Study Guide

Gulliver's Travels Part 1, Chapter 8

By Jonathan Swift

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Part 1, Chapter 8

"The author, by a lucky accident, finds means to leave Blefuscu; and, after some difficulties, returns safe to his native country."

  • Three days after arriving in Blefuscu, Gulliver spots a real boat overturned in the shallows off the coast of the island. Gulliver assumes that a storm has pulled it free from the ship he arrived on, the Antelope.
  • He gets 2,000 Blefuscudians to help him turn the boat right side up. It looks undamaged.
  • Gulliver asks the Blefuscudian Emperor for permission to go back home to his own country, and the Emperor agrees.
  • Gulliver wonders why the Lilliputian Emperor hasn't sent for news of him from the Blefuscudian Emperor.
  • Later, the Blefuscudian Emperor tells Gulliver that the Lilliputian Emperor has sent a secret message to Blefuscu demanding the return of Gulliver in two hours, bound, so that he can be punished as a traitor.
  • The Blefuscudian Emperor replies that he can't do that to Gulliver because Gulliver has done Blefuscu a favor by making peace between Lilliput and Blefuscu.
  • But, the Blefuscudian Emperor adds, it's all okay: Gulliver has found a boat and is going to sail away on his own steam, which will rid both Lilliput and Blefuscu of the burden of his presence.
  • The Blefuscudian Emperor then offers Gulliver his protection in exchange for Gulliver's service. Gulliver thanks him, but insists on going home, which is actually a great relief to the Emperor of Blefuscu.
  • After about a month, Gulliver has stocked his boat with provisions and livestock (although he's not allowed to bring any Blefuscudians along, which he had wanted to do).
  • He sets out for Van Diemen's Land (modern-day Tasmania, in Australia) on September 24, 1701.
  • Two days later, Gulliver meets up by accident with a ship sailing back to England from Japan.
  • On the ship, there happens to be an old friend of Gulliver's, Peter Williams, who tells the captain (Mr. John Biddell) that Gulliver is a good guy. On this recommendation, Biddell lets Gulliver sail back to England with them.
  • They arrive back home and Gulliver makes some cash showing his tiny cattle to a paying audience.
  • He only stays back in England for two months before he gets the urge to travel again. He leaves behind his wife, son, and daughter, and boards the Adventure bound for Surat, India.

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