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Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms
Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms Chapter 1 to 12
- Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 1
- Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 2
- Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 3
- Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 4
- Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 5
- Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 6
- Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 7
- Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 8
- Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 9
- Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 10
- Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 11
- Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 12
Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 1
The narrator sets out as captain of a ship. His men conspire against him, confine him to his cabin for a long time and set him on shore in an unknown land. He travels up into the country. The Yahoos are described. The narrator meets two Houyhnhnms.
Gulliver stayed home for five months, but, on 7 September 1710, he left his family to set sail again, this time as the captain of a ship called ‘The Adventure’. Their job was to trade goods with residents of the South Seas. Many of his sailors died of ‘calentures,’ a fever of the Tropics, so he had to recruit more sailors along the way. His crew members mutinied under the influence of these new sailors and became pirates. They kept Gulliver a prisoner in his own cabin as they sailed around, trading with the locals. In May, 1711, one of the sailors came down to Gulliver’s cabin to tell him that they had decided to leave him marooned on an unknown island.
On the island, Gulliver saw animals with long hair, goat-like beards, and sharp Claws, which they used to climb trees. Gulliver decided that these animals were extremely ugly and set forth to find settlers, but he encountered one of the animals on his way. Gulliver took out his sword and hit the animal with the flat side of it as he didn’t want to damage the animal, for fear that the inhabitants of the island would be angry that he was damaging their livestock. The animal roared loudly, and a herd of others like it attacked Gulliver. Gulliver took refuge in a tree, shaking his sword to keep the animals back. But then he saw them hurrying away. He emerged from his hiding place to see that the beasts had been scared away by a horse.
The horse observed Gulliver carefully, and then it neighed in a complicated cadence. Another horse joined the first and the two seemed to be involved in a discussion. Gulliver tried to leave, but one of the horses called him back. What really seemed to surprise the horses was Gulliver’s clothes, which they kept indicating and talking over.
The horses appeared to be so intelligent that Gulliver concluded that they were magicians who had transformed themselves into horses. He addressed them directly and asked to be taken to a house or village. The horses used the words ‘Yahoo’ and ‘Houyhnhnm,’ which Gulliver tried to pronounce. The two horses parted, and one of them (who was grey) indicated that Gulliver should follow him.
Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 2
The narrator is conducted by a Houyhnhnm to his house. The house is described. The narrator’s reception and the food of the Houyhnhnms is described. The narrator is in distress for the want of meat. He is, at last, relieved. His manner of feeding in this country is recounted here.
Gulliver and the grey horse walked about three miles, to a long, low building. He took out gifts, expecting to meet people. Instead, he found that there were more horses in the house, both settled and engaged in various activities. He thought that the house belonged to a person of great importance and he wondered why they should have horses for servants. For the first time, Gulliver suspected that he may be losing his mind. So civilized were the Houyhnhnms that they disturbed Gulliver’s notions of the characteristics applied solely to humans. When he saw that the Houyhnhnms even had servants (sorrel nags), he concluded that they ‘who could so far civilise brute animals, must need excel in wisdom all the nations of the world.’
Gulliver was led out to a building far from the main house, which had three of those gross, hairy animals Gulliver had seen chained to the wall. They were eating roots and meat from animals that had died by accident—donkeys, dogs, and cows. The horse leader ordered ‘the sorrel nag’ to unchain one of the beasts and bring him to Gulliver. When Gulliver saw this beast close up, he realised that the creature did look quite human. Their hands had uncut nails, and they were a bit hairier and their skin was rougher and more toughened than Gulliver, but still, they were unmistakably human beings. What was clearly confusing the horses was that Gulliver had the head of a Yahoo, but his body was pretty different: they didn’t understand that his clothes were not part of his skin. The horses also saw that Gulliver truly loathed the Yahoos, and that he also couldn’t eat the raw meat they ate. The horses tested Gulliver by offering him various foods: hay, which he refused, and flesh, which he found repulsive but which the Yahoo devoured. Gulliver saw a cow passing and indicated that he would milk her. The horses understood that he liked milk and gave him large amounts of it to drink.
