Book 2, Chapters 4-6 Notes from Gulliver's Travels

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Gulliver's Travels Book 2, Chapters 4-6

Gulliver takes a chapter in his tales to describe the land of Brogdingnag. As he travels the metropolis, he learns that it is 2000 miles in circumference, and furthermore, that the King's dominion reaches out 6000 miles more of land. He claims that the English cartographers must readjust their maps to account for such a large mass of land in between Japan and California. The kingdom is a peninsula, with its surrounding waters the same as those near England. Fish is the relative size to fish for Gulliver, so the people do not use them as food. Occasionally, they bring in a beached whale to eat as a delicacy; however, they are not generally received well. The country has fifty-one cities, a hundred walled towns, and countless villages. The palace and temple are grand, but not impressive, for Gulliver measures the perspective and relativity of the steeples, and they fall short of the relative height of those chapels in London.

Topic Tracking: Exploration 5

When the Queen, Glumdalclitch, and Gulliver stop on the street to look at some stores, they see beggars and homeless men and women. This sight is ghastly.

"There was a woman with a cancer in her breast, swelled to a monstrous size, full of holes, in two or three of which I could have easily crept, and covered my whole body. There was a fellow with a wen in his neck, larger than five woolpacks, and another with a couple of wooden legs, each about twenty foot high. But, the most hateful sight of all was the lice crawling on their clothes. I could see distinctly the limbs of these vermin with my naked eyes, much better than those of an European louse through a microscope, and their snouts with which they rooted like swine." Book 2, Chapter 4, pp. 151-152

Topic Tracking: Gender Differences 4

Gulliver continues to view such landmarks as the Palace and the King's kitchen. He informs the reader that he is translating his writings into Brobdingnag, and does not want to go into any more detail, for fear of what they people may think of his writings. He does not want them to think he is negative towards their culture, so he discontinues his meticulous observations.

Gulliver recounts several of his problematic encounters, while living comfortably in the Court under the care of Glumdalclitch. He believes that if it were not for so many ridiculous and dangerous encounters, he could have lived quite happily in Brobdingnag. Such encounters consisted of a hailstorm that beat him black and blue for ten days, being swept up in the mouth of a dog in the courtyard while Glumdalclitch was walking with her governess, and living as the object of enmity by the dwarf, who shook an apple tree on top of Gulliver, forcing the fruit to fall on him. Worried about her doll, Glumdalclitch does not want to leave Gulliver for a single moment. Because of this, Gulliver does not inform her of all his trials, such as being carried away by a kite and dueling with the birds.

Several of the local Maids of Honour request Glumdalclitch's company, with the true desire to see Gulliver. She brings him along to her meetings with them, as they play with him and lay them on top of their bosoms. Gulliver has difficulty breathing because of their strong and repugnant scent. Although he understands that they are no more offensive to their men that English women are to English men, because of his size, he smells all details of body odor, and prefers their natural scent to that of perfume. He also recalls during his time at Lilliput, that a friend informed him of his strong odor after much physical labor. During one of the visits with the Maids of Honour, they women unclothed themselves in front of Gulliver. He is disgusted by their sight of discolored skin and hair and moles, and even more repulsed by one maiden who places Gulliver on her nipple to play. Gulliver skillfully devises a plan so that Glumdalclitch never sees that particular woman again.

Topic Tracking: Gender Differences 5

Gulliver attends a local execution of a criminal. The man is to be beheaded, and although Gulliver is approximately one mile (English distance) from the spectacle, the gory details and spurting blood are so large, that he jumps with fear at the drop of the head.

The Queen, fascinated by Gulliver's background, constantly desires to hear his stories of life at sea, as both a surgeon and a sailor. She tries to bring him out to the water, to give him exercise, and more entertainment; however, such attempts invariably end in disaster and near-death experiences for Gulliver. Outside on a boat one day, he was almost dropped forty feet, until his fall was miraculously stopped by corking-pin, and eventually Glumdalclitch. Thereafter, he also encountered a large frog, who he desperately wanted to fight off alone, and most devastatingly a monkey. The monkey debacle nearly cost him his life, as it picked him up and stuffed him with victuals, squeezing him, and dragging him all over the courtyard. Everyone tried to rescue Gulliver, and after much trauma, several of the men caught the monkey after climbing up a ladder. Gulliver vomited profusely and was bedridden for a fortnight. The monkey is put to death and the Queen repeatedly visits Gulliver during his recovery. After his recovery, Gulliver visits the King, who is curious as to the feeling of being held in a monkey's hand and stuffed with monkey vermin. Although Gulliver tries to explain his experiences and feelings, the only sentiments that come out seem to be laughter, which the King cannot understand in any fashion other than comical.

"This made me reflect how vain an attempt it is for a man to endeavor doing himself honour among those who are out of all degree of equality or comparison with him. And yet I have seen the moral of my own behavior very frequent in England since my return, where a little contemptible varlet, without the least title to birth, person, wit, or common sense, shall presume to look with importance, and put himself upon a foot with the greatest persons of the kingdom." Book 2, Chapter 5, pp. 163

This lifestyle continues, consisting of Gulliver encountering some ridiculous experience with Glumdalclitch, who then tells it to all of the Court. Although he knows that she loves him dearly, she derives great pleasure in informing everyone of Gulliver's misfortunes. One day they leave the Court for a short trip thirty miles outside of town. When they stop the carriage, Gulliver exits to relieve himself. However, he stumbles into some horse manure in the street. Although he is immediately picked up and cleaned, he is the new laughing stock of the kingdom for several days.

Gulliver spends much time with the King, being privy to his morning exercises, which include shaving and walking, and also listening to music and governmental discussions. After telling the King of England's political system, he is revered and requested at all meetings. Gulliver worries of portraying the system of government poorly. "Imagine with thyself, courteous reader, how often I then wished for the tongue of Demosthenes or Cicero, that might have enabled me to celebrate the praises of my own dear native country in a style equal to its merits and felicity" Book 2, Chapter 6, pg. 167. Gulliver recites the history of the United Kingdom, from its geography to its politics, religious belief to royalty, laws, customs, judiciary system, and so on and so forth. The King listens attentively, taking notes and bringing six audiences to listen to him. After hearing a detailed description of England's governmental system, he offers a rebuttal to almost all of the aspects of the country. Gulliver has difficulty defending his land, but listens to the King's warning and fears.

Topic Tracking: Politics 8

"My little friend Grildrig; you have made a most admirable panegyric upon your country. You have clearly proved that ignorance, idleness, and vice are the proper ingredients for qualifying a legislator. That laws are best explained, interpreted, and applied by those whose interest and abilities lie in perverting, confounding, and eluding them. I observe among you some lines of an institution, which in it original might have been tolerable, but these half erased, and the rest wholly blurred and blotted by corruptions." Book 2, Chapter 6, pg. 172

The King continues to insult Gulliver's race and culture, calling it base and pernicious. With all of Gulliver's traveling, he also believes Gulliver to have escaped much of the horror that his country provides and creates.

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