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Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 4 Chapter 9

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’.