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Gulliver’s Travels Summary | Jonathan Swift

Gulliver’s Travels Summary | Jonathan Swift

Gulliver’s Travels has been written by Jonathan Swift, where he discusses a story about an adventures man. The main idea of the book is the lack of understanding of the people met by Gulliver. In the following content, we are going to discuss Gulliver’s Travels summary.


Writer’s Intro: Jonathan Swift was an Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer (first for the Whigs, then for the Tories), poet, and priest. He was born on November 30, 1667, and died on October 19, 1745. He was Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.

What is the theme of Gulliver’s Travels?

The main idea of the book is that people can only understand so much.


Character list of Gulliver’s Travels

Gulliver: He is Captain Lemuel Gulliver, our narrator of the story.

Blefuscudians: The Blefuscudians are the Lilliputians’ sworn enemies. They live on an island nearby. When the Lilliputians find Gulliver guilty of treason, he runs away to their island.

Brobdingnagians: The people who live in Brobdingnag are called Brobdingnagians. They are really big compared to Gulliver.

Lilliputians: Lilliputians are the people who live in Lilliput. They stand between five and six inches high. The Blefuscudians, who live on a nearby island, are their sworn enemies.

The Emperor: The Emperor is the Lilliputians’ leader. He is nice to Gulliver at first, but he changes his mind about him when Gulliver stops fighting Blefuscu and urinates on a fire in the Empress’s room to put it out.

The Farmer: During his time in Brobdingnag, Gulliver calls the farmer who takes him in his “master.” The farmer sells Gulliver to the Queen in the end.

Flimnap: Gulliver’s enemy in Lilliput, Flimnap says that Gulliver slept with his wife.

Glumdalclitch: Glumdalclitch is a Brobdingnagian name that means “little nurse.” This is what Gulliver calls the daughter of the farmer who takes care of him in Brobdingnag.

Mary Burton: Mary Burton is Mrs. Gulliver- the wife of Gulliver.

Houyhnhnms: Houyhnhnms, pronounced [howanumz], are a type of horse who are very kind and good. Gulliver lives with them for a few years and then doesn’t want to go back to England at all.

The King: Gulliver and the King of Brobdingnag talk about politics and compare their two ways of life for many hours.

Laputans: Laputans are people who live on a floating island and wear symbols from math and astronomy. They have trouble paying attention.

Munodi: Munodi is the Balnibarbi Lord who shows Gulliver around the island and tells him why it is so empty.

Don Pedro: Don Pedro is the captain of the Portuguese ship that picks Gulliver up after his trip to the country of the Houyhnhnms.

The Queen: The Queen of Brobdingnag thinks that Gulliver is very funny for being so small. Gulliver doesn’t like it when she eats because she is so big.

Redresal was Gulliver’s friend in Lilliput. He helps Gulliver get used to the strange new land and later helps change Gulliver’s possible punishment for treason from death to having his eyes put out.

Yahoos is what the Houyhnhnms call people. Yahoos are disgusting creatures in the country of the Houyhnhnms.

What is a Whig?

The Whigs were a group of politicians in England, Scotland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom. They later became a political party. From the 1680s to the 1850s, they fought for power with the Tories, who were their rivals.

What are the Republicans?

From the 17th century to the early 19th century, the Tories were members of two political parties that existed in the Kingdom of England, the Kingdom of Great Britain, and then the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Gulliver’s Travels Summary

The first part of  Gulliver’s Travels summary

Gulliver’s Travels is a story about Lemuel Gulliver, a ship’s surgeon, who goes on several voyages. Due to a series of mishaps on his way to known ports, he ends up on several unknown islands living with people and animals with strange sizes, behaviors, and ways of thinking.

After each adventure, he is able to return to England, where he recovers from these strange experiences and then sets out on another journey.

Book I: A storm destroys the ship Gulliver is on, and he ends up on the island of Lilliput. The Lilliputian has captured Gulliver when he wakes up. He finds that they are very small people, about six inches tall.

People feel sorry for and afraid of Gulliver. In return, he helps them solve some of their problems, especially the fight they have with Blefuscu, who lives on an island across the bay from them and is their enemy.

