Gulliver's Travels Part 2, Chapter 5 Summary
READ THE BOOK: Part 2, Chapter 5
"Several adventures that happened to the author. The execution of a criminal. The author shows his skills in navigation."
- Gulliver's life in Brobdingnag is pretty happy except that his tiny size makes him so vulnerable to danger.
- When Gulliver is walking under an apple tree, the Queen's dwarf shakes the tree, causing about 12 apples to drop. These apples almost brain Gulliver.
- Gulliver is sitting on a plot of grass when a sudden hail shower nearly crushes him to death with balls of ice about 1,800 times the size of European hail.
- The worst danger of all comes when Glumdalclitch leaves Gulliver in the palace gardens while she is talking to her governess. A small white dog gets loose in the garden and carries Gulliver (fortunately, very carefully) to the feet of her master, the head gardener. The gardener returns Gulliver to Glumdalclitch.
- Glumdalclitch gets really terrified for Gulliver's safety after this, and decides not to let him out of her sight.
- Gulliver is kind of bummed, because he likes being able to go on walks by himself – even though he is a bit accident prone.
- On these walks alone, Gulliver observes that even the birds of Brobdingnag are not afraid of him; they come very close to him looking for worms.
- He catches one but it pecks him almost to death – he's saved at the last minute by a servant, who kills the bird.
- (A historical side note: here, Gulliver starts to tell us about Glumdalclitch and the Queen's maids of honor. The meaning of the phrase "maid of honor" has definitely changed over time; after all, the Queen is not about to get married. In eighteenth century England, maids of honor were junior attendants to the Queen – like fancy servants, only of higher rank than actual servants.)
- These maids of honor like to have Gulliver come and play with them.
- They frequently press his whole, tiny body against their bosoms – where Gulliver has a chance to observe that they smell really bad to him, because there's just so much of them.
- The worst thing about being near these maids of honor is that none of them think of Gulliver as a real human being, so they regularly take off their clothes and even pee in front of him.
- He is disgusted by their huge moles, big pores, hairy skins – he can see all of their imperfections totally magnified, and it is nasty.
- Gulliver witnesses an execution in Brobdingnag: a criminal is beheaded, and the fountain of blood is huge.
- The Queen knows that Gulliver is familiar with boats, so she has both a boat and a trough of water three hundred feet long made for him. He often goes to this trough to row or sail, to the amusement of the Queen and her ladies.
- Once, one of the servants who is supposed to fill Gulliver's trough with water accidentally lets a frog loose. The frog nearly tips over Gulliver's boat.
- But the worst danger Gulliver finds in Brobdingnag is from a monkey.
- Glumdalclitch leaves Gulliver in her closet while she's out on some business, but the day is warm and the closet window is open.
- This monkey swings in from outside and finds Gulliver.
- It mistakes Gulliver for a baby monkey, grabs him, carries him out of Glumdalclitch's rooms, climbs to a roof nearby, and starts stuffing Gulliver with treats from a bag the monkey is carrying.
- A small crowd gathers to try and get the monkey to free Gulliver, but they're also laughing hysterically at the sight of Gulliver being force-fed by his adoptive monkey parent.
- Finally, the monkey drops Gulliver and runs away.
- Glumdalclitch nurses him back to health.
- Gulliver goes to visit the King to thank him for his kind thoughts during Gulliver's recovery.
- The King asks Gulliver how he felt while being held by the monkey.
- Gulliver claims that, if he hadn't been so frightened at seeing the monkey, he would have scared the beast away with his sword as soon as he saw it.
- All of the King's courtiers start laughing at how ridiculous Gulliver is: he could never have stabbed that monkey with his sword, because he's way too cowardly.
- In fact, Gulliver is always appearing like an idiot in front of the court.
- He has an adventure with a cow pat that Glumdalclitch immediately tells the Queen to make her laugh.
READ THE BOOK: Part 2, Chapter 5