Gulliver's Travels | Study Guide

Jonathan Swift

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Gulliver's Travels | Part 3, Chapter 6 | Summary

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Summary

Gulliver visits the school of politics in the academy and judges the professors to be "wholly out of their senses." Some of their proposals include encouraging ministers to consider the public good, choosing workers based on qualifications, and rewarding merit. Gulliver does like the doctor who proposes that ministers and senators be assigned physicians to ensure that their four humors are balanced. This same doctor also advocates inflicting minor physical injury as a memory aid and brain transplants to facilitate political arguments. Gulliver sees other professors with similarly outlandish plans and wishes he could return to England.

Analysis

Of all the ridiculous ideas Gulliver encounters in the school of politics in the academy, and they are numerous, the ideas that make him proclaim the professors "wholly out of their senses" are the ones that reflect the logical principles of good governance: the idea that monarchs should choose favorites based on their virtues, that ministries should address the greater good, that rulers should align their interests with those of their people. Gulliver's dismissal of these ideas as the most insane of a selection that includes splicing halves of brains together shows how far from the ideals Gulliver's own home government in England has strayed. While Gulliver is the protagonist of the book, he is very much a product of his culture, and is full of the very prejudices and misconceptions that Swift wants to satirize.

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