Around noon, an elderly horse appeared in a carriage drawn by four Yahoos and the horses took great pleasure in teaching Gulliver to pronounce words in their language. Later, Gulliver learnt that his diet will consist of oats that could be roasted, ground into flour, and mixed with milk to produce a kind of paste that he could eat. The horses all appeared extremely well-mannered, modest, and decent. After lunch, the grey horse (whom Gulliver had started calling his Master) indicated that he was worried that Gulliver had eaten so little. They could not determine what he might like to eat until Gulliver suggested that he could make bread from their oats. The grey horse also provided Gulliver with some temporary living quarters in a building near the stable.
Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 3
The narrator studies to learn the language. The Houyhnhnm, his master, assists in teaching him. The language is described. Several Houyhnhnms of quality come, out of curiosity, to see the narrator. He gives his master a short account of his voyage. Gulliver spent most of his early days in the land of the Houyhnhnms endeavouring to leam the language of the horses, with the help of the sorrel nag and the grey horse and his children. Adept at languages, Gulliver learnt, rather quickly, to talk with the Houyhnhnms. Gulliver felt that the Houyhnhnm language sounded a lot like High-Dutch or German, but was more ‘graceful.’
Besides the Houyhnhnms teaching Gulliver, he too taught them. They had no books, so Gulliver showed them how to write. The Houyhnhnms were truly mystified by their visitor; he seemed to be so much like a Yahoo, but also seemed to be rational—a combination which they believed to be impossible. Gulliver’s host was very impressed with him and wondered how Gulliver was taught to imitate a rational creature. In his experience, Yahoos were ‘the most unteachable of all brutes.’ Ironically, though Gulliver might be impressive to the Houyhnhnms, he still hadn’t convinced them that he wasn’t a Yahoo.
After three months, he could answer most of their questions, and tried to explain that he came from across the sea, but the horses, or Houyhnhnms, did not believe that such a thing Was possible. They thought that Gulliver was some kind of Yahoo, though superior to the rest of his species. He asked them to stop using that word to refer to him, and they consented. They were impressed by his intellect and curiosity. Gulliver discovered that, in their language, ‘Houyhnhnm’ meant both horse and ‘perfection of nature.’ Many Houynhnhnms came to see Gulliver, staring in wonder at a Yahoo who seemed to possess reason.
The Houynhnhnms had thought Gulliver was a different kind of Yahoo as they thought his clothes were his skin. But one night, as Gulliver was getting ready for bed, the sorrel nag saw him. He thought that Gulliver changed skins as he slept. Gulliver had been trying to cover up the fact that underneath his clothes, he really was like the other Yahoos, but he realised he could not keep the secret much longer as his clothes and shoes would soon wear out, and would need to be supplied by some contrivance from the hides of Yahoos, or other brutes. So Gulliver explained to Gulliver’s Master Horse that in the country where Gulliver came from, his people always covered their bodies with the hairs of certain animals to avoid the bad weather, both hot and cold. He removed his coat, waistcoat and shirt and Gulliver’s Master Horse was impressed by how different Gulliver was from the other Yahoos, because his skin was pale, soft, and relatively hairless.
Gulliver asked his Master to stop calling him a Yahoo and to keep the secret of his clothes. The Master agreed. He told Gulliver to learn the Houyhnhnm language with utmost diligence so that he could ask Gulliver more questions. Gulliver was finally able to tell Gulliver’s Master Horse that he had arrived at his island in a ship made by men and sailed by men, that he was set ashore thanks to an argument between men. Gulliver’s Master asked how the Houyhnhnms of Gulliver’s country allowed a ship to be sailed by brutes.
Gulliver made his master promise not to get angry, and then he explained that, in his country, the Houyhnhnms were the brutes and the men were the reasonable beings.
Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 4
The Houyhnhnm’s notion of truth and falsehood. The narrator’s discourse disapproved by his master. The narrator gives a more particular account of himself, and the accidents of his voyage.
