“Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift (1726) – Part 1: A Voyage to Lilliput (Ch. 5-8)

“Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift (1726) – Part 1: A Voyage to Lilliput (Ch. 5-8)

Chapter 5

  • Blefuscu was an island across an 800 yard channel from Lilliput
    • They didn’t know about Gulliver. Communication & trade had been cut off since the beginning of the war
    • He came up with a plan to capture their fleet as the channel was only 6 feet deep
    • He used his spyglass to see 50 men of war along with other transport ships & took a cable & an iron bar like a thread & needle
    • He waded out & swam toward the fleet whose sailors were pissing themselves in fear – 30000 men jumped ship in a panic
    • He used the thread to rope all the ships together while being shot at by arrows. He pulled them together but they were anchored. He cut them loose & dragged the ships back to Lilliput’s port
  • The emperor saw the ships but not Gulliver & presumed he was dead & Lilliput’s ships prepared for a battle until he showed his head
    • The emperor began to think of other ways to use Gulliver in his military
    • When Gulliver refused, he lost favor with the emperor & fueled his enemies in the court
  • 3 weeks later, Blefuscu made a peace offering which was very favorable to Lilliput
    • Gulliver expressed a desire to see the place but the emperor gave him a non-committal & cold agreement
    • It was clear that the court was plotting against Gulliver
    • But Gulliver was given the highest rank in Lilliput for his deeds in battle
  • One night, the emperor’s palace caught fire & they came to ask Gulliver to put it out. The only way he could do this is to piss on the fire to put it out. Within 3 minutes, the fire was completely extinguished.
    • In daylight, expecting a ton of gratitude from the emperor, he got a lot of earache from him & the empress demanded revenge for the dishonor done to her

Chapter 6 – About Lilliput

  • The average person was about 6 inches tall & animals were in proportion to the people as our animals are to us
    • Horses & oxen were about 4 to 5 inches tall
    • Sheep were 1.5 inches tall
    • Geese were the size of sparrows
    • Larks were the size of flies
    • Tall trees were about 7 feet high
    • They write diagonally from one corner to the other of a piece of paper
    • They bury their dead head down in the ground because they believe that the earth is flat & in 1000 years it will turn over & those buried will be resurrected, ready to pop out like plants from the ground
  • Crimes are punished severely but if the accused can prove his innocence, the accuser is put to death & the accused will be compensated for the loss of time
    • If not enough to do this is available, the crown pitches in for the rest & he’s publicly proclaimed innocent
    • Fraud is considered worse than theft & is punishable by death
      • You can defend against thieves but you can’t defend honesty against cunning & an unpunished commercial fraud, an honest man suffers & the fraud wins
    • We usually think of government’s sole function as reward & punishment & that best seen in Lilliput, more so than with us
    • If you can prove yourself able to follow laws strictly for 6 years, you can claim privileges in the form of titles
    • They think only having penalties doesn’t enforce laws
    • Justice is depicted as a head with 6 eyes – 2 in front, 2 in back, 1 on each side – to see everywhere – holding an open bag of gold in one hand & a sheathed sword in the other – symbolizing reward & punishment
  • Jobs require morals more than ability because it’s more important to have a strong sense of human understanding in work
    • God never intended good government to be a mystery to be only understood by just a few people
    • Truth, justice, temperance are within every man’s grasp
      • The idea isn’t only to discourage corruption but to encourage good behavior
    • Disbelief in God disqualified a man from public jobs because he would be acting under an authority he’s disowned
      • Probably doesn’t include the acrobatic jobs at festivals
  • Ingratitude is a capital crime & to be rude to one’s benefactor is to be an enemy of mankind & is to be unfit to live
  • Children aren’t obligated to parents for having brought them into the world
    • Parents are the last people to be trusted with a child’s education
    • Schools varied in qualities & between the sexes
      • Noble Male Nurseries:
        • Serious teachers with deputies
        • simple food & clothes
        • Bred with principles: honor, justice, courage, honesty, forgiveness, religion & patriotism
        • Given 2 hours of play & entertainment a day
        • Only allowed to see parents 2x year (less than an hour each time) without presents or touching
        • If families can’t pay, the emperor foots the bill
        • Middle class nurseries are similar but kids are sent to apprenticeships from 7 to 15
      • Noble Female Nurseries:
        • Like males but nurses are forbidden to tell scary or silly stories
        • Kids are afraid of being a fool or a coward & hate fancy dress
        • There is some physical education but not as much as the boys
        • Taught to be good & smart future companions until marriage age (12) & sent back to the parents
      • Poorer girls:
        • Expected to help in running nurseries by giving a % of monthly earnings in later apprenticeships & jobs
          • Taking without giving back in unthinkable
      • Working class kids are kept at home
  • About Gulliver’s stay in Lilliput:
    • Made his own table & chair
    • had 200 seamstresses to make him clothes & linen
      • Usually took his measurements by having him lie down & & using measuring tapes for making blankets
      • Had 300 tailors to make his clothes which ended up looking like patchwork
    • Had 300 cooks who had their houses built near his
      • 20 waiters to serve him on the table & 100 below it to pass up the food & drink
      • The food was good but he ate it bones & all
    • The emperor heard how good he had it & asked to eat with him. The emperor’s family & advisors sat with him on top of the table
      • Flimnap, the Treasurer, looked at him funny the whole time because he thought Gulliver was the reason why the country was going broke.
        • He was also jealous because his wife had taken a shine to Gulliver & often visited him along with her children & fellow court ladies
        • No one visited him in secret except the one time asking for his help with Blefuscu
        • Flimnap also may have been jealous of Gulliver’s high rank & lies began to circulate about him. This made Flimnap poison the emperor’s mind about Gulliver

