Gulliver's Travels


Part I, Chapter 1

Chapter 1


Gulliver’s Travels opens with a preface from Richard Sympson, who is Lemuel Gulliver’s “editor.” Sympson relays the brief narrative of the protagonist’s life. As the first chapter begins, Gulliver continues the story of his life by telling readers the genealogy of his family. He was born the third of five sons in Nottinghamshire. He studied at Cambridge, but his family’s economic status is not sufficient to keep him at school. Consequently, Gulliver goes to London, where he becomes an apprentice to a surgeon. Under the expertise of James Bates, Gulliver learns navigation and mathematical skills. At the end of his apprenticeship, Gulliver goes to study physics at Leyden.

Later, Gulliver is employed as a surgeon a ship called the Swallow. After his tenure on the ship, Gulliver marries Mary Burton and settles into family life in London. While in London, Gulliver works as a doctor. However, upon the death of his patron, Gulliver’s business also dies. Gulliver decides to travel for six years at sea. He thinks he will return to London, but instead Gulliver takes a job on a ship named the Antelope.

The Antelope sails to the East Indies. Sadly, a storm kills twelve crewmen. Gulliver and six other crew members escape via a rowboat. However, the rowboat capsizes. Although Gulliver is able to swim to shore, he never sees his crewmates again.

On the shore, Gulliver reclines in the grass and falls asleep. When he awakens, Gulliver sees that his limbs and hair are tied to the ground with long thread. Gulliver finds that the only direction he can look is up, but the sun’s rays prevent his sight. Gulliver feels movement across his chest and legs; when he glances down, he is shocked to see that there is a six-inch-tall human being with a bow and arrow. He is even more surprised to see that there are forty other tiny humans climbing and crawling on his body.

After a struggle, Gulliver breaks free from...

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