Notes on Gulliver's Travels Themes

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Gulliver's Travels Topic Tracking: Exploration

Exploration 1: Gulliver decides to join a ship to explore the South Sea. After his education, Gulliver is curious as to the ways of other worlds and jumps at the chance to discover new lands. He leaves his wife so easily, that it would seem he has married an explorer instead of a woman.

Exploration 2: Although he is living in a previously unexplored land, Gulliver wants to see all of Lilliput. He explores the metropolis and looks into the royal palace. He explores this land from a bird's eye view, since he hovers above the land as a giant Man-Mountain.

Exploration 3: When Gulliver meets with the Blefuscu-an emperor, they both agree on a love and need for exploration of other countries and cultures. Both the Blefuscu and Lilliput empires desire their youth to be exchange students in each other's countries.

Exploration 4: After arriving in Brobdingnag, Gulliver sees the twenty foot long blades of grass and forty foot sheaves of corn, and decides to explore the land. He sees enormous agriculture and people, and eventually fears for his life, as he realizes he is the size of a Lilliputian.

Exploration 5: Gulliver explores the land of Brobdingnag in all its glory and gory. He discovers the land, the cities, the dirt, and the food. He comments on all of it in relation to his own size and his own native land in Europe.

Exploration 6: Even after his miraculous exit and recovery from Brobdingnag, Gulliver still desires to explore more of the world. He looks upon his wife and children as pygmies, and has difficulty living with them. His need to see more and explore still pulls at his soul, so he prepares for his third journey.

Exploration 7: Gulliver spots the land of multiple islands from his ship, held captive by pirates. When he is release, he jumps from island to island, exploring the different terrain and environments, until he is swept off land into the flying island of Laputa.

Exploration 8: Gulliver explores Laputa in excruciating detail, as he has with Lilliput and Brobdingnag. He details the lodestone, the people, the countryside, and the dimensions of the land in his writings.

Exploration 9: After Gulliver grows weary of his stay on the flying island, he is prepared to explore some of the lands underneath. He gathers his letter of recommendation and heads down to Balnibarbi, the continent, to explore the lands of Luggnagg and Glubbdubdrib.

Exploration 10: Gulliver explores other parts of the continent, including Glubbdubdrib, the island of magicians and sorcerers. From there, he explores his curiosity even farther by summoning the ghosts of Caesar, Pompey, Alexander the Great, and more great figures of history.

Exploration 11: Gulliver explores the island of Luggnagg, on which he meets the Struldbruggs, a people of immortality. He further explores the meaning behind immortality, learning that it is rather a curse than a blessing.

Exploration 12: Gulliver explores the footprints, hoof prints, and other marks on the ground of the new land. He sees horses, cows, and hideous people, called yahoos. He begins to explore this new culture's language when he shouts out the word "yahoo!" It seems as though Gulliver's exploration is turning inward.

Exploration 13: Gulliver leaves Houyhnhnm in good weather and explores more of the seas and lands until he arrives in Lisbon, Portugal. He fears the Inquisition will find him mad, for nobody can believe his great story. He continues to explore himself and the land until he finally arrives home in England.

Exploration 14: After four long journeys and sixteen years abroad, Gulliver turns his explorations inwards. He despises the human race - especially his family - after living with the Houyhnhnms for so long. He explores his inner thoughts, dreams, wishes and ideas with two horses that he purchases. He also explores his past experiences through writing. The entire book of journeys is a written exploration of Gulliver's ideas and experiences.

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