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Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 1 Chapter 6

Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 1 Chapter 6

The narrator describes the inhabitants of Lilliput; their learning, laws, and customs; the manner of educating their children. He describes his way of living in that country and his vindication of a great lady.

This chapter provides the reader with information regarding Lilliputian culture, their customs and beliefs and the personal treatment that he receives from the Lilliputians.

According to Gulliver everything in Lilliput—their animals, trees, and plants—was sized in proportion to the Lilliputians. Their eyesight was also adapted to their scale: Gulliver could not see as clearly close-up as they could, while they could not see as far as he could.

The Lilliputians were well educated, but their writing system was odd to Gulliver, who joked that they wrote not left to right like the Europeans or top to bottom like the Chinese, but from one comer of the page to the other, ‘like the ladies in England’.

The dead were buried with their heads pointing directly downward, because the Lilliputians believed that eventually the dead would rise again and that the earth, which they thought was flat, would turn upside down. The better-educated Lilliputians no longer believed in this custom.

In Lilliput a person who wrongly accused another of a crime of which the latter was found to be innocent, was immediately put to a cruel death, and the one who was unjustly accused was rewarded materially. Not only that, he received a title of distinction from the emperor. Deceit was considered worse than theft, because honest people were more vulnerable to liars than to thieves, since commerce required people to trust one another. The Lilliputians found it odd that in Gulliver’s country the judiciary system was based mainly on punishment. In Lilliput, those who obeyed the laws were rewarded—anyone who obeyed the laws for ‘seventy-three moons’ was rewarded with a title of honour and a goodly sum of money.

As for the hiring practices of the Lilliputians, we have read about the importance of rope jumping and other such skills in the attainment of public office. The Lilliputians believed morals counted more than abilities, since those with high intelligence were usually lacking in moral virtues. Mistakes made in ignorance, reasoned the Lilliputians, usually had less serious consequences than those made by corrupt cunning.

The Lilliputians considered ingratitude a heinous crime because ‘whoever made ill returns to his benefactor, must needs be a common enemy to the rest of mankind… and therefore… not fit to live.’

Children were raised not by individual parents but by the kingdom as a whole. They were sent to live in schools at a very young age. The schools were chosen according to the status of their parents, whom they saw only twice a year. The schools for young nobles were simple, and students were trained in honour, justice, courage, modesty, kindness, religion, and patriotism. The schools for tradesmen and ordinary gentlemen were like those of the nobles, but the duration of schooling was shorter. The Lilliputians educated women to be reasonable, agreeable, and literate. Workers and farmers had no schools. There were no beggars at all, since the poor were well looked after.

After giving details of the customs and beliefs of the Lilliputians, Gulliver resumes his tale. He describes the visit of the emperor and his family. They came to dine with Gulliver and brought Flimnap with them. The dinner proved to be a disaster because Flimnap, the royal treasurer, was appalled when he understood the cost of feeding and housing Gulliver. What was more, Flimnap charged that his wife was attracted to Gulliver and had visited him secretly.