Clothing in Gulliver’s Travels symbolizes perspective and thus each population that Gulliver visits sports different garments. The tiny clothes of the Lilliputians differ from the immense clothing of the Brobdingnaggians as their small size endows them with a different view of the world from that of the giant Brobdingnaggians; the Laputians’ elaborate robes decorated with astronomical and mathematical symbols are the opposite of the Houyhnhmns’ nakedness, as their preoccupations with theory and abstraction are utterly distinct from the Houyhnhmns down-to-earth wisdom. Though Gulliver comes to each country wearing his own clothes, those clothes gradually fall apart and he is outfitted in native garments. Likewise, Gulliver enters each country carrying his own ideas and opinions but, as he immerses himself in the new society, his mindset is shaped by the people around him until his perspective starts to match theirs.
Clothing Quotes in Gulliver's Travels
The Gulliver's Travels quotes below all refer to the symbol of Clothing. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of Gulliver's Travels published in 2003.).
Book 1, Chapter 2 Quotes
In the right coat-pocket of the great man-mountain…after the strictest search, we found only one great piece of coarse cloth, large enough to be a foot-cloth for your majesty’s chief room of state.
Clothing Symbol Timeline in Gulliver's Travels
The timeline below shows where the symbol Clothing appears in Gulliver's Travels. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1, Chapter 6
Book 2, Chapter 2
...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... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 3
Book 2, Chapter 8
...convince the crew that his account of Brobdingnag is true. He shows them his mouse-skin trousers. The captain believes him and encourages him to write up his adventures for all to... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 2
...individuals. Many of them don’t hold their heads up straight. Some are cross-eyed. All wear clothes elaborately decorated with celestial bodies and musical instruments. Amongst these people walk servants carrying a... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 1
...in a mysterious language. They approach Gulliver and delicately examine and admire each item of his clothing . Gulliver concludes that the horses must be magicians who have turned themselves into horses.... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 2
...except for a very old visiting horse, who has them warm. Gulliver shows them that his gloves are removable, which pleases the horses. They teach him more words. Later, Gulliver accepts some... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 3
Book 4, Chapter 4
...the unattractiveness and awkwardness of Gulliver’s features and the weakness of his body that needed clothes. The master horse also wonders how the creatures of Europe are able to overcome the... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 7
...of one another’s bodies (which the master horse assumes is the real reason for Europeans’ clothes); greedily hoard food; overeat; purge; suffer sickness from immoderation (which is cured by eating their... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 11
...Portugal, takes Gulliver into his own bachelor’s home and gives him a new set of clothes. He helps Gulliver ease slowly back into familiarity with human society. He eventually convinces Gulliver... (full context)