Gulliver's Travels

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Gulliver's Travels Book 3, Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Gulliver does not enjoy his time on Laputa. Because he doesn’t know much about mathematics or music, most people ignore him and he converses only with “women, tradesmen, flappers, and court-pages,” and a lord who feels out of place in Laputa too and is the only noble interested in hearing Gulliver talk about Europe. Gulliver soon gets the Laputian king’s permission to leave.
Because Gulliver doesn’t share the Laputians’ obsession with abstract knowledge and theory, he is excluded from their inner circle and can connect only with society’s outcasts who lack the same knowledge he lacks.
Themes
Perspective Theme Icon
Society and the State Theme Icon
Knowledge Theme Icon
Gulliver sets off for Lagado where he visits the Laputian king’s friend, Munodi. Walking about Lagado, Gulliver is astonished to find the city and surrounding countryside in utter destitution and disarray, and asks the king’s friend about it. Munodi takes Gulliver to his private estate to discuss the matter. Munodi’s estate is unlike all of Lagado—it is orderly and productive, with a mill, cropfields, symmetrical landscaping, and rectangular house as one would find in England. When Gulliver praises it, Munodi tells him his estate is reviled by all of Lagado.
This exchange sets up an interesting play of perspectives, triangulating the Lagadans’ perspective against Gulliver’s and Munodi’s along with the reader’s perspective itself. In this kingdom, the English reader’s own views and values are spurned and considered worthless by most of the kingdom’s population.
Themes
Perspective Theme Icon
Society and the State Theme Icon
Munodi explains that forty years prior, a group of Lagadans went up to Laputa and returned with mathematic theories which they used to revamp their entire society. Lagado and its surrounding towns all opened academies and filled them with professors who invented “new rules and methods of agriculture and building.” Munodi’s estate is one of the last few hold-outs of the old ways. However, all those highly new scientific and mathematic schemes failed and have left the country impoverished, infertile, and horrifically disorganized. Still, the people stand by the new ways and spurn Munodi’s allegiance to tradition. Munodi says that he will secure permission for Gulliver to visit the academy in Lagado after a few days’ stay at his estate.
Munodi’s account speaks to the power of perspective, showing how the value system contained within a certain perspective can stay strong even in the face of evidence that seems to contradict it. Thus, the people around Munodi remain convinced that their abstract theories are superior to Munodi’s ways, even though their theories are crippling their society and wreaking havoc while his traditional practices are yielding good results.
Themes
Perspective Theme Icon