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Gulliver's Travels | Study Guide

Jonathan Swift

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Part 3, Chapter 11

Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Part 3, Chapter 11 of Jonathan Swift's novel Gulliver's Travels.

Gulliver's Travels | Part 3, Chapter 11 | Summary



Gulliver leaves Luggnagg for Japan. He pretends to be Dutch because they are the only Europeans allowed into Japan. He secures passage to the port town of Xamoschi. Even though the customs officer suspects Gulliver is not Dutch, he asks few questions and allows Gulliver to pass as a favor to the king of Luggnagg. Gulliver travels to Nangasac and uses a false history to join a ship's crew bound for Amsterdam. From Amsterdam, he returns to find his wife and family well in England.


The only real-world location presented on Gulliver's itinerary, Japan is as mysterious as the city in the clouds and, arguably, more difficult to access. This is due in part to the real-life Japanese foreign-travel policy, Sakoku, which made it impossible for most people to enter or leave the country—even the Dutch, who were permitted because they were important to Japanese trade, had only restricted access to parts of the country. This made Japan seem very mysterious and exotic to Europeans. Gulliver is able to access the country based on a combination of deception and his connections to nearby lands that engage in trade with Japan. Yet the Japanese treat Gulliver with kindness and respect, in contrast to the other Europeans, namely the Dutch who might kill Gulliver if his true identity were revealed. As is evident in the entire section, hospitality is offered freely by those with less direct connection to Gulliver's world than by those to whom Gulliver is most similar.

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