Gulliver and his master continued their discussion of concepts that were difficult for his master to comprehend—especially those related to lying and doing evil. Gulliver said he had occasion to talk of ‘lying’ and ‘false representation,’ both of which his master had great difficulty understanding. There were no words for ‘lying’ and ‘doubt’ in the Houyhnhnm language. The Houyhnhnm said that lying defeated the very purpose of language, which was to make the speakers understand one another. Gulliver tried to explain that the Yahoos were the governing creatures where he came from, and the Houyhnhnms asked how their horses were employed.
He told his master about the poor treatment horses often received, as work animals, in his home country. Gulliver explained that they were used for travelling, racing, and drawing chariots. Gulliver’s master was utterly disgusted to hear that Yahoos rode Houyhnhnms where Gulliver came from. The Houyhnhnms expressed disbelief that anything as weak as a Yahoo would dare to mount a horse that was so much stronger than it. Though Gulliver’s master continued to be outraged, he admitted that, if horses in Gulliver’s country were stupid, then it made sense that the Yahoos won out, because reason beat strength every time.
Gulliver’s master inquired if the Yahoos in Gulliver’s country were more like Gulliver or like the Yahoos of the Houyhnhnm Land. When Gulliver answered that they were more like him, Gulliver’s master actually thought that it was something of a disadvantage. Sure, they were better-looking than the Yahoos of Houyhnhnm, but they were physically weaker and less suited to survival. It took Gulliver a long time to explain to his Master about his own origins, because there were no words in Houyhnhnm language for things like deception, power, wealth, lust, or envy.
Gulliver explained that the horses were trained from a young age to be tame and obedient. He described the state of humanity in Europe and was asked to speak more specifically of his own country.
Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 5
The narrator, at his master’s command, informs him of the state of England and the causes of war among the princes of Europe. The narrator begins to explain the English constitution.
Over the course of two years, Gulliver described the state of affairs in Europe. Gulliver spoke to his Houyhnhnm master about the English Revolution and the war with France, in which, probably, about a million Yahoos were killed, approximately a hundred or more cities taken, and five times as many ships burnt or sunk.
Gulliver was asked to explain the causes of war, and he did his best to provide reasons for war. He spoke about the ambition of princes who wanted more land or people to rule over. Sometimes, corrupt ministers led the country into a war, in order to draw attention away from their evil administration. Gulliver talked at length about the bloody wars fought for ‘religious reasons’. Likewise, he spoke about the wars fought over reasons as trivial as what is the best colour or length for a coat. He told the Houyhnhnm about colonization and wars over colonies. Sometimes, a prince declared war for fear of an attack. Wars were fought to dominate a weak neighbour; to subdue a strong one; to plunder a country that had been all but ruined by famine or a natural disaster; to take over a country in order to have its natural riches. The trade of a soldier, maintained Gulliver, was held to be highly prestigious. He talked of mercenary soldiers who fought for money. At times people murdered each other, out of jealousy, for a government post. An invading prince, Gulliver said, would conquer a country, kill half the population, and enslave the rest, all in the holy name of civilization.
Gulliver’s master then told Gulliver that, with all of this warlike nature, it was lucky that humans couldn’t do too much damage to each other because their mouths weren’t designed for easy biting. Gulliver explained the weapons of war and the damage that humans could do to each other. He started describing the horrors of the battlefield when his Master commanded him to silence. He commented that, although his Yahoos were abominable, English Yahoos were far worse because they used their intelligence to magnify, yet excuse, their vices.
The Houyhnhnm then asked Gulliver about England’s legal system. He wondered how laws could be bad or ruin men, when they were designed to save them. Gulliver then explained the legal system in some detail, criticizing lawyers severely in the process. He explained how some lawyers were trained from babyhood to defend the wrong side. So, they had no sense of justice. What was more, judges often preferred to agree with what appeared obviously untrue. So, people with right on their side might only win if they pretended that right was wrong. Gulliver talked about precedent: anything that had been done before may legally be done again. Lawyers liked to split hairs and talked about irrelevant details to distract from the simple facts of all their cases. They had their own private way of speaking, which excluded ordinary people from either understanding of making laws. People in power could decide to convict others accused of crimes against the state because they had influence over the judges. Gulliver’s master commented that it was a shame that they spent so much time training lawyers to be lawyers and not teaching them to be knowledgeable and wise.
Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 6
A continuation of the state of England under Queen Anne is given. The character of a first minister of state in European courts is described.
The discussion then turned to money and gold. The Houyhnhnm was unable to understand why human beings lied or injured fellow beings. Gulliver tried to explain the concept of greed and exploitation to his Master. He told him that when a human being had got a great store of money, he was able to purchase whatever he had a mind to; the finest clothing, the most luxurious houses, great tracts of land, and the best food. For this, the rich man enjoyed the fruit of the poor man’s labour, and the latter were a thousand to one in proportion to the former; that the bulk of people were forced to live miserably, by labouring every day for small wages, to make a few live plentifully.
He talked of the absurdities of importing and exporting, sending away necessities such as agricultural products and bringing in luxuries. He claimed that England grew enough food to support its population comfortably, but because they wanted luxury, they had to export what they grew in exchange for things that they didn’t need. A female Yahoo couldn’t get her breakfast without someone having circled the world three times for the tea she drank and the china cup she drank it from. This luxury of rich food led the English to diseases, the likes of which the Houyhnhnms had never seen. Another group of people had arisen to treat these diseases—to profit off them—using fake potions to make people cleanse their insides. This group of people, the doctors, made so much profit on disease that they encouraged people to think that they were sick even when they weren’t.
While discussing political thought, Gulliver accidentally mentioned a minister of state. At that Gulliver’s master wanted to know what a ‘Minister of State’ was. Gulliver told him that the First Minister of State was someone totally without any emotion besides ambition for money, power and titles. The chief qualifications for the First Minister of State were: to know how to get rid of an inconvenient relative; to undermine his predecessor; to shout endlessly against corruption at court. Gulliver felt a wise prince was one who had corrupt ministers because they were given to flattery and bowed to the will and desire of their master. These ministers kept themselves in power, by bribing the majority of a senate or great council. They made laws to save themselves from being called to account on retiring. And they retired from office rich with the loot they had plundered from the nation. Chief Ministers of State bribed and intimidated others to follow their orders.
Gulliver’s tirade continued. He told his master that the nobility in his country were educated to be lazy and ignorant and that there was frequent mixing of classes that damaged noble blood lines. Despite their total uselessness, they still had authority over all lower-born people in the country.
Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 7
The narrator’s great love of his native country is expressed. His master’s observations upon the constitution and administration of England, as described by the narrator, with parallel cases and comparisons. His master’s observations upon human nature are chronicled.
Impressed by the virtues of the Houyhnhnms, Gulliver decided to tell, freely and truthfully, as much as he could, about human beings. Gulliver had started to hate the Yahoos and had come to venerate the Houyhnhnms. He hoped to be able to stay among them for the rest of his life. Convinced by ‘a person of so acute a judgment’ as his master, who daily convinced Gulliver of a thousand faults in him that he had not perceived earlier, Gulliver sees in himself flaws that he had never considered infirmities. His master told him that he had considered all of Gulliver’s claims about his home country and had come to the conclusion that Gulliver’s people were not as different from the Yahoos as they might at first have seemed.
Gulliver’s Master reached the conclusion that the European Yahoos had only enough intelligence to make their natural corruption worse and to acquire new ones, which nature had not given them. By clipping their nails, cutting their hair, and generally growing soft, they had also deprived themselves of the natural protection the Yahoos of the Houyhnhnm Land had. Even though there were outward differences between Gulliver and the Yahoos in the land of the Houyhnhnms, their essential natures were the same: they hated each other more than other animals did and fought without a cause. The Yahoos of the land of the Houyhnhnms also loved shiny rocks, which none of the Houyhnhnms understood, but which seemed to be a trait common to the whole human species.
