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THE STORY - SUMMARY AND NOTES

PART II

CHAPTER V

Gulliver really takes a beating in this chapter. After teasing the dwarf about dwarf apple trees (which, of course, are huge in Brobdingnag), the dwarf shakes the branches so that the enormous apples pelt Gulliver. Again we see Gulliver's pride and ill-spirited humor punished.

A dog mistakes Gulliver for a doll and takes him in his mouth and runs with him to his master. Gulliver is traumatized, needless to say. Shortly afterward he attends an execution with great interest. He compares the spurts of blood as the man is decapitated as more spectacular than the fountains at Versailles. What a curious, and unfeeling, comparison.

Gulliver is often sent to the maids at court, who play with him as though he were a doll. Their antics, however, are decidedly lascivious. They strip Gulliver, examine him all over; they undress in his presence; they even urinate in front of him. One of the maids picks Gulliver up and places him so that he's sitting astride her nipple. At this, Gulliver finally protests, and is spared further visits with her. He's sick of the maids using him "without any manner of ceremony, like a creature who had no sort of consequence."


The most dangerous thing that happened to him in Brobdingnag, Gulliver tells us, was when a monkey kidnapped him, mistaking him for a baby monkey. Holding him like one of its young, the monkey climbs up to a high roof and feeds Gulliver from its own mouth. Gulliver is rescued, finally, but is so bruised and upset by the event he stays in bed for two weeks. Remember, this is a man who has survived two shipwrecks and after those didn't take to his bed.

The king makes fun of Gulliver and his recent misadventures. This enrages Gulliver, and discourages him, and he reflects "how vain an attempt it is for a man to endeavour doing himself honour among those who are out of all degree of equality or comparison with him." What do you think of Gulliver's conclusion? He's been so battered of late that he equates physical parity with equality.

The chapter ends with Gulliver again being punished for his pride. While out walking he sees a pile of cow dung. He tries to leap over it, a foolish attempt, you're probably saying to yourself. And right you are, for Gulliver lands in the middle of it, or as he says in his newfound shameful modesty, he is "filthily bemired."

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