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Book 3, Chapters 5-8 Notes from Gulliver's Travels

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Gulliver's Travels Book 3, Chapters 5-8

Gulliver visits the Academy, which adorns both sides of a street for several buildings. Waste is placed in between both sides and purchased by the Academy for use in its multiple experiments utilizing projectors. The Warden openly welcomes Gulliver to the school and shows him several of the experiments currently in action. He meets an unkempt man who has been working eight years on a project in which he is supposed to extract sunbeams out of cucumbers, he sees a chamber in which people are trying to reduce human excrement to its original food, another which calcine ice into gunpowder, another which consists of building houses from the roof down to its foundation, a blind painter who mixes colors by their texture and smell, and yet another in which an artist uses spiders and cobwebs as the manufacturer of silks. Gulliver even walks into a room in which a doctor tries to help and cure a dog of colic by placing a large bellows inside the anus of the animal and pumps an enormity of air inside, hoping to blow out any disease. The dog lets out a foul amount of excrement and soon dies. He continues to visit more rooms, but chooses to exclude them from the rest of his writings.

Gulliver travels to the other side of the Academy where the advancers of speculative learning reside, and meets a professor who explains their method of learning by practical and mechanical operations.

"But the world would soon be sensible of its usefulness, and he flattered himself that a more noble exalted thought never sprang in any other man's head. Every one knew how laborious the usual method is of attaining to arts and sciences; whereas by his contrivance, the most ignorant person at a reasonable charge, and with a little bodily labour, may write books in philosophy, poetry, politics, law, mathematics, and theology, without the least assistance from genius or study." Book 3, Chapter 5, pg. 227

The professor shows Gulliver the massive twenty-foot frame centering the room. It consists of all letters and sounds of the language, held together by wires. Students spend six hours a day moving around the frame, discerning all letters and words in the Laputan language. He claims that all vocabulary can be found on his frame. Gulliver promises to erect a massive frame such as this if he ever returns to England. Gulliver also visits the school of languages, in which he learns of several methods by which to strengthen the discourse by "cutting poly-syllables into one, and leaving out verbs and particles, because in reality all things imaginable are but nouns" Book 3, Chapter 5, pg. 230. Another language project is to abolish all words, for they take up breath causing life to be cut shorter than necessary, and instead communicate by things. They claim that since words are simply names for things, they might as well communicate by using the things and carrying them around with them, therefore eliminating oral speech and the consequential miscommunication between different languages. Gulliver also visits the math school, in which he is confused by an experiment that consists of eating a wafer with a problem written on it. The student eats nothing but water and bread after eating the wafer, and it is supposed to travel to his brain so that he may understand the problem. Of course, it is unsuccessful. Gulliver next visits with the political projectors and philosophers, having difficulty with their thoughts and edicts.

"The highest tax was upon men who are the greatest favourites of the other sex, an the assessments according to the number and natures of the favours they have received; for which they are allowed to be their own vouchers. Wit, valour, and politeness were likewise proposed to be largely taxed, and collected in the same manner, by every person's giving his own word for the quantum of what he possessed. But as to honour, justice, wisdom and learning, they should not be taxed at all, because they are qualifications of so singular a kind, that no man will either allow them in his neighbour, or value them in himself." Book 3, Chapter 6, pg. 235

Likewise, the women are taxed according to their beauty and fashion, upon their own decision, leaving chastity, good nature, and the like to be untaxed. Senators raffle for their employment, as opposed to being appointed or voted into office, and suspected people are judged by the color of their excrement (on whether they plan to conspire against the government). Frustrated by such rules and regulations, Gulliver offers some advice from all the countries he has seen during his travels, and longs to return home.

Topic Tracking: Gender Differences 7

Because the continent is so massive, it contains several large towns. Gulliver plans to take a ship from the port of Maldonada to the nearby island of Luggnagg. However, since no ship is available for approximately one month, Gulliver visits the nearby island of Glubbdubdrib with a friend he meets at the port. Glubbdubdrib is the Island of Sorcerers or Magicians, and consequently is a land of ghosts and spirits. Initially, Gulliver is terrified of the ghosts roaming the countryside and air at night. However, when he visits the Governor, he is able to call upon any dead person in history, so that he may ask a question. He summons Alexander the Great, discovering that he was not poisoned, but rather died from excessive drinking. Gulliver is thrilled at discovering the world of yesteryear and spends all night summoning great figures in history, from Caesar, to Pompey, Hannibal to Socrates, and more. He ends this tale before he claims to bore the reader with specifics of his experience. However, Gulliver sets aside an entire day to discuss politics with the greats of history. He sees the apparent distinction between Homer and Aristotle, the intellect of DeCartes, and spends five days discussing political history with the first Roman Emperors. Gulliver becomes irate and disappointed with them after learning of their motives behind the gore and violence they used during their rule. He is disgusted with modern history, of his time, when he discovers how revolutions and changes come about, realizing that everything political and every change in the world seems to have done so through deceit and possible malice.

Topic Tracking: Exploration 10

"As every person called up made exactly the same appearance he had done in the world, it gave me melancholy reflections to observe how much the race of human kind was degenerate among us, within these hundred years past. How the pox under all its consequences and denominations had altered every lineament of an English countenance, shortened the size of bodies, unbraced the nerves, relaxed the sinews and muscles, introduced a sallow complexion, and rendered the flesh loose and rancid." Book 3, Chapter 8, pg. 247

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