Book 2, Chapters 1-3 Notes from Gulliver's Travels

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Gulliver's Travels Book 2, Chapters 1-3

Gulliver begins Book 2 by introducing his captain on the Adventure and initial voyage to Surat. The ship sails around the Cape of Good Hope and past the Straits of Madagascar. However, after several months of ailment and traveling, the ship sails into a terrible monsoon, again, standing strong. It is waved westward-southward-westward by the heavy winds, bringing the sailors into unknown territory in the water. On June 16, 1703, a shipmate spots land, a protrusion from a continent, which looks either like an island or a peninsula. The sailors turn around and see, what looks like, a monster in the water coming after them, so they rush to land. Gulliver, afraid for his life, runs up a steep hill and away from everyone else. When he looks around, he notices that things are slightly different than usual. The blades of grass are over twenty feet high, while the sheaves of corn reach an approximate forty feet. Gulliver continues to explore this foreign land and comes across seven seeming monsters such as the one he feared in the water. They are simply men, perhaps servants, who are of such a grand size that makes Gulliver seem like a Lilliputian to them. At that point, Gulliver falls into a deep sadness, prepared to die and sorry for his family. He knows he has no chance of survival in such a world, and recalls his journey in Lilliput. "I reflected what a mortification it must prove to me to appear as inconsiderable in this nation as one single Lilliputian would be among us" Book 2, Chapter 1, pg. 125. He is convinced that, with human rage and savagery, he is sure to be the next morsel in the diet of one of these monster people. Gulliver soon believes in the philosophy that claims that nothing is great or little otherwise than by comparison, for he wonders how such people would receive him, and how he would receive such a people.

Topic Tracking: Exploration 4

In the cornfields, he sees a large one again, and screams loudly so to be heard. The man looks around as if he hears something until he looks down below and sees Gulliver. Picking him up between his forefinger and thumb, he lifts Gulliver to his eyes, as a human would to a bug or mysterious creature. He calls over his master, the farmer, to inquire if hey had ever seen such a creature before in the fields. They both see Gulliver as the first creature of its type and wonder what to do. Gulliver, afraid for his life, humbly offers them gold coins from his purse. The large men cannot decipher the money; so naturally, they do not attend to it. They eventually take him home and show him to the farmer's wife, who initially squeals at the sight of such a creature, as any English woman would at the sight of a bug. After Gulliver shows her such regard and deep respect, she warms up to him. At dinner, they serve him a small man's portion of meat, still 24 feet in diameter, and a substantial portion of liquor. Gulliver now calls the farmer his master and walks across the table to see him. He stumbles over the crust of his bread, as the ten-year-old boy picks him up by his legs, dangling him over the table. The master snaps at his son, ordering him to release Gulliver. As the evening progresses, Gulliver sees more of the family. The mistress's cat comes to play, terrifying Gulliver, as does the family's young baby who desperately wants Gulliver as a play toy. The baby takes Gulliver in its teeth and plays until Gulliver screams so loudly, that he is forced to release him. In a deafening sound, the baby cries to eat and suck on its mother's nipple. This sight is the most gruesome of all for Gulliver, for he sees a six-foot breast, full with pimples and spots and freckles. It makes him appreciate his own women from England, and furthermore contemplate the perfect complexions of the small Lilliputians, who appeared so just because of their minute size. "This made me reflect upon the fair skins of our English ladies, who appear so beautiful to us, only because they are of our own size, and their defects not to be seen through a magnifying glass, where we find by experiment that the smoothest and whitest skins look rough and course, and ill coloured" Book 2, Chapter 1, pg. 13.

Topic Tracking: Gender Differences 2

After the family leaves the room, Gulliver is left alone to take inventory of his surroundings, when a rat (approximately two yards long), comes to attack him. Gulliver grabs a hanger and slits the rat's throat, leaving it bloody and near-dead on the bed. Gulliver is also drenched in blood, and when the mistress enters and sees her poor toy seeming hurt, she has the maid dispose of the dead body and picks up Gulliver for comfort. Gulliver thanks her for her help and desires to be alone. He addresses the readers, apologizing for going into such great detail, but wanting to inform them of his observations of this new land.

