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Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 11

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.