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Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 8

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.