Study Guide

Gulliver's Travels Part 2, Chapter 3

By Jonathan Swift

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Part 2, Chapter 3

"The author sent for to court. The queen buys him of his master the farmer, and presents him to the king. He disputes with his majesty's great scholars. An apartment at court provided for the author. He is in high favour with the queen. He stands up for the honour of his own country. His quarrels with the queen's dwarf."

  • All of this performing is having a terrible effect on Gulliver's health, and his master can see that he's getting sick.
  • Gulliver's master resolves to make as much money as he can off Gulliver before Gulliver dies.
  • One day, the Queen of Brobdingnag arrives at his apartment and offers to buy Gulliver for a huge sum of gold.
  • Gulliver agrees with the Queen's wishes as long as he can ask one tiny favor: he wants the Queen to employ Glumdalclitch as Gulliver's nurse.
  • The Queen agrees to his master's price and Gulliver's request, and his master leaves Gulliver to the Queen.
  • The Queen notices how cold Gulliver's farewell to his (now former) master is, and asks for an explanation.
  • Gulliver tells her that his former master exploited him, and suggests that, under Her Majesty's august protection, he might still be able to recover his former strength after all of this bad treatment.
  • The Queen brings Gulliver to the King of Brobdingnag and asks Gulliver to explain again how his former master treated him.
  • The King of Brobdingnag thinks that Gulliver is a mechanical toy, and that he is parroting a story to the royal couple that is not true.
  • He orders three scholars to come by his court and examine Gulliver to see what they can make of him.
  • The scholars decide that Gulliver is a lusus naturaea freak of nature.
  • Gulliver interrupts to tell them that he comes from a country with millions of people like him and of his size.
  • The scholars dismiss him, but the Brobdingagian King slowly starts to think that Gulliver is telling the truth.
  • The King tells the Queen to keep watching over Gulliver, which she does with great pleasure – she really likes him.
  • The Queen outfits Gulliver with his own tiny pieces of furniture and itsy-bitsy dishes and silverware, so that he can sleep and eat comfortably.
  • Gulliver comes to dine with the royal family every Wednesday, where he gives descriptions of European manners, customs, religion, and philosophy to the Brobdingnagian King.
  • The Brobdingnagian King laughs as he asks Gulliver if he is a Whig or a Tory?
  • (The Whigs and the Tories were Britain's eighteenth-century equivalent of the Democrats and the Republicans. The Whigs supported restrictions on royal power, while the Tories wanted the conservation of the king's authority. Check out this article for more on these two political parties. Also, see our "Character Analysis" of the Lilliputians for a specific look at Swift, the Whigs, and the Tories).
  • Gulliver gets all offended because the Brobdingnagian King uses Gulliver's account of English customs as proof of human vanity: we all think our own politics and religion are so important, but from a wider perspective, they really aren't.
  • But with time, Gulliver starts to see himself more and more from the Brobdingnagian perspective: tiny and funny-looking.
  • What does still really tick Gulliver off is that there is a small person (only 30 feet tall!) in the Queen's service who totally rags on Gulliver because he has finally found someone smaller than he is. This person plays a number of practical jokes on Gulliver.
  • The Queen is surprised at Gulliver's fearfulness, and asks if all the people of his home country are such cowards?
  • Gulliver really can't help his fears: even the Brobdingnagian insects are as large as fat birds compared to him.

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