Literary Devices in Gulliver's Travels
1. Satire - a way of conveying serious criticism of people, institutions, and society by wit and irony in order to improve the object of the attack.
2. Irony - a. verbal irony - the discrepancy between what is said and what is meant. b. dramatic irony - discrepancy between what the speaker says and what the author means. The speaker's words may be perfectly straightforward, but the author, by putting these words in a speaker's mouth, may be indicating to the reader ideas or attitudes quite opposed to those the speaker is voicing. c. Irony of situation - discrepancy between actual circumstances and those that would seem appropriate, or between what one anticipates and what actually happens.
3. Imagery - representation through language of the sense experiences of sight, sound, smell, touch, etc. The sight of the coarse skin, full of blemishes, of the Maids of Honor and the smell would be an image of disgust.
4. Metaphor - implied comparison between two things of unlike nature. Comparing man to an insect or vermin is an example of a metaphor in this book.
Book I A Voyage to Lilliput
1. Who is the narrator of Gulliver's Travels?
What was Gulliver's profession before his voyage on the Antelope?
3. Why did Gulliver accept an offer to sail on the Antelope, as the ship's surgeon?
4. When does Gulliver's first voyage begin?
5. What misfortune befalls the Antelope?
6. Who is the lone survivor of the shipwreck?
7. After the ship wreck where does Gulliver find himself?
8. When Gulliver tries to break his bindings, what does the army of small people do?
9. Why does Swift describe the quantity of food that Gulliver eats and translate it into human terms with such detail?
10. Do we get a favorable impression of the Lilliputians in Chapter I?
11. Where are Gulliver's lodgings while in Lilliput?
12. Is Gulliver allowed complete freedom of movement while in his lodgings?
1. How does Gulliver describe the physical appearance of the Emperor of Lilliput?
2. What is the satire of this description?
3. How does Gulliver treat the six ringleaders who have attacked him with arrows?
4. Why is this clemency important to the story?
5. What things does the Emperor demand that Gulliver hand over to him after the search of his person?
6. What does Gulliver hide from the Lilliputians and why is this important?
1. What is one of the diversions practiced in court by candidates for high office?
2. What is the satire of this entertainment?
3. What does Swift mean when he says that Flimnap, the First Lord of the Treasury, would have broken his neck in the rope dancing contest if one of the King's cushions that lay on the floor had not weakened the force of his fall?
4. What is another diversion practiced by candidates for high office at court and performed only before the Emperor, the Empress, and the first minister?
5. What awards are given to those who perform with the most agility?
6. What is the satire of this diversion?
7. What is the meaning of Swift’s use of thin, silken threads for these awards?
8. For what does Gulliver use his handkerchief?
9. What is the satire of this entertainment?
10. What is the irony of Gulliver's remark, "I repaired my handkerchief as well as I could; however, I would not trust to the strength of it any more in such dangerous enterprises"?
11. What do the Lilliputians do when they find Gulliver's hat?
12. What is the satire of this incident?
13. Who draws up the articles of Gulliver's freedom?
14. How does the first paragraph of these articles describe the Emperor of Lilliput?
15. What is the irony of this description?
16. What is the satire of this passage?
17. What are the terms under which Gulliver is set free?
18. How do the Lilliputians arrive at the figure of 1728?
1. Why does Swift describe the city of Mildendo, the Lilliputian capital, in such detail?
2. What two great difficulties does Reldresal, Principal Secretary of Private Affairs, tell Gulliver beset the nation?
3. What is the topical satire of the controversy between the High-Heels and the Low-Heels?
4. What is the universal satire of the political controversy?
5. What is the topical satire of the controversy between the Big-Endians and the Little-Endians?
6. What is the universal satire of this controversy?
7. After explaining Lilliput's two problems, what favor does Reldresal ask Gulliver?
1. How does Gulliver conquer fifty of the Blefuscudian warships?
2. How does he protect his eyes from the arrows that the Blefuscudians are shooting him with?
3. What award is bestowed to Gulliver by the Lilliputian Emperor for his ingenious and brave deed?
4. Is the Lilliputian Emperor satisfied with Gulliver's having captured all the enemy's warships?
Why is this request important to the plot?