Yahoos were the only animals in Houyhnhnm land who fell sick. Gulliver’s Master did admit that European Yahoos had a lot more art than their local Yahoos. Still, their natures seemed essentially identical: for example, Yahoos of the land of the Houyhnhnm also liked to choose a leader, usually the weakest and the ugliest of the group. He also noted that Yahoos were unique in having both males and females fighting equally violently with one another. Gulliver’s Master continued that Yahoos loved filth more than most animals. Also, Yahoos sometimes fell into bad moods or thought they were sick for no reason; the only cure for this hypochondria was hard work.
He described all the flaws of the Yahoos, principally detailing their greed and selfishness. He admitted that Gulliver’s humans had different systems of learning, law, government and art but said that their natures were not different from those of the Yahoos.
Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 8
The narrator relates several particulars of the Yahoos, the great virtues of the Houyhnhnms, the education and exercise of their youth and their general assembly.
Gulliver wanted to observe the similarities between Yahoos and humans for himself, so he asked his master for permission to observe the Yahoos, which the master gave as long as Gulliver was always accompanied by a Houyhnhnm guard—the sorrel nag. The Yahoo children were agile, but they smelt bad. The Yahoos were strong but cowardly, stubborn, lying and deceitful.
By now, Gulliver had spent three years in the land of the Houyhnhnms and was ready to tell the readers a bit more about them. The Houyhnhnms did not understand the word ‘opinion’ truly, because they were totally devoted to reason and one could only have an opinion about something one did not know absolutely. It didn’t make sense to argue over something one couldn’t know. The Houyhnhnms believed that one should respect other people’s ideas without trying to dominate with one’s own. They were equally good to their neighbours and strangers as they valued friendship above all else. They controlled the birth of foals to keep the land from becoming overpopulated. The Houyhnhnms did not believe in mixing races. So a Houyhnhnm would only marry another Houyhnhnm of the same colour.
The Houyhnhnms applied their rules of reason even to marriage, which was always arranged for a couple by their parents. Houyhnhnm couples were always faithful to each other. The Houyhnhnms believe in equality of education for the sexes, since it was not rational to leave half the species knowing nothing. Children were strictly disciplined, with a restricted grass diet and lots and lots of exercise. The Houyhnhnms had assemblies, representing the whole nation, every four years, where they checked in to make sure everyone had all the supplies they needed.
Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 9
A grand debate, held at the general assembly of the Houyhnhnms and its resolution are chronicled. The learning of the Houyhnhnms, their buildings, their manner of burials, the defectiveness of their language is described.
The Houyhnhnms held one of their four-year grand assemblies about three months before Gulliver left the land of the Houyhnhnms. His master attended the Grand Assembly, where the horses went back to an old debate: whether or not to extinguish the Yahoos from the face of the earth. It was argued that they were the filthiest, noisiest and the most deformed animals which nature ever produced and they had to be watched constantly to keep them from mischief. Also, Yahoos were not native to the land. A man and a woman had arrived one day, washed up on the shores of the island. Their numbers had increased to such an extent that the Houyhnhnms, to get rid of this evil, had hunted them down and killed the elders and tamed their children. Their evil nature had made all other animals hate them. They had not been exterminated because they were made to work for the Houyhnhnms. It was suggested that Yahoos be replaced by asses as work force.
Gulliver’s master spoke up and agreed with the speaker that the two original Yahoos came from over the-sea, because he had found one (Gulliver) who was a much better specimen of the Yahoo kind. Gulliver’s Master told his fellow horses that, in Gulliver’s land, Houyhnhnms were the servants and Yahoos were the rational animals. He also informed them about the human practice of castrating horses to make them less aggressive. He suggested that the Houyhnhnms tried that method on young Yahoos of their own country. This way, the Houyhnhnms could make the Yahoos more docile, which meant they wouldn’t need to kill them all. In time, this would put an end to the whole species, without destroying life and, in the meantime, Houyhnhnms must breed asses, which, as they are in all respects more useful animals.
This was what Gulliver’s master told him of what passed in the Grand Assembly. He hid one fact which related personally to Gulliver and which resulted in misfortune in his life.
