Topics for Discussion

1. What characteristics of the Lilliputians and their society does Swift present for ridicule?

2. In what ways does Gulliver act as the benevolent giant when he is among the Lilliputians?

3. Although Gulliver makes very few judgments, what parts of the Lilliputian society can we assume Swift views as admirable?

4. Point out the inappropriateness and irony of Gulliver’s fastidiousness in Brobdingnag and the lack of it in Lilliput.

5. In what ways does Gulliver become the observed in Brobdingnag, instead of the observer as he was in Lilliput?

6. Gulliver claims to be a strong proponent of England and English ways. Either defend or refute this claim, based on what he tells the Brobdingnagian king.

7. What characteristics of the Brobdingnagians and their society does Swift present for the reader’s admiration?

8. Point out the ways in which Gulliver’s role in book three is different from his role in the other three books.

9. How does Swift continue to promote the Ancients over the Moderns in book three?

10. Explain which characteristics of the Houyhnhnms and the Yahoos could be combined to form an admirable, well-rounded person.

11. Although Gulliver tries to become a Houyhnhnm after he returns to England, he has adopted only their hatred for the Yahoos. What characteristic which he so admires has he not acquired?

12. What type of progression has Swift used to strand Gulliver on each of his four voyages? In what ways does this progression parallel the changes in Gulliver?

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