Gulliver’s travels summary by chapter
Gulliver’s Travels was printed in London in 1726 and it consists of four books:
- Book 1: in the first book, Gulliver begins his voyage from the city of Bristol on a ship, as a shipboard surgeon, on May 4, 1699. Lemuel Gulliver after 7 months shipwrecked following a storm and awakens in Lilliput, a place where the inhabitants (Lilliputians) are just 15 centimeters tall. The small inhabitants capture Gulliver and take him to the capital of their kingdom; Gulliver learns their customs and integrates well into the society of the island, providing numerous services to the king of those lands. Gulliver defends the land of the small inhabitants but when he is ordered to help them conquer the nearby people to make slaves he decides to refuse; at this point, however, after other events, he is accused of treason and when he escapes from the island, later, he will be able to return to England.
- Book 2: in the second book, Gulliver because of a shipwreck, he finds himself, alone, in “Brobdingang”, a peninsula attached to the west of Canada. This time, the inhabitants of this land are giants as tall as 22 meters. Of course, also this time Gulliver finds himself in an adventure: Gulliver is captured by a farmer, who will give it to his daughter, who will perform it in some paid shows as the main attraction. Later the queen of Brobdingnag will ask for her presence at the palace and will build a house suitable for the size of Gulliver; after other adventures, such as the fight against giant wasps, Gulliver becomes confident with the emperor, this time behaving similarly to the Lilliputians, exalting his homeland as more enlightened and criticizing the laws of Brobdingnag; Gulliver also proposes to produce gunpowder and develop weapons to make the army more powerful; however the emperor finds the evil proposal and immediately rejects it. Gulliver’s small house will later be kidnapped by an eagle, who will throw it in the middle of the sea. Luckily for Gulliver, while he is lost in the middle of the sea, a ship sees him and collects him, bringing him back to England.
- Book 3: in the third book Gulliver, once back in England, decides to leave for the Indies on board a ship that will be plundered along the way by the Dutch pirates, who will decide to leave Gulliver alone in a desert island, very rocky. It will be here that Gulliver will find himself involved in a new adventure, which will begin when a flying city, called “Laputa”, will bring him to safety. The inhabitants of Laputa are very skilled people in scientific disciplines and music, however, they are not able enough to find useful applications, on a practical level, of their genius. The inhabitants of Laputa will bring Gulliver to their kingdom of “Balnibarbi”: in this kingdom, scientists are unable to use their knowledge in a useful way and continually waste resources and time, inventing for example ways to make marble so soft that is possible to make pillows form that marble, or extracting sunlight from cucumbers and so on. During this adventure Gulliver moves from Balnibarbi and arrives at the island of Glubbdubdrib, populated by a magician and the ghosts of numerous historical figures of great importance, such as Homer, Julius Caesar, Aristotle, Pierre Gassendi, and René Descartes. Further on, he also goes to the island of Luggnagg, where the “struldbrugs” live, men who cannot die as immortals but who can nevertheless grow old: after that they face in front of the age of eighty they are declared legally dead by law, although they continue to survive, and they curse their immortality for this because it condemns them to live the life as old people. Finally, thanks also to the help of a Dutch merchant, Gulliver will be able to reach Japan, and from Japan to finally arrive again in England.
- Book 4: in the fourth book Gulliver returns once again aboard a ship, this time dedicated to trading; nevertheless also this time during the navigation it encounters new problems: the sailors of the ship in which it is embarked decide to rebel and begin a career as pirates. Gulliver, once again embarked as a doctor, is thus taken prisoner by the sailors, who decide to abandon him on the shore of a land populated by intelligent horses, called “houyhnhnms” and capable of speaking. In addition to the houyhnhnms, they inhabit those lands beings similar to men, but rougher, called by the houyhnhnms “yahoos”; the yahoos are despised by the intelligent horses. Gulliver is fascinated by the houyhnhnms and tries to live with them, wanting to learn their immense knowledge, however, they reject him fearing that over time he may contaminate the others because Gulliver is too similar to the yahoos. At this point, Gulliver is exiled, and finally embarked on a raft and he returns to England. Curiously, although Gulliver takes pleasure in embracing his loved ones, he now feels disgusted with the smell of human beings, so much so that he does not want for years to eat in his room and even no longer wants to be taken by the hand; he will particularly attend a boy that works into a stable and he will often stay in the stables, thus feeling closer to the Houyhnhnms.
To learn more about this book, please read the Wikipedia page.