“Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift (1726) – Part 2: A Voyage to Brobdingnag (Ch. 1-4)

“Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift (1726) – Part 2: A Voyage to Brobdingnag (Ch. 1-4)

Chapter 1

  • After 10 months of boredom, he found another job on a ship to Surat (India)
    • They had smooth sailing until the Cape of Good Hope where they had to disembark because of a leak & then the Captain got sick
    • Then they went through the Straits of Madagascar & got caught in a storm for 3 weeks & then a big lull
    • Then another storm rocked them & they were still lost
    • They finally found land. An island or continent
      • Couldn’t find any people, rivers, etc. but they saw a massive creature running after the men toward the sea
    • Gulliver got isolated & wandered up a hill to look at the countryside
    • He wandered down to see 40 feet high corn & saw a hedge of 120 feet & trees immeasurably high, & finally a stile/gate with steps of 6 feet each
      • While trying to find a way through, he saw a local coming toward him as high as a church steeple who took 10 foot strides
      • Gulliver ran off to hide in the corn & then saw 7 others of the same size with reaping hooks going at the fields
      • He ran until he couldn’t go any further & became despaired with his situation & for his family
      • He thought of Lilliput & being on the other side of them but mostly how bad the 1st person would react to seeing him
  • Finally one of them got close to him & he began to scream
    • The giant stopped & looked for him & found him, grabbed him in his hand
    • Luckily the giant was amazed by him & not angry/hungry but he couldn’t understand their language & they couldn’t hear him speak
      • He put Gulliver in his pocket & went to see his master
  • The farmer quizzed his workers if they’d ever seen another like Gulliver
    • They put him on the ground & Gulliver showed that he wouldn’t run away. He took off his hat & bowed to the farmer & tried to talk to him. He took out coins but they didn’t seem to understand
  • The farmer understood him to be a rational/smart being
    • The farmers’ voice was booming & his was too low
    • The farmer put him in a handkerchief to carry him
      • He showed Gulliver to his wife who shrieked as if she had seen a rat but realized he was a very small man
    • They brought him food & fed him while they were eating – the whole family, husband, wife, 3 kids & the grandmother
      • They gave him way too much to eat & drink
    • The son took him & began to play with him like a toy & farmer smacked his son for doing so
    • Gulliver made sure the kid wouldn’t be too badly punished because he didn’t want a second dose from him out of spite
  • The Mrs’s cat came around purring sounding like an entire factory at work
    • Gulliver thought the cat had eyes for him. He was 3x the size of an ox but the cat really didn’t notice him & never did
    • The Mrs showed him to the baby who grabbed him & put him in his mouth but dropped him
    • The nurse whipped out a tit. It disgusted Gulliver because he could see every bump & surface. The nipple was as big as his head
      • Made him wonder about women back home who look beautiful to a normal man but the Lilliputians might not agree with that assessment
      • Made him think who the Lilliputians thought of him
        • They saw all his pores & whiskers which were enormous to them
  • The Mrs put him on a bed for him to sleep
    • He slept for 2 hours & dreamed of home but found himself in an enormous bed & alone when he woke up
      • He had to go to the bathroom & tried to get down. 2 rats ran up & down the curtains, approached him & fought him. Gulliver won – killing a 6 foot rat
      • The Mrs saw him bloody & took him in her hand. He played charades to tell her it was the rat’s blood. She washed him
      • He asked to be alone so he could go outside to piss
        • Gulliver didn’t want to give more details but it was quite a memorable evening

Chapter 2

  • The family had a 9 year-old daughter, who set him up in her doll’s cradle in a cabinet drawer
    • She washed, clothed him & taught him the language
    • He called her “Glumdalclitch” & he was called “Grildrig” & they became very close to each other
  • Word got around in the neighborhood about a small human who could talk, walk, was tame & intelligent
    • The farmer’s friend came to see Gulliver & asked him to do things. The man’s glasses made his eyes look like 2 moons in the windows. Gulliver laughed & the man became quite angry. He suggested the farmer should show him off for money
    • Glumdalclitch didn’t like the idea of exploiting Gulliver but he didn’t care so much because the same was only temporary as he had planned to go home soon somehow
    • The farmer put him in a box with breathing holes & he bounced around to the next town
    • He hired a town cryer to attract attention to the spectacle to take place in the inn where he was to perform tricks in front of 30 people at a time
    • This became widely reported throughout the town & Gulliver’s repeated performances exhausted him
      • Only the farmer & Glumdalclitch were allowed to touch him & spectators had to keep a distance
      • A schoolboy threw nuts at his head, missed but was taken out & beaten for it
    • The master publicly stated he’d do more shows on the next market day
    • He built Gulliver a better box because the first one was rough & he needed a nicer place to recover from all his shows
    • They went from town to town & the farmer raked in tons of case throughout the kingdom. They went to the Metropolis & stopped in every town along the way, a journey of 10 weeks & 300 miles with many stops on the way
    • They arrived in the capital, Lorbrulgrud & they put on 10 shows a day
      • Gulliver began to speak & understand the language

