Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels follows an English surgeon, Lemuel Gulliver, as he goes out to sea. Each part of the story documents a different voyage to strange locales. The first two parts of the story depict Gulliver’s time on the islands Lilliput and Brobdingnag. On the island of Lilliput, the inhabitants are a small fraction the size of Gulliver while on Brobdingnag, Gulliver is the size of a Lilliputian in comparison to their inhabitants. The Lilliputians fear Gulliver and he holds great power during his stay. In Brobdingnag, Gulliver is treated like a toy by the inhabitants due to his tiny stature. Thematically, parts one and two of Gulliver’s Travels have very broad similarities in the way Gulliver finds himself in unfamiliar situations. However, when inspected further, parts one and two explore two different extremes: power and insignificance, respectively.
Parts one and two of Gulliver’s Travels have very broad, obvious similarities between them. In both parts, Gulliver experiences scenarios that would be unrealistic on Earth. Both parts have fantastical themes in the way Gulliver lives the impossible scenario of being a giant and then being infinitesimal. A recurring theme in parts one and two is that Gulliver is in very scary, uncomfortable and foreign situations. On the island of Lilliput, Gulliver awakens on the shore to find himself tied down by several six-inch men with bows and arrows (Gulliver, 1295).
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In Brobdingnag, Gulliver explores the unfamiliar territory and is shocked that stalks of corn are about forty feet high (1324).
Parts one and two share the fact that at the beginning of each, we are shown the fear and unfamiliarity that Gulliver experiences in these new lands. When Gulliver is discovered by the inhabitants of Lilliput and Brobdingnag, his size is a topic of interest in both lands. The amount of attention Gulliver receives, whether positive or negative, puts him in awkward, uncomfortable situations. In part one, the Lilliputians view Gulliver with shock and awe due to his size and he is then taken to the emperor of Lilliput for further analyzation (1298).
In part two, when the tiny Gulliver is picked up by a farmer, Gulliver is taken to the farmer’s house to be inspected by his family (1325).
Ultimately, the Lilliputians provide Gulliver with positive attention due to their fear and respect and the people of Brobdingnag view him as an insignificant being. Lilliput and Brobdingnag have ways of life that are quite unfamiliar to Gulliver. On Lilliput, the Lilliputians are at war with another nation, Blefuscu, on the subject of eggs. The Lilliputians open their eggs from the smaller end while the inhabitants of Blefuscu open their eggs from the wider end. The war over eggs confuses Gulliver, as he sees no difference in which way one opens their egg (1308).
In part two, Gulliver enters a world where his money is not valid and common goods such as gunpowder do not exist (1325, 1347).
Gulliver is also disgusted by the size of the food and the way it is eaten so sloppily (1333).
Gulliver also does not find the women of Brobdingnag attractive due to their large stature and the repulsiveness of their skin (1339).
Both parts take Gulliver out of his comfort zone due to these drastic differences from his way of life. Another similarity between parts one and two is that Gulliver becomes associated with the powerful figures of both nations. In part one, Gulliver is forced to be watched by the emperor upon his arrival on the island. Gulliver is granted freedom from being watched but, he must abide by rules set out by the Lilliputians such as helping them during times of war (1306).
In part two, the Queen of Brobdingnag selects Gulliver to live in her palace. During his stay there, Gulliver is viewed as an insignificant being and they treat him like a circus attraction(1332).
... party in an unknown country abandons Gulliver. He finds himself in Brobdingnag where the inhabitants are sixty feet ... something is, it is not inferior. Gulliver stayed with the Lilliputians for a very long time. The fact ... amount of brains. The giants in the second part were very tall, but nowhere did the book ... of the two main story lines in his part is Gulliver's many misadventures due to his size; ...
Gulliver had close ties to the esteemed members of both nations he visited, although the relations were of completely different natures.
At the beginning of part one, Gulliver is involved in a shipwreck that leads him to the shores of Lilliput. Exhausted, Gulliver decides to sleep on the shore until the morning. Gulliver wakes up to find he is tied down by ropes laid down by several miniature people. The Lilliputians are prepared to attack Gulliver, showing the power his unconscious being had on them and the fear it instilled(1295).
When Gulliver is fully functioning, the Lilliputians supply him with food and drink at his request(1296).
The fulfillment of his needs shows his immediate power he had on the Lilliputians. The emperor of Lilliput demands that Gulliver be taken to the capital city so he can be inspected(1297).
Gulliver asks to walk to the city but, he is carted in by the Lilliputians (1297).
The emperor views Gulliver and he is made to stay in close proximity to the emperor until the Lilliputians figure out how to deal with the situation (1300).