Gulliver then described further aspects of the Houyhnhnms’ society. The Houyhnhnms didn’t write anything down; they relied on oral records for their history. They also didn’t have much in the way of astronomy, except measures of months and years. They created excellent poetry about friendship and in praise of their athletes. They had a sound knowledge of medicinal herbs, built simple houses and, usually, lived about seventy or seventy-five years, dying of old age, unless they had some kind of accident. They felt no sorrow about death, accepting it as a routine element of life. They had no writing system and no word to express anything evil. All of their words for something bad were connected to the Yahoos. So, a poorly built house was ‘ynholmhmrohlnw Yahoo’ and a stone that cut their feet, ‘ynlhmndwihlma Yahoo’.
Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 10
The narrator’s economy and happy life, among the Houyhnhnms, his great improvement in virtue by conversing with them and their conversations are described. The narrator is given notice by his master that he must depart from the country. He falls into a swoon from grief; but submits. He contrives and finishes a canoe with the help of a fellow-servant, and puts it to sea.
Gulliver was absolutely content living in the Land of the Houyhnhnms. A room had been made for Gulliver, and he had furnished it well. He also made new clothes for himself and settled into life with the Houyhnhnms quite easily. Gulliver had several friends among the Houyhnhnms. At times, his master allowed him to remain when his friends came. At others, he was taken along when his master went visiting. He began to think of his friends and family back home as Yahoos.
Gulliver’s admiration of the Houyhnhnms led him to imitate their gait and gesture, which had now grown into a habit. In fact, he was proud that the Houyhnhnms sometimes said that he trotted like a horse.
However, one morning, he was called by his master and told that others had taken offense at his being kept in the house as a Houyhnhnm. They had voted that Gulliver must go away. They were worried that such a smart Yahoo might encourage the other Yahoos to rise in rebellion and kill the Houyhnhnm’s cattle. Gulliver’s master had no choice but to ask Gulliver to leave. Gulliver was heartbroken to hear that he was to be banished, so much so, that he actual fainted. However, he accepted his fate and built a canoe with the help of the sorrel nag. Gulliver explored the coast with his telescope and found a small island, about three and a half miles away, which he could reach in his boat. Finally, when the day came for Gulliver to leave, Gulliver’s master and his whole family came to see him off. Gulliver cried and kissed the hoof of his master and departed from the island.
Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 11
The narrator’s dangerous voyage is described. He arrives at New Holland, hoping to settle there, but is wounded with an arrow by one of the natives. He is seized and carried by force into a Portuguese ship. The narrator arrives in England.
It was 15 February 1714. Gulliver’s Master and his family watched Gulliver from the shore until he floated out of sight. The sorrel nag called out to Gulliver to take care of himself. Gulliver hoped to find the island uninhabited, but still with enough resources to support him as he really didn’t want to return to the Yahoos. On the fourth day, he saw people—naked and sitting around a fire. He jumped into his canoe and rowed away. He was struck by a poisoned arrow in his knee, which left a scar.
Gulliver tried to escape the natives’ darts by paddling out to sea. Having nowhere else to go, he returned to another part of that same island. He saw a sail in the distance and thought of going toward it, but then decided he would rather live with the barbarians than the European Yahoos, so he hid from the ship. Coincidentally, the Portuguese ship sent a long boat to the island for water. The seamen discovered him after landing near his hiding place. They questioned him, and Gulliver trembled in fear but spoke to the sailors in their own language. He told them that he was a ‘poor Yahoo banished from the Houyhnhnms’. The sailors realized he was a European but did not understand what he meant by the terms Yahoos and Houyhnhnms. He spoke with neighing intonations which made the sailors laugh. They could not understand his desire to escape from their ship. He was horrified to be a prisoner of the Yahoos.