Chapter 3

  • The master had him working constantly & Gulliver began down & turn frail
    • Someone from the royal court ordered the farmer to bring him to perform for the Queen & her friends
    • Gulliver was deferential to her & she asked him many questions about his home countries & if he would want to live in the court with her
    • The farmer knew Gulliver was worn out & didn’t have long to live & tried to pawn him off for as much as he could get for him. He asked for 1000 gold pieces & was immediately paid
      • Gulliver asked if Glumdalclitch could stay with him because she had taken care of him
    • The Queen agreed, with the farmer’s consent, which was a big honor for him to have his daughter. Plus, Gulliver wasn’t going to miss him anyway
    • The Queen asked about the coldness between him & the farmer & Gulliver explained that the farmer was working him to death
      • Gulliver’s speech was a bit crude but was forgiven because he was foreign & he’d learned his etiquette from farmers
    • The Queen took Gulliver to see the King who was suspicious of such a tiny thing. The King thought he was some mechanical thing invented by an artist. As Gulliver continued to speak, it was clear he was a person, just small & with a funny accent.
    • The King called in 3 scholars to examine him. They thought he was a carnivore by way of some bullshit nonsensical scientific explanation
      • One thought he was an embryo from an abortive birth but he had all his limbs & faculties in perfect form & were happy to conclude him to be a freak of nature
    • Gulliver swore he was from another lang with people, animals & plants all proportionate to those in Brobdingnag
      • Scholars tutted but Glumdalclitch & the farmer confirmed the story
    • The King concluded that the Queen should keep Gulliver & provide apartments & servants for him & Glumdalclitch
    • The Queen ordered a cabinetmaker to make him a bedroom box & within 3 weeks, he had his new place with a nice bed, 2 tables, 2 chairs, with padded walls, floors & ceilings in case he got thrown around in transport. The roof was hinged for easy entrance & exit
      • He had clothes made of their finest silk but they still were too thick & looked like Chinese or Turkish clothing
    • He ate with the Queen everyday but it was disgusting to watch her eat in the sizes & manner of her bites
    • Only on Wednesdays (their Sabbath) did men & women eat together – he ate with the King, Queen & the court. Gulliver had a seat by the salt shaker
    • Gulliver described to the King European manners, religion, laws, government, etc. The King’s minister mocked European “grandeur” because they were only the size of insects, were pitiful & ignoble.
      • Gulliver wasn’t sure how to take this. He’d gotten used to the difference in size between himself & the people of Brobdingnag but they still seemed pretty ridiculous to him
  • The Queen’s dwarf was a frequent tormentor of Gulliver, purely out of jealousy & anger in response to his new proximity to the Queen
    • The dwarf tried to drown him in a bowl of cream. Another time he stuffed him in a hollowed out bone at dinner
    • Gulliver asked for leniency in the dwarf’s punishment. He was only whipped for this but later set off to some other noble lady’s place to live
  • The Queen wonders if all of Gulliver’s countrymen were as cowardly as he was
    • She didn’t understand how large the rats & insects were to Gulliver. The flies buzzed by him with a deafening volume & would lay eggs & vomit on him & his food. Wasps would fight him & mug him for his breakfast. He killed 4 of them with his sword & was able to keep a few stings as souvenirs

Chapter 4 – Description of Brobdingnag

  • The country was 6000 miles long, 3-5000 miles wide in parts
  • It was somewhere between Japan & California, on a peninsula with a mountain range along the Northern border with 30 mile volcano peaks making it impassable & isolating the country from anyone else
  • Surrounded on other sides by ocean, with rocky coasts making seafaring impossible & there was no outside trade
    • There was good river fishing but none in the sea because the fish were all normal sized. Occasionally a whale would wash up on the short but this was rare & wasn’t very popular with the people to eat
  • There were 51 cities, 100 walled towns & many, many villages
    • The capital, Lorbrulgrud straddled the river
      • It had 80000 houses, was 54 miles long & 2.5 miles wide
    • The King’s palace was a series of building, 7 miles around with main rooms 240 feet high, long & wide
      • Gulliver & Glumdalclitch had a coach for outings – it was the size of Westminster Hall
      • On one outing, Gulliver had the shock of his life: beggars with growths & tumors 10x the size of him, a man with 20 foot long wooden legs & everyone was covered in gigantic lice
  • The Queen ordered a smaller box built for him for transportation because his normal one was too big & heavy for Glumdalclitch. Other servants began to be trusted to carry him around
    • Gulliver didn’t mind the occasional stop to see the peasants & be seen by them
    • He went to the great temple, which had a 3000 foot high steeple but when he did the calculation of proportions, it was only as high as the one in Salisbury. Not too high but the construction was impressive. A finger from one of the smaller statues was 4 feet 1 inch high
  • The king’s kitchen was 600 feet high & the oven was the size of the cupola in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.
    • The cooking instruments were incredible.
  • The King had 600 horses kept in stables & was often followed around by a guard of 500 horses when he was out & about

Leave a Reply