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Gulliver's Travels | Study Guide

Jonathan Swift

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Part 1, Chapter 8

Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Part 1, Chapter 8 of Jonathan Swift's novel Gulliver's Travels.

Gulliver's Travels | Part 1, Chapter 8 | Summary



After three days on Blefuscu, Gulliver spies an overturned boat at sea. With the help of Blefuscu's navy, he retrieves the ship and brings it to shore for repairs. Meanwhile, Gulliver receives orders to return to Lilliput for his punishment. The emperor of Blefuscu wants him to stay and help defend against a Lilliputian attack, but Gulliver decides to leave for home. Both Lilliput and Blefuscu find Gulliver's leaving an agreeable solution to their problems. He takes with him food, drink, and some tiny animals from Blefuscu. After two days at sea, he is picked up by a British vessel and returns to his family in England.


After his experience in Lilliput, Gulliver is reluctant to accept protection from the monarch of Blefuscu, even though it is offered to him. Gulliver resolves "never more to put any confidence in princes or ministers, where I could possibly avoid it" even though he believes the offer of protection is sincere. This statement represents commentary of governments as ultimately unreliable, which indicates a need for individual self-reliance. The true intention of the Lilliputian allegations against Gulliver becomes clear in their response to his decision to leave the area: they agree to any course of action that absolves them from paying for his upkeep any longer.

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