Study Guide

Gulliver's Travels Part 3, Chapter 4

By Jonathan Swift

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Part 3, Chapter 4

"The author leaves Laputa; is conveyed to Balnibarbi; arrives at the metropolis. A description of the metropolis, and the country adjoining. The author hospitably received by a great lord. His conversation with that lord."

  • Gulliver feels disrespected, because no one wants to talk about anything but math or music, and he can't compete with the Laputians in either field.
  • Also, he has become totally sick of the Laputians themselves and their dull conversation.
  • There is a lord in Laputa who has done many great things for the state, but he gets no respect, because he has no ear for music and no talent for math.
  • He and Gulliver bond, because they can talk sensibly to each other.
  • Gulliver asks this lord (Lord Munodi) to request to the King that Gulliver be let down in Lagado, the capital city.
  • The King agrees, and sends him down to the continent of Balnibarbi with Lord Munodi and some money.
  • Gulliver is relieved to be on firm ground again.
  • He is disappointed at the sight of Lagado, though: all of the people working there look hungry and unhappy.
  • Gulliver expresses his opinions of the poverty of Lagado to Lord Munodi, who suggests that they keep this conversation for a later time, when they are safely at Lord Munodi's own estates.
  • Lord Munodi's estates are beautiful, well-cultivated, and seem prosperous – totally the opposite of the other Balnibarbi lands.
  • Lord Munodi tells Gulliver that his estates (which look so great to Gulliver) bring frequent criticisms from other Laputians for mismanagement – he has left his orchards, fields, and home in the old model of his forefathers, while the rest of Balnibarbi has gone over to new ideas of farming.
  • The problem is, about 40 years before, some people from Balnibarbi went up to Laputa and came back filled with ideas for reform of everything – arts, science, all of it.
  • These guys found an academy in Lagado, filled with professors who promise all kinds of miracles – auto-ripening fruit, reduction of working hours, etc., etc.
  • Their plans have become total fads in all of the cities in the kingdom, but the problem is – all their calculations don't actually work.
  • So, these impractical men (Swift calls them "Projectors" (3.4.15)) have completely ruined the buildings and farmland of Balnibarbi with their farfetched ideas and equations.
  • Lord Munodi promises to get Gulliver an invitation to Lagado's Royal Academy if he wants it, which Gulliver does.

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