Are the Blefuscudians grateful to Gulliver for refusing to reduce them to slavery?
7. How does the attitude of the Emperor toward Gulliver change after this episode?
8. What is the irony of Gulliver's getting into trouble by capturing the Blefuscudian warships and refusing to reduce Blefuscu to slavery?
9. What strange adventure does Gulliver have several weeks after the capture of the fleet?
10. How does Gulliver extinguish the fire?
11. Does the Empress thank Gulliver for saving the palace from being burned?
12. Does this incident hurt Gulliver later?
1. What are some of the most unusual laws in Lilliput?
2. In selecting people for high government positions, are the Lilliputians more concerned with morals or ability?
3. Can a man hold a public office if he is an atheist?
4. Are these admirable and almost utopian beliefs described by Gulliver in practice by the present Lilliputians?
5. To what does Swift attribute these corruptions?
6. What does this realization of Lilliputian corruptness show about Gulliver?
7. What do the Lilliputians think of ingratitude?
8. Do the Lilliputians believe that children owe gratitude to their parents?
9. Is there much difference between education of noble, eminent males and females?
10. Why do the Lilliputians believe in giving their females a good education?
11. What is the rumor spread throughout Lilliput about Gulliver and Flimnap's wife?
12. How does Gulliver defend himself against this accusation?
13. What is the satire here?
1. Just before Gulliver is preparing to pay a visit to the Emperor of Blefuscu, what news is brought to him?
2. What are the four counts against Gulliver in the articles of impeachment?
3. How do the Treasurer and the Admiral want to put Gulliver to death?
4. What mercy does Reldresal, Gulliver's friend, urge?
5. What is the satire here?
6. What compromise is made by the King and his cabinet?
7. Who suggests what should be done with Gulliver after he is blinded, and what are his recommendations?
8. What is Swift satirizing in his description of the disposal of Gulliver's body?
9. How are Gulliver's eyes to be put out?
10. What is Swift's satire here?
11. What does Gulliver decide to do after he hears the news of the blinding?
12. Why does he not choose to defend himself, declaring his innocence of the charges made against him?
13. Why does he not use his strength and force to resist the Lilliputians?
14. Why does Swift have Gulliver decide against destroying the Lilliputians?
15. What irony does Swift show in Gulliver's mercy?
16. How does Gulliver escape?
1. What does Gulliver discover in Blefuscu that will help him return to England?
2. What action does the Emperor of Lilliput take when he discovers that Gulliver, after many days' absence, does not return to Lilliput?
3. What is the satire in the Lilliputian Emperor's action?
4. What is the Blefuscudian Emperor's reply to the Lilliputian Emperor?
5. What is Swift showing us in the Blefuscudian Emperor's reply?
6. What compliment does the Blefuscudian Emperor pay Gulliver?
7. Why does not Gulliver accept this offer?
8. What change does this show in Gulliver?
9. What does the King of Blefuscu give Gulliver at the leave- taking ceremony?
10. What does Gulliver stock his boat with?
11. By whom is Gulliver picked up at sea?
12. How does Gulliver convince the captain and crew that the stories he tells them of Lilliput are true?
13. When Gulliver returns to England, how long has he been away from England?
14. What have we learned from the first book of Gulliver's Travels?
Book II A Voyage to Brobdingnag
1. How long after his return from Lilliput does Gulliver set out on another voyage?
2. What trouble does the ship run into?
3. What happens to Gulliver during the exploration of the island?
4. Trying to find a gap in the one-hundred-and-twenty-foot hedge, located at the end of the field, whom does Gulliver see?
5. While Gulliver is hiding in the corn field, fearing that his life will soon be cut away by one of the reaping tools of the farm workers, what does he think about?
