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Gulliver's Travels | Study Guide

Jonathan Swift

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Part 4, Chapter 1

Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Part 4, Chapter 1 of Jonathan Swift's novel Gulliver's Travels.

Gulliver's Travels | Part 4, Chapter 1 | Summary



After five months at home, Gulliver accepts an offer to captain a voyage on the Adventure. On this journey, many of his crew members get sick or die and must be replaced. The new crew mutinies and leaves Gulliver on the shore of an island. Gulliver discovers creatures that are humanlike in appearance, but very hairy and with claws. When Gulliver encounters these creatures, they threaten him and chase him up a tree. They disperse when two horses arrive. The horses exhibit signs of reason and speak a language Gulliver does not understand, making out only the words "Yahoo" and "Houyhnhnm." Gulliver accompanies one of the gray horses toward his dwelling.


Gulliver accepts this final voyage because it affords him the opportunity to captain his own ship, which brings the prospect of greater benefits as well as another chance for him to quench his thirst for adventure. The mutiny reveals the ugly, untrustworthy side of human nature, which is the memory of humanity Gulliver takes with him to the island of the Houyhnhnms and Yahoos, a point that will become important in later chapters as Gulliver identifies more closely with the horselike Houyhnhnms. His first experience with the barbaric Yahoos who surround and terrify him within hours of his arrival on the island also drives him to see the Houyhnhnms as his protectors and friends when they come to his rescue.

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