Gulliver describes his nurse in admiration, who is also the family's nine-year-old daughter, Glumdalclitch. She takes care of him during his entire stay with them, washing him, feeding him, clothing him, teaching him the language, and keeping him safe in a cradle suspending on a hanging shelf to keep rats away. She gives him his name in the land of Brobdingnag, Grildrig, and cannot go without mention in Gulliver's tales. In due time, news of Gulliver's presence spread throughout the town and the rest of the land of Brobdingnag. The farmer speaks of a creature the size of a "splacknuck" (or small bug), but with all the characteristics of a person, with his own language, who stands upright, who acts in a proper and mannerly fashion, and so on and so forth. Glumdalclitch becomes upset and saddened when she sees other people point and snicker at her little baby, Gulliver, and doesn't want him to be hurt by stupid people wanting to squash him or break his limbs. It seems that she wants to keep him as her own toy, since her parents had previously promised her a lamb as a pet baby, and not given it to her.

Topic Tracking: Gender Differences 3

In due time, the farmer takes Gulliver to town to exhibit him to others. He stands and entertains for eight hours daily, exhausted at keeping up such high energy throughout the day. And in even more time, the family packs Gulliver up and goes on a journey to the metropolis called Lorbrugrud, where he is scheduled to be on exhibition for town after town.

In the metropolis, Gulliver is worked to exhaustion, loses a devastating amount of weight, and seems to be in his last month of life. When the farmer brings him to Court, he makes the acquaintance of Her Majesty, the royal empress of Brobdingnag. After enough entertainment and disbelief by those around her, she offers to buy Gulliver. The farmer sells him instantaneously for one thousand pieces of gold, as he believes Gulliver to be on his deathbed anyway. Gulliver requests only that Glumdalclitch stay with him, as his nursemaid and teacher. She complies, thrilling both farmer and daughter to extremes. When the farmer leaves, Gulliver expresses his distaste for the man who starved him and treated him as he did. He claims that the farmer should not be rewarded for simply not squashing Gulliver. Glumdalclitch, on the other hand, treated him with respect and cared for his every move and statement.

Gulliver soon meets more men of the Court, who view him as a perfect piece of clockwork or machinery, and eventually His Majesty, who becomes instantly fascinated with his stature. With his learned men, they try to discover Gulliver's species. Gulliver attempts to explain his native land to them, where everything is proportionate and people are able to defend themselves from land and nature and enemies. After the men have difficulty with Gulliver's description, they eventually make conclusions through their philosophy of what Gulliver is exactly. His Majesty sends the men away so that he may have some private time with Gulliver and simultaneously requests the presence of the farmer for further questioning.

Following the meeting, the queen appoints her cabinetmaker to design a meticulous home for Gulliver, equipped with padded walls and a key to keep away the rats. Glumdalclitch is also cared for by tutors and maids. The queen takes a quick liking to Gulliver, requesting his presence at all her meals. She loves to see him eat in his miniature fashion, while Gulliver struggles with watching her eat, a genuine grotesque sight in his eyes.

"For the Queen (who had indeed but a weak stomach) took up at one mouthful as much as a dozen English farmers could eat at a meal, which to me was for some time a very nauseous sight. She would craunch the wing of a lark, bones and all, between her teeth, although it were nine times as large as that of a full-grown turkey; and put a bit of break in her mouth, as big as two twelve-penny loaves. She drank out of a golden cup, above a hogshead at a draught. Her knives were twice a long as a scythe set straight upon the handle. The spoons, forks, and other instruments were all in the same proportion." Book 2, Chapter 3, pg. 145

On Wednesdays, Gulliver eats with both the King and Queen, for it is their holy Sabbath. Gulliver informs him of the English system of government, their political parties, and wars, yielding confusion and laughter from the King. He wonders if Gulliver is a Whig or a Tory. He soon meets the Queen's dwarf, a person of infinite cruelty and existence on the lowest end of social status. Upon seeing Gulliver, he immediately discovers his superiority and taunts Gulliver. He even throws him into a large bowl of cream, from which Glumdalclitch rescues him. The dwarf is punished and banished from the royal Court, pleasing Gulliver, for he has no idea how far the dwarf would have carried his cruelty and resentment.

Topic Tracking: Politics 7

Gulliver has difficulty dealing with the flying insects in the air. The Queen finds him a coward, for he constantly fears these bugs, which appear minuscule to the Brobdingnag population. Eventually, Gulliver learns to slice them to pieces in the air, garnering acclaim and attention from the Queen and those around him. He tells the reader that he brings their remains back to Europe to show to local colleges.

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