6. Why does Swift have Gulliver reflect on the change in his situation?
7. How does Gulliver keep from being stepped on or cut with a reaping tool?
8. What is Swift's satire here?
9. How does the farmer's family react to Gulliver?
10. What is Swift's satire in the family's reaction to Gulliver?
11. Why does Swift show Gulliver's disgust with the sight of the giant nurse's breast?
1. In whose care is Gulliver placed while in Brobdingnag?
2. Why does Swift have a nine-year-old girl as Gulliver's nurse?
3. What does the farmer decide to do with Gulliver?
4. How does Gulliver console himself at this insult to his pride?
5. How does Gulliver entertain the public?
6. Since the performances in the neighboring town are so profitable, does Gulliver's master decide to display Gulliver?
1. What happens to poor Gulliver from overwork?
2. What does the farmer's treatment of Gulliver make us think about the Brobdingnagians?
3. Who pays the farmer, Gulliver's master, a surprise visit and with what message?
4. After the Queen meets Gulliver, what does she think of him?
5. Why is the farmer willing to sell Gulliver?
6. What favor does the overjoyed Gulliver ask the Queen?
7.Does the Queen grant this request, and is the farmer willing to give up his daughter?
8. When the King meets Gulliver, what does he mistake him for?
9. What do the King's scholars think of Gulliver?
10. How does Gulliver defend this insult to his pride?
11. Do the scholars accept Gulliver's defense?
12. Is the King satisfied with the opinion of his scholars?
13. What is Gulliver's home while in Brobdingnag?
14. ow is Gulliver treated by the royal family?
15. After hearing Gulliver boast about his own "beloved" country - its trade, its wars, its schisms in religion, its political parties, its education - what does the King say?
16. What is Swift's satire in the King's words to Gulliver?
17. How does Gulliver react to the King's disgust with his countrymen?
18. What is the irony of Gulliver's defense of his country?
19. In addition to the injuries to his patriotic pride, what are some of the physical dangers that befall Gulliver in Brobdingnag?
20. Why does Swift describe these physical dangers that Gulliver is subject to in Brobdingnag?
1. What is this chapter devoted to?
2. Whom does Gulliver encounter during his visit to Lorbrulgrud?
3. hy does Swift have Gulliver tell us about these beggars' appearances?
4. In order to make traveling easier, what does the Queen order for Gulliver?
1.What are some other accidents which befall Gulliver in Brobdingnag because of his tiny size?
2. What is Swift's purpose in stressing the accidents which befall Gulliver in the land of the giants?
3. How do the Maids of Honor of the court behave around Gulliver?
4. Why is Swift showing us Gulliver's disgust with the Maids of Honor?
5. Hearing him tell tales of his life at sea, what does the Queen have made for Gulliver?
6. Why does Swift tell us about the gift of the boat?
7. What is the greatest danger that Gulliver experiences in Brobdingnag?
8. Has Gulliver been hurt by this mishap?
9. Afraid that his courage is in question, how does Gulliver defend himself?
10. What lesson does Gulliver learn from his incident?
11. What is Swift emphasizing in this lesson that Gulliver has learned?
1. How does Gulliver show that he is clever and ingenious?
2. Why does Gulliver find it necessary to show his ingenuity?
3. How does Gulliver describe the English government during audiences with the King?
4. What happens during Gulliver's sixth audience with the King?
5. What is the King's final opinion of Gulliver's country and countrymen?
6. Why is this observation of the King important to the theme of the book?
1. In hope of ingratiating himself with the King, what does Gulliver offer him?
2. What is the King's reaction to this proposal?
3. What does Gulliver think of the King's refusal of the secret of gunpowder?
4. What is the irony of Gulliver's amazement at the King's refusal of gunpowder?
5. How dies the King's refusal of the secret of gunpowder and Gulliver's amazement by his attitude show a complete reversal of the moral perspective of Part II from Part I of Gulliver's Travels?
6. How does Swift describe the Brobdingnagian government, education and law?
7. What does the moral treatise that Gulliver reads in Brobdingnag have to say about man?
8. What is Swift's satire of this book, written by a Brobdingnagian?
1. Why does Gulliver want to leave Brobdingnag and return to his native country?
2. When does Gulliver's opportunity for escape come?
3. What happens to Gulliver while he is taking a nap in his box on the seashore?
4. How is Gulliver rescued?
5. When the captain of the English ship and the crew believe him to be insane because of the fantastic tales he tells about the land of the giants and because of his queer behavior in trying to adjust to normal sizes of men and objects, how does Gulliver convince them that he is not mad?
