Gulliver's Travels | Study Guide

Jonathan Swift

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Gulliver's Travels | Part 2, Chapter 4 | Summary

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Summary

Gulliver describes Brobdingnag as a peninsula isolated from the rest of the continent by mountains. The city of Lorbrulgrud, and the royal palace are predictably enormous but also beautiful in their way. Gulliver travels inside a specially made box placed inside the royal coach. On one trip with Glumdalclitch, beggars approach the royal coach. Gulliver describes their shabby appearances, down to the lice on their clothes, which he finds revolting. The chapter ends with a description of the royal kitchen.

Analysis

Brobdingnag's isolation from the rest of the world cannot be overstated. The country is presumably attached to North America, but the giants have no contact with other peoples, and they do not travel on the sea. This isolation accounts for the king's limited point of view when Gulliver describes life in Europe. In the same way, Gulliver's own experience is limited and isolated, as he sees the world from the confines of his box. Like Brobdingnag itself, the box is comfortable for its inhabitant but allows for little direct experience with anything else.

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