However, the emperor demands that Gulliver be supplied with food and drink while he is confined, showing fear and intimidation on the emperor’s part because Gulliver could have been disposed of but, his power due to his size kept him alive (1300).
Eventually, Gulliver earns increasing amounts of respect from the Lilliputians. When Gulliver has the opportunity to kill Lilliputian soldiers, he sets them free which increases the trust the Lilliputians have in him (1300).
Throughout his stay, Gulliver treats the Lilliputians very well and he is considered to be good-natured. The emperor sets out rules for Gulliver to abide by while he is living in Lilliput. Gulliver fulfills the rules, he helps protect the Lilliputians and it is decreed that Gulliver must aid them during times of war. Gulliver’s protectiveness improves the trust the Lilliputians have in him and it shows that they rely on Gulliver and his power. Another event that displays Gulliver’s power is that the emperor demands that his excrement be disposed of (1298).
As Gulliver is of great size, his excrement would be quite large in comparison to a Lilliputian and the fact that the Lilliputians are willing to help dispose of it, shows the amount of power Gulliver has. At the end of part one, Gulliver’s reign as a powerful force comes tumbling down. When there is a large fire in Lilliput, Gulliver urinates to put it out (1311).
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Looking at the rest of part one, one would think that the Lilliputians would be very grateful. However, public urination is against the law in Lilliput and it is ruled that Gulliver’s eyes be removed (1318).
This act shows that even the most powerful force can be stripped of its power and that even the fear the Lilliputians had in Gulliver could not change the law. After fleeing to Blefuscu, Gulliver returns to England, leaving his rollercoaster life on Lilliput behind (1321).
In part two, Gulliver decides to go out to sea once more and he gets involved in a shipwreck once more and swims to a place called Brobdingnag (1323-1324).
Gulliver soon discovers that the situation he was in on Lilliput is now reversed and everything is gigantic in comparison to himself. A farmer discovers Gulliver in a cornfield and takes him to his home. There, the farmer’s son picks Gulliver up by the legs and frightens him which is a contrast from Lilliput since nobody would dare try to scare the giant Gulliver (1326).
Gulliver begins to feel insignificant in Brobdingnag due to his size and the fact that he must shout at the top of his lungs to be heard, which is a far cry from his life in Lilliput a few months prior (1325).
The farmer begins to take advantage of Gulliver once he figures out that far and wide would come to see a miniature man. Gulliver is made to perform in the marketplace to make money for the farmer (1330).
By performing tricks for the viewers, Gulliver begins to grow very thin (1331).
Gulliver suffers at the hands of the farmer and his money-scheming ways. Gulliver becomes something like a pawn in the farmer’s life. The queen of Brobdingnag hears of the tiny man and summons him to the palace. The monarchy is in awe of the miniscule man (1332).
Throughout his stay in the palace, Gulliver runs into problems with some of the inhabitants. The dwarf of Brobdingnag harbours hatred for Gulliver since he used to be the smallest in the land. The dwarf takes advantage of Gulliver’s size and attempts to cause him harm (1338).
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The king of Brobdingnag listens to Gulliver’s tales of England and he believes they are foolish and does not understand how a nation like that could survive (1334).
The dwarf and the king show that Gulliver is not taken seriously and is treated like a toy. Eventually, people start to visit Brobdingnag just to see Gulliver. He gets his own box to be carried around in while he is being viewed (1337).
Gulliver grows tired of Brobdingnag, believing the people are ignorant and he desires to leave, but has no way out (1347).
Continuous criticism from the king strengthens the feeling of insignificance that Gulliver has (1344-1345).
Eventually, the monarchy begins to send in ships so Gulliver can find a woman which proves that he has a place in their lives and suddenly becomes a little bit more significant (1349).
In the end, Gulliver’s wish is granted when an eagle grabs his cage and drops it into the ocean, taking Gulliver away from the dreaded Brobdingnag (1351).
Parts one and two of Gulliver’s Travels deal with similar backgrounds. Gulliver experiences extremely bizarre situations throughout both. When dissecting both parts, the differences between them become clearer. Part one dealt with the gain and loss of power while part two dealt with insignificance t. Parts one and two gave two sides of a coin. In part one, we see Gulliver as a figure who was a provider and a protector, in contrast to part two where he is not physically able for the world of Brobdingnag and must rely on his abnormality to survive. The tables are eventually turned and he is treated like an outcast by the Lilliputians and then he is encouraged to stay with the monarchy in Brobdingnag despite his insignificance. While there are broad similarities in parts one and two, we are given the perfect vision of the two opposite worlds of power and insignificance.