6. When Gulliver reaches home, how long has he been away?
General Questions of Part II
1. What changes do we see in Gulliver in Book II?
2. What is Swift's purpose in writing Part II of Gulliver's Travels?
Book III A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Glubbdubdribm, Luggnagg, and Japan
1. Why does Gulliver go to sea again?
2. What surprising events occur at the beginning of the voyage on the Hopewell?
3. What misfortune befalls Gulliver's sloop.
4. Who are the leaders of these pirates?
5. Which one of these is more merciful?
6. What is the irony of the above situation?
7. What do the Dutchman and the Japanese decide to do with Gulliver?
8. Just as Gulliver is thinking that he will not survive the sea, what does he see?
9. How is Gulliver saved?
1. Why is Gulliver amazed by the people he sees on the flying island?
2. What are the flappers?
3. What is Swift's purpose in telling us about the flappers?
4. In what form do these people serve their food?
5. Why does Swift call Laputa, the name of this island, the "Flying Island"?
6. How is Gulliver fitted for a suit of clothes?
7. What is Swift satirizing here?
8. Do the Laputians get comfort out of their mathematical and scientific achievements?
9. Are the women of Laputa faithful to their husbands?
10. What is Swift's satire here?
1. How does Swift add humor to his description of the island of Laputa?
2. How does Swift compare the astronomical achievements of the Laputians with the European astronomers?
3. Is Swift really praising their achievements?
4. How does the King of Laputa force his subjects below to obedience?
5. Why does the King hardly ever resort to the second method of punishing his subjects?
6. Why is Swift giving us this account of power politics in the relationship between Laputa and Balnibarbi?
1. Why does Gulliver want to leave the island of Laputa?
2. Who is Gulliver's only friend on the island of Laputa?
3. Why does Swift introduce this lord?
4. Who is Gulliver's guide during his visit to Balnibarbi?
5. What does Gulliver observe during his tour of Lagado and its surroundings?
6. How does the estate of Lord Munodi differ from the rest of Balnibarbi?
What do Lord Munodi's countrymen think of his estate?
What is Swift satirizing in contrasting the success of the architecture and farming of Lord Munodi’s estate with the failure of the rest of the country?
What does Lord Munodi tell Gulliver is the cause of all the poor architecture and farming in Lagado?
1. What are some of the impractical projects that Gulliver witnesses when he visits the Academy of Projectors?
2. What is Swift trying to show in depiction of these foolish projects?
3. What are some of the foolish projects Gulliver finds in the part of the Academy devoted to languages and education?
4. What is Swift attacking here?
1. Why does Swift tell us that the most outlandish scheme he encounters at the Academy is the one which proposes that kings choose their favorites and award offices on the basis of wisdom and virtue of aspirants; that ministers should be taught to consult the public good; and that princes should realize that their interest is identical with that of the people?
2. How is this a slip in Swift's satire?
3. What is the general satire of the projectors?
Chapters VII and VII
1. What is the island of Glubbdubdrib that Gulliver visits?
2. Whom does Gulliver ask the magician, the governor of the island, to summon up?
3. By conversing with these ghosts, what does Gulliver discover?
1. What is Gulliver struck with in his visit to the island of Luggnagg?
1. What is Gulliver's most unusual experience in Luggnagg?
2. When Gulliver first hears of the Struldbruggs, what is his reaction?
3. What does he find is the truth about the Struldbruggs?
4. What do we learn from the Struldbruggs?
1. What is an unusual requirement in Japan, the next country that Gulliver visits?
2. Does the Emperor of Japan exempt Gulliver from this custom?
3. Whom is Swift satirizing here?
4. When Gulliver arrives in England after this voyage, how long has he been gone?
General Questions of Part III
1. Why is Part III of Gulliver's Travels considered the least satisfactory of the four parts?
2. What is Swift criticizing in this voyage?
Book IV A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms
1. What ill fate befalls Gulliver and the crew of the Adventure?
2. As Gulliver explores the island, whom does he encounter?
3. What makes these animals disperse?
4. What surprises Gulliver about the behavior of the horses?
5. When Gulliver speaks to them, entreating them to lead him to a house or village, what is their reaction?
6. Whom have we met in this chapter?
1. After a long walk, when Gulliver and his guide, the horse, come to a building made of wood with a low straw roof, what does Gulliver discover?
