He tells the reader that he does not plan to go into grave detail, for he is leaving that description for a specific treatise on the novel government he has encountered. However, he states that the Lilliputians are on average less than six inches in height, with the rest of their livestock relative to their stature. The tallest tree is seven feet high. They have excellent sight close-up, but have difficulty with distance. Their method of writing and learning is indescribable, as it is not from right to left, or left to right, or top to bottom, or any such logical method. The method of burying their dead is of particular interest to Gulliver:

"They bury their dead with their heads directly downwards, because they hold an opinion that in eleven thousand moons they are all to rise again, in which period the earth (which they conceive to be flat) will turn upside down, and by this means they shall, at their resurrection, be found ready standing on their feet. The learned among them confess the absurdity of this doctrine, but the practice still continues, in compliance to the vulgar." Book 1, Chapter 6, pg. 94

He discusses some of their peculiar laws that lay in direct contrast to those, which he knows so well in England. The legal system favors the guilty, it seems, while fraud is a greater crime than theft. Furthermore, credit is vital to the economy, so the knave has a better standing than the honest man. Law-abiding citizens are rewarded for their good behavior. The Lilliputians are shocked to learn of Gulliver's government that only enacts its policies by punishment, instead of by reward. "It is upon this account that the image of Justice, in their courts of judicature, is formed with six eyes, two before, as many behind, and on each side one, to signify circumspection; with a bag of gold open in her right hand, and a sword sheathed in her left, to show she is ore disposed to reward than to punish" Book 1, Chapter 6, pg. 95. The Lilliputians do not believe in a Divine Providence, ingratitude is a capital crime, and children are under no obligation to their parents for merely bringing them into the world. All children are sent at birth to a public nursery, where they are educated and prepared to take over their parents' stations in life at the age of 20 moons. The nurseries are divided by both gender and class, with each nursery taking care of the children in dress and education. Parents are rarely allowed to see their children and are expected to pay a pension for their child's entertainment and education. Finally, the lowest class, the cottagers and laborers keep their children with them at home, without sending them to a nursery. "Their education is of little consequence to the public; but the old and diseased among them are supported by hospitals: for begging is a trade unknown in this Empire" Book 1, Chapter 6, pg. 99.

Topic Tracking: Politics 5

Ultimately, Gulliver describes his own home and circumstance in detail. In precise detail, he recounts how the hundreds of seamstresses create his new attire and how hundreds of cooks and waiters feed him on a daily basis for the nine months he has lived in Lilliput. The lady of Flimnap, the High Treasurer of the land was rumored to have developed feelings for Gulliver, causing not only her deep problems, but also for Gulliver. Although Gulliver explains the truth to Reldresal and everyone else, his high position as Nardac, seems to be in jeopardy and his good reputation waning.

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