Gulliver's Travels | Study Guide

Jonathan Swift

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Gulliver's Travels | Part 2, Chapter 2 | Summary

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Summary

The farmer's nine-year-old daughter is fond of Gulliver and cares for him. She sews him clothing, and teaches him the native language. Gulliver calls her Glumdalclitch, which means "little nurse."

The farmer's neighbors hear about Gulliver and want to see him. One of the neighbors suggests that the farmer should charge people to see Gulliver. Glumdalclitch doesn't like this plan, as she fears someone might hurt Gulliver or take him away. The next day, the farmer puts Gulliver on display at an inn. Many people come to see Gulliver. Realizing how profitable Gulliver can be, the farmer decides to take him on a tour of other cities. The farmer, Gulliver, and Glumdalclitch travel to Lorbrulgrud where Gulliver makes 10 public appearances in a single day.

Analysis

Given the farmer's example, one thing the Brobdingnagians have in common with the Lilliputians is a drive to exploit the power they have over others for personal gain. In Lilliput, this kind of exploitation was generally illustrated in the ruling class, but here the drive to abuse power appears in a common farmer. This temptation to abuse power is part of human nature, regardless of class, social standing, size, or even personality. The farmer is initially kind to Gulliver for his own sake, but once he sees a profit to be made, his attitude toward Gulliver changes. He no longer cares about Gulliver's well-being, only what Gulliver can do for him. Glumdalclitch, however, shows that the abuse of power is not necessarily a given. She may have more control over Gulliver's life than any other character in Brobdingnag, but she is concerned only about his welfare.

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