Now that Gulliver is in the Land of Lilliputians, he is having trouble because he doesn’t agree with the Emperor’s plan to enslave the Blefuscudians and uses his urine to put out a fire in the palace.

Gulliver runs away to Blefuscu, where he makes a big warship work for him. He sets sail from Blefuscu and an English merchant ship saves him at sea. The ship takes him back to his home in England.

The second part of the summary Gulliver’s Travels

Book II: While Gulliver is traveling as a ship’s doctor, he and a small crew went to an island to look for water. Instead, they find a land where giants live. They left Gulliver behind while the rest of the crew runs away. Gulliver’s captor is a farmer. The farmer takes Gulliver to his home, where he  treats Gulliver nicely but, of course, strangely.

He makes his daughter Glumdalclitch Gulliver’s caretaker, and she takes very good care of him. The farmer shows Gulliver off by taking him on a tour through the countryside. The Queen buys Gulliver from farmer. Gulliver meets the King at court, and the two talk for a long time about the customs and ways of life in Gulliver’s country. The selfish and mean people often shock and annoy the King. On the other hand, Gulliver stands up for England.

One day, as Gulliver sits on the beach in his portable room and thinks about the sea, an eagle picked him up and dropped into the water. A passing ship sees the box floating in the water and saves Gulliver, taking him back to England to his family.

The third part of the summary Gulliver’s Travels

Book III: Gulliver is on a ship headed for the Levant in this part. (The Levant is an approximate historical, geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean). After Gulliver gets there, he is put in charge of a sloop, which was a small warship used in World War II to protect groups of people from submarines.

The sloop’s job was to visit nearby islands and set up trade. Pirates attack the sloop on this trip and put Gulliver in a small boat by himself.

Gulliver finds a Flying Island while he is out at sea. Gulliver meets some of the people who live on the Flying Island, Laputa, including the King. All of them  love things related to math and music.

Astronomers also use the laws of magnetism to move the island up, down, forward, backward, and sideways, which lets them control how it moves around the island below (Balnibarbi).

Gulliver goes to Balnibarbi, the island of Glubbdubdrib, and Luggnagg while he is in this land. When Gulliver finally gets to Japan, he meets the emperor. From there, he goes to Amsterdam, which is the capital and most populous city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and then back home to England.

The fourth part of the summary Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

Book IV: Gulliver is the captain of a merchant ship that is going to Barbados and the Leeward Islands. During the trip, a few of his crew members get sick and die. In Barbados, Gulliver hires several new sailors. It turns out that these replacements are pirates who convince the rest of the crew to rebel. So, Gulliver finds himself alone on an island to take care of himself.

Almost right away, a group of ugly, horrible people-like creatures, which he later learns are called Yahoos, find him. They try to hurt him by climbing up trees and puking on him. He is saved from this shame by a horse, whose name he finds out later is Houyhnhnm.

The grey horse (a Houyhnhnm) takes Gulliver to his house, where he meets his grey mare (wife), a horse and a foal (children), and a sorrel nag (the servant).

Gulliver also sees that the Yahoos are kept in cages away from the house. It’s clear that Gulliver and the Yahoos are the same animals, except for the clothes he wears. From here on out, Gulliver and his master (the grey) talk about the evolution of Yahoos, topics, ideas, and behaviors related to the Yahoo society that Gulliver represents, as well as the Houyhnhnm society.

Even though he was treated well at the grey horse’s home, the kingdom’s Assembly decides that Gulliver is a Yahoo and that he must live with the wild Yahoos or go back to his own world. Gulliver leaves the Houyhnhnms with a lot of sadness. He makes a canoe, which is a small, light, narrow boat, and sails to an island nearby, where he hides until a crew from a Portuguese ship finds him.

The ship captain takes Gulliver back to Lisbon, where he lives in the captain’s house. Gulliver does agree to go back to his family in England in the end, though. When he gets there, his Yahoo family tries to get him to leave, so he buys two horses and spends most of his time caring for and talking to them in the stable so he can get as far away from his Yahoo family as possible.

This is the end of our content Gulliver’s Travels Summary. Thank you for reading the content. Anyway, if you want to read more summaries from Restoration and Eighteenth Century Fiction, please check the following articles:

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