Gulliver’s Travels: Part 2, Chapters 7-8

Gulliver, disturbed from the king’s evaluation, tries to tell him about gunpowder. He describes it as a great invention, but the king is repulsed by the proposal, and Gulliver is taken aback, thinking that the king has refused a great opportunity. He thinks that the king is unnecessarily scrupulous and narrow-minded for not being more open to the inventions of Gulliver’s world.

Soon, Gulliver thinks the people of Brobdingnag to be ignorant and uneducated. Their laws cannot be argued with, although they are not allowed to exceed in words the number of letters in their alphabet, which I assume can only mean that they are short and sweet, but non-explanatory. Or, it could mean exactly what it says. Though they know how to print, there are not many books, and their writing is simple and straightforward. One text describes the insignificance and weakness of Brobdingnagians and even argues that at one point they must have been much larger.

Gulliver wants to have his freedom back. (I don’t blame him.) He’s been in this kingdom for two years, and wishes to return home. Though the king orders for other small people to be found (females, to be specific), for him to procreate with and make offspring, Gulliver refuses in fear of them being kept in cages.

He is brought to the south coast; both his nursemaid and him fall ill. Gulliver says that he wants fresh air, and a page carries him out to the shore in his traveling-box. He asks to be left to sleep in his hammock, and the boy wanders off. Later, an eagle grabs Gulliver’s box and flies away, but Gulliver falls (still in the box) and lands in the water. He fears drowning and starving, but then he hears a voice and the box being pulled. The voice tells him that his box is tied to a ship and that a carpenter will come to drill a hole in the top. Gulliver says that they can simply use a finger to pry it open, and he hears laughter. He realizes that he is speaking to people of his own height and climbs a ladder out of his box and onto their ship.

Gulliver recovers on their ship and attempts to tell the sailors of his journey. He shows them things he saved from Brobdingnag, like his comb and a tooth pulled from a footman. He has trouble adjusting to the sailors’ small size, and he finds himself shouting all the time. When he reaches England, it takes him some time to grow accustomed to his old life, and his wife asks him to never go to sea again.


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