Gulliver's Travels


Jonathan Swift

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Gulliver's Travels can help.

Gulliver's Travels: Book 2, Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

Gulliver is cared for by the Brobdingnagan farmer’s nine-year-old daughter Glumdalclitch. Glumdalclitch tends him diligently, making him new clothes, washing those clothes regularly, and teaching him the Brobdingnagian language. Gulliver says that he owes his survival in Brobdingnag to Glumdalclitch.
The symbol of clothing recurs. Gulliver acquires this new set of clothes as he enters this new society and begins to acquire a new perspective.
Perspective Theme Icon
Society and the State Theme Icon
News about Gulliver spreads around town and the Brobdingnagan farmer’s miserly neighbor advises the farmer to make money by showing Gulliver “as a sight” at the local market. Glumdalclitch is horrified by the idea, worrying that Gulliver will be hurt by prodding strangers, but the farmer enthusiastically drives Glumdalclitch and Gulliver to the market the next day.
From Glumdalclitch’s perspective, Gulliver is a beloved being deserving humane treatment but, for her father and his neighbor, Gulliver is simply a business opportunity.
Perspective Theme Icon
At the market the Brobdingnagan farmer sets Gulliver on a table and has him answer Glumdalclitch’s questions, bow to the spectators, toast them with a thimble of wine, and flourish his sword, a performance the farmer has Gulliver perform twelve times. A boy in the audience throws a hazelnut at Gulliver’s head and narrowly misses. The boy is, to Gulliver’s “satisfaction,” beaten. The shows prove to be such a financial success for the farmer that he resolves to bring Gulliver back the next market day and afterwards to take the show on a country-wide tour. At each stop, the farmer schedules ten shows a day.
The farmer capitalizes on how strange Gulliver appears in his countrymen’s perspective. Gulliver recently privileged moral power over physical power when he requested the farmer’s son be spared a beating, but now that he is being physically abused himself (by being manipulated and overworked) he supports abuse for his abusers. Note how Gulliver is shown off for money just as Gulliver showed off the Lilliputian animals for money in England.
Perspective Theme Icon
Moral vs. Physical Power Theme Icon