2. What does Gulliver discover about the ugly animals he met when he first landed on the island?
3. Why is this discovery so shocking to Gulliver?
4. Why is Gulliver pleased to let the Houyhnhnms believe that his clothes are part of his body?
5. What type of food does Gulliver eat while in the land of the horses?
6. Where does Gulliver live while in this land?
7. What does Gulliver's satisfaction with his insipid diet and unsatisfactory sleeping quarters signify?
1. How does Gulliver learn the Houyhnhnms language?
2. When Gulliver learns to talk the Houyhnhnms language and tells his master, the horse, about the ship that carried him across the sea and how he was abandoned by his mutinous crew, why does his master have trouble in understanding him?
3. What does this disbelief show about the Houyhnhnms?
4. How are the Houyhnhnms finally sure that Gulliver and the Yahoos are identical?
5. Why is this incident important?
1. What is Gulliver's master's reaction when Gulliver tells him that in his country the Yahoos are the rulers, while the Houyhnhnms are only servants?
2. What does this cruel examination of man show about the Houyhnhnms?
3. Can Gulliver's master understand the vices and excesses of the Europeans which Gulliver tries to explain to him?
4. Is Swift using the Houyhnhnms as models for human imitation?
1. When Gulliver gives his master, the horse, an account of the destruction men inflict upon each other in European wars, what is his reaction?
2. How does Gulliver describe European law?
3. What is Swift attacking?
1. How does Gulliver explain the economy of England?
2. What is Swift attacking?
1. How do the conversations that Gulliver holds with his master, during which he describes English life, change Gulliver?
2. What habits of the Yahoos does Gulliver's master, the horse, compare with the Europeans?
3. What does this comparison do to Gulliver?
1. When Gulliver gets permission from his master to observe the Yahoos closely in order to learn from them something about human nature, what does Gulliver observe?
2. What embarrassing experience happens to Gulliver?
3. Why is this a humiliating experience for Gulliver?
4. How does Gulliver present to us the life of the Houyhnhnms?
5. Is Swift setting up a standard of absolute reason, represented by the Houyhnhnms in the above description by Gulliver, for us to follow?
1. What is the only topic the Houyhnhnms ever debate during their meeting of a Representative Council, which is held every fourth year?
2. What does Gulliver's master suggest?
3. What else does Gulliver tell us about the Houyhnhnms?
4. What does this information tell us about the Houyhnhnms?
1. As time passes, how does Gulliver feel about living in Houyhnhnmland?
2. From Gulliver's description of himself at this time, what do we think has happened to him?
3. Just when Gulliver is so happy, what cruel blow does he suffer?
4. What does Gulliver do when he hears this bad news?
5. How do we feel about the decision of the Houyhnhnms to banish Gulliver?
6. What occurs during Gulliver's departure?
7. What is the satire here?
1. Who is the only one who seems sorry to see Gulliver leave?
2. Does Gulliver intend to return to England?
3. When he finds this island, who thwarts his plans?
4. How do these sailors treat Gulliver?
5. Who is the captain of the boat and what type of person is he?
6. In spite of this generous treatment, how does Gulliver behave?
7. What is the satire here?
8. When Gulliver arrives home, how does he act?
9. What is the satire here?
What does Gulliver tell us is the purpose of this book?
How does he defend himself from the accusation of not having claimed the lands he visited for the English crown?
3. Does Gulliver finally permit his family near him?
4. What does Gulliver say is his main objection to the Yahoos?
5. What is the irony of Gulliver's condemnation of Yahoo pride?