Gulliver's Travels


Jonathan Swift

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Gulliver's Travels: Book 1, Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

From Blefuscu, Gulliver spies an abandoned human boat in the sea and retrieves it, planning to restore it and return to England, a plan the Blefuscan emperor endorses. Meanwhile, the Lilliputian emperor sends a secret convoy to Blefuscu to explain Gulliver’s treason and request his return. However, the Blefuscan emperor replies that, with all due respect, he can’t obey this order because Gulliver has been a friend of Blefuscu. He tells Gulliver about the exchange and supplies Gulliver with lots of help to hasten his departure for England.
The Blefuscan state seems to be much more moral than the Lilliputian one. It refuses to entertain the Lilliputians’ deceitful schemes and honors Gulliver’s life. On the other hand, the Lilliputians are the Blefuscans’ enemies so Blefuscan reluctance to obey Lilliput may have more to do with asserting Blefuscu’s independence than it does with honoring moral virtues.
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Gulliver departs with a well-stocked boat and is eventually picked up by an English merchant ship which kindly takes him aboard. Though everyone initially doubts Gulliver’s tales of Lilliput, they believe him once he shows them the tiny Lilliputian animals he has with him. Back in England, Gulliver spends two months with his wife and young children, Johnny and Betty, during which he makes “a considerable profit” by selling views of the Lilliputian cows, then selling the cows themselves. Gulliver sets his wife up in a house in Redriff, leaves her some money, and then, following his “insatiable desire of seeing foreign countries,” sails off on a merchant ship called the Adventure.
Gulliver’s return to England intertwines the themes of perspective and truth. What seems “true,” the text suggests, is a matter of perspective, not an absolute. In Lilliput, humans like Gulliver seemed strange and unbelievable but back in England, it’s Lilliput that seems like a fantasy and Gulliver is at pains to prove the Lilliputians exist.
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