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Gulliver's Travels | Study Guide

Jonathan Swift

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Gulliver's Travels | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • 1699

    Gulliver sails on the Antelope, is shipwrecked in Lilliput, and tries to be of service.

    Part 1, Chapter 1
  • Later in 1699

    The Emperor of Lilliput gives Gulliver a place to live and feeds and clothes him.

    Part 1, Chapter 3
  • 1699–1700

    Gulliver loses favor with the Lilliputian emperor and flees after being charged with treason.

    Part 1, Chapter 8
  • 1703

    Gulliver lands in Brobdingnag, land of the giants.

    Part 2, Chapter 1
  • Later in 1703

    Gulliver becomes a traveling performer, making money for a giant farmer.

    Part 2, Chapter 2
  • Later in 1703

    The Queen of Brobdingnag sees Gulliver on display and buys him as a pet.

    Part 2, Chapter 3
  • 1705

    A bird takes Gulliver's traveling case to sea; he is rescued by an English ship.

    Part 2, Chapter 8
  • 1706

    Gulliver returns to England and immediately leaves again on a voyage to the East Indies.

    Part 3, Chapter 1
  • 1707

    Gulliver's ship is attacked by pirates, and Gulliver escapes to an uninhabited island.

    Part 3, Chapter 1
  • Later in 1707

    Gulliver is rescued from a desert island by inhabitants of the floating island, Laputa.

    Part 3, Chapter 2
  • 1708

    Gulliver leaves Laputa to travel to Balnibarbi, where he discovers a crumbling society.

    Part 3, Chapter 4
  • Later in 1708

    Gulliver visits the academy on Balnibarbi and meets with projectors who make disastrous experiments.

    Part 3, Chapter 5
  • 1709

    Gulliver travels to Glubbdubdrib, where the governor lets him talk with dead figures from history.

    Part 3, Chapter 8
  • Later in 1709

    Gulliver travels to Luggnagg, where he learns that immortality combined with old age is a curse.

    Part 3, Chapter 10
  • Later in 1709

    Claiming to be Dutch, Gulliver departs Japan on a Dutch ship bound for Amsterdam.

    Part 3, Chapter 11
  • 1710

    Gulliver returns home for several months before being offered the captaincy of another voyage.

    Part 4, Chapter 1
  • 1711

    Gulliver's crew mutinies and leaves him on the island of the Houyhnhnms and the Yahoos.

    Part 4, Chapter 1
  • February 1715

    The Houyhnhnms exile Gulliver, and he is picked up by a Portuguese ship.

    Part 4, Chapter 10
  • December 1715

    Gulliver reunites with his family in England but is disgusted by their Yahoo ways.

    Part 4, Chapter 11
  • 1716

    Gulliver attempts to reintegrate with European society but the process is slow.

    Part 4, Chapter 12

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Part 1, Chapter 1 Mr. Lemuel Gulliver, the narrator of Gulliver's Travels, describes his career, education, and family. Gulliver is a surg... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 2 On his first morning in the temple, Gulliver wakes up in chains, stands up, and admires the countryside. He relieves him... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 3 The Lilliputians begin to like and trust Gulliver. The emperor entertains Gulliver by showing him the rope-dancers, comm... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 4 Gulliver visits the Lilliputian capital city of Mildendo and the emperor's palace. He is later visited by Reldresal, an ... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 5 Gulliver honors his promise to defend Lilliput from a Blefuscu attack. He collects the entire Blefuscu naval fleet and b... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 6 In Lilliput, everything exists in proportion to the Lilliputians, including their eyesight. Lilliputians are clearly abl... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 7 A government official tells Gulliver that members of the council, including Flimnap, have charged Gulliver with treason.... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 8 After three days on Blefuscu, Gulliver spies an overturned boat at sea. With the help of Blefuscu's navy, he retrieves t... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 1 After two months at home, Gulliver grows restless and returns to sea aboard the Adventure. A massive storm strikes, forc... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 2 The farmer's nine-year-old daughter is fond of Gulliver and cares for him. She sews him clothing, and teaches him the na... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 3 Gulliver is made to perform for crowds to the point of exhaustion. He loses a lot of weight and is in poor health. The f... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 4 Gulliver describes Brobdingnag as a peninsula isolated from the rest of the continent by mountains. The city of Lorbrulg... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 5 Gulliver has several accidents that nearly kill him in Brobdingnag. The queen's dwarf drops a barrel of apples on him; h... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 6 Gulliver fashions a comb from a piece of wood and pieces of the king's beard stubble. He weaves a chair from the queen's... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 7 Gulliver is upset that the king holds a low opinion of England. He fears his summary of England's history may have repre... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 8 After two years in the kingdom, Gulliver hopes to leave but does not have the means. Gulliver goes with the king and que... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 1 Gulliver leaves on a voyage to the East Indies shortly after returning from Brobdingnag. Pirates raid the ship near Tonq... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 2 The floating island is called Laputa, and its inhabitants are singularly concerned with studying mathematics and music. ... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 3 Laputa is a perfectly circular island, and it stays afloat in the sky using complex engineering and a series of magnets ... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 4 After two months on Laputa, Gulliver grows bored with the residents' introspection. He lacks the knowledge of mathematic... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 5 Gulliver visits the academy and finds the projectors hard at work on their experiments. None of these experiments have p... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 6 Gulliver visits the school of politics in the academy and judges the professors to be "wholly out of their senses." Some... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 7 Gulliver arranges to leave Balnibarbi and sails to the neighboring island of Glubbdubdrib, loosely translated as "the is... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 8 Gulliver's conversations with the dead continue as he calls forth Homer and Aristotle to meet with other philosophers, i... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 9 Gulliver travels from Glubbdubdrib to Luggnagg. He identifies himself as Dutch upon arrival so he can be allowed to trav... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 10 Gulliver finds the Luggnaggians "polite and generous." He considers staying in the country after he learns about the "st... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 11 Gulliver leaves Luggnagg for Japan. He pretends to be Dutch because they are the only Europeans allowed into Japan. He s... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 1 After five months at home, Gulliver accepts an offer to captain a voyage on the Adventure. On this journey, many of his ... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 2 In the gray horse's house, Gulliver is introduced to additional members of his host's family along with his servants—all... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 3 After a few weeks of study, Gulliver gains a functional knowledge of the Houyhnhnm language. All members of his master's... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 4 The Houyhnhnms do not fully understand the concepts of doubt and disbelief because falsehood is also foreign to them. De... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 5 Gulliver presents the history of Europe to his master, including past wars and wars in progress. He explains that the ca... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 6 Gulliver explains to his master the concept of money and how it is used to buy goods, how the men who have it are prone ... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 7 Gulliver's account of his home country stems from his reflections on the human state as inferior to the state of the Hou... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 8 Gulliver spends time among the Yahoos to learn more about them. During these visits, Gulliver reveals his physical simil... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 9 Three months before Gulliver leaves the Houyhnhnm island, he attends a grand assembly of the Houyhnhnms as they debate w... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 10 Gulliver has quarters in his master's house that are built in the Houyhnhnm fashion, and he enjoys spending time with hi... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 11 When Gulliver commences his voyage, he plans to find an island where he can survive in solitude rather than return to th... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 12 Gulliver swears to the truth of his story, saying he would rather present facts than tell "strange improbable tales." He... Read More
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