Gulliver told the sailors that he was from England. Since the English and the Portuguese were not at war, he hoped they would not be mean to him. The sailors brought Gulliver aboard their ship, which was heading for Lisbon in Portugal. Gulliver met the captain, Don Pedro de Mendez, who wanted to know where Gulliver was from. He was so distressed to be back among the Yahoos that he would not tell the captain—in fact, he tried to throw himself into the sea to swim away, but he was caught before he could. Don Pedro thought Gulliver was lying at first, as he started talking about Houyhnhnm land. Gulliver was confused as it had been many years since he had heard a lie. Don Pedro made Gulliver promise that he would not try to kill himself on the way home. Gulliver promised, and he also tried not to talk endlessly about how much he hated people now.
Yet, the captain of the ship, Pedro de Mendez, was kind. He treated Gulliver hospitably, offering him food, drink, and clothes. They arrived at Lisbon where Pedro de Mendez did all that he could to make Gulliver comfortable. He insisted that Gulliver stay at his own house and borrow some clothes. After ten days in Portugal, Don Pedro told Gulliver that it was his responsibility to go back home to his family. It would be impossible for Gulliver to find a solitary island to maroon himself on, but in his own home, he could be as much of a hermit as he wants to be. Gulliver grudgingly agreed, and headed back to his home.
Gulliver was happily received by his family, for they had given him up for dead. But the reunion was a disaster for Gulliver. He was filled with disgust and contempt for them. He could not bear the sight or smell of his Yahoo-like wife and children. It was only after some time that he could bear to eat with them.
In fact, it had been five years since he got back to England, and he could still barely stand to be in their presence. To restore his mind, he bought two horses and conversed with them for four hours each day.
Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 12
The narrator explains his aim in publishing this book. He criticizes travellers who swerve from the truth. The narrator clears himself from any sinister aims in writing. The method of planting colonies is described. His native country is commended. The right of the crown to the countries described by the narrator is justified. The narrator takes his last leave of the reader, proposes his manner of living for the future, gives good advice, and concludes.
Gulliver claimed that absolutely everything he had written was absolutely true. In fact, he thought it was a disgrace that so many travellers embroidered or exaggerated their published accounts of their trips around the world. Gulliver’s motto was: ‘Though Fortune has made Sinon wretched, she has not made him untrue and a liar.’ In other words, though Gulliver was dejected about having left the land of the Houyhnhnms, he still refused to lie about any of his experiences. The purpose of writing his memoirs was not to gain fame, but to share the superior example of the Houyhnhnms with the world.
Gulliver was told that it was his duty, as a subject of England, to give an account of his voyages to the Secretary of State of England, upon his return. This would enable England to conquer the lands. But Gulliver feared that the conquest of the countries he had visited would not be easy or profitable. The Lilliputians were too small to be worth it, the Brobdingnagians, too large and dangerous, and the Laputians, literally out of reach. While the Houyhnhnms were totally inexperienced with war, the English shouldn’t invade them. The Houyhnhnms were smart, strong, and loved their country. So they would figure out how to defend it quickly enough. In fact, Gulliver wished that the Houyhnhnms would come over and teach all of their virtues to the European Yahoos. A further reason why Gulliver didn’t want the Europeans to conquer the lands he had seen was that they didn’t seem to want to be conquered. Taking their lands against their will would be cruel.
At the end of his tale, Gulliver was sitting in his garden thinking; he was instructing his family as best he could. He was applying the lessons of the Houyhnhnms to instruct the Yahoos of his own family. He even forced himself to look in a mirror every day to get used to his human face and those of the people around him. He mourned the treatment of the Houyhnhnms in England. After five years at home, Gulliver was able to let his wife sit at dinner with him—at the far end of the table, though he still kept his nostrils stuffed with lavender or tobacco so as to not be bothered by the smell. What he really hated was, not the bad qualities that Yahoos couldn’t seem to escape, but the pride they felt in themselves even though they were so disgusting, diseased, and detestable. The Houyhnhnms, who possessed good natures, were not proud, because they were born as good fellows and could not help but be good. They didn’t need to congratulate themselves. The only way that Gulliver would ever be able to sit in the company of an English Yahoo again was if they avoided at least this one sin: the sin of pride.