Chapter 7

  • For 2 months, a plot had been brewing against him
    • Gulliver had heard of court plots before but never experience one
  • As he was preparing his visit to Blefuscu, a court member visited him secretly at night
    • He said that Skyris Bolgolam, the High Admiral, hated Gulliver ever since he arrived & especially after the naval victory over Blefuscu
      • Flimnap’s jealousy also played a role
    • The case against him was
      • Pissing on the palace & the empress was treason
      • He refused to conquer Blefuscu & was helping heretics
      • He aided & abetted the Blefuscu ambassador when he came suing for peace
      • His planned visit to Blefuscu didn’t have official approval & was a violation of his agreement with the emperor not to leave Lilliput with official permission
    • When the emperor spoke of Gulliver’s good qualities & deed, his enemies proposed a plan to poison Gulliver’s food
      • Reldresal spoke highly of Gulliver & asked for leniency – maybe just put out his eyes
        • Most of the court didn’t like the idea, especially since he had pissed on the palace & empress & could very well do it again
        • To their minds, once a traitor, always a traitor
        • The treasurer noted how much of a drain Gulliver was on the coffers
      • The emperor thought they could just slowly stop feeding him so he’d waste away & when he died, they would have less rotting flesh to deal with & less to bury. The court agreed.
        • In 3 days, they’d send someone to read Gulliver the accusations against him & put his eyes out
        • The friend told him it was up to him how to react & then left
  • It was clear that the emperor & court had made up their minds because they had never rescinded a decree once it was made. It was going to happen
    • A speech was usually given about leniency & tenderness but the harder this message was pushed, the worse the punishment ended up being
    • Gulliver didn’t want to stick around to hear the speech & get his eyes gouged out, so he planned to run way while he could
      • He would use the trip to Blefuscu as a way to run away
      • He went to the far side of the island, took a man of war to carry his clothes in until he got to Blefuscu
        • They were expecting his visit but knew nothing of his escape

Chapter 8

  • 3 days after arriving in Blefuscu, he saw what seemed to be an overturned boat in the water
    • He asked the emperor there for help from what few boats remained to fetch it & bring it to shallow water for him to examine it
    • The people were in awe of its size & Gulliver began to prepare to leave
  • The Lilliputian emperor sent an envoy to tell the Blefuscu emperor & Gulliver about his leniency & the plan to put his eyes out but Gulliver had run away. He had 2 hours to return or he’d be considered a traitor
    • The Blefuscu emperor told the envoy that he couldn’t force Gulliver to return & that Gulliver hadn’t broken any of his laws but that Gulliver was leaving soon anyway. The envoy left
  • The emperor offered to help Gulliver in return for a few favors
    • Gulliver started repairing the boat
    • The emperor gave him 500 workmen to make sails
    • Gulliver used 20 to 30 small ropes to make normal ropes
    • It took a month to fix the ship & the emperor gave him loads of food & live small sized animals
    • Gulliver set sail on September 24, 1701 & after a few days of sailing, he ran into an English ship that took him home
  • Gulliver showed the Captain the small food, animals & gold the emperor had give him & told him the stories of his time in Lilliput & Blefuscu
    • They got back on April 13, 1703
      • He made a ton of money showing off the small sheep & eventually sold them off for £600 to make fine, silk-like wool
      • His uncle left him an estate worth £30/year making him fairly well-off
  • After a while, he got bored at home & got a gig on a boat headed for Surat

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