Gulliver's Travels: Part 1, Chapter 1 - Summary

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Part: 1 Chapter 1

A Voyage to Lilliput


      Lemuel Gulliver, the author and the protagonist of this wonderful novel, has initially given a brief account of himself and his family. A native of Nottinghamshire in England, he was sent to Emanuel College in Cambridge at the age of 14 years. Along with his studies, he was an apprentice to Mr. James Bates, an eminent surgeon of London. During his four years apprenticeship, he learned navigation, mathematics and other sciences useful for voyages with the small money he received from his father. After returning home he was financially helped by his relatives to study physics for about two years as it was useful in long voyages. After returning home, once again he was helped by Mr. Bates who recommended him to Captain Abraham Pannell with whom Gulliver worked for three and a half years and made one or two voyages. After coming back, he started his medical practice at home with the help of Mr. Bates who recommended him to several patients. The author now married Mary Burton and received 400 pounds as dowry. After the death of Mr. Bates, the author's business began to fail and he took some voyages for the next six years and used the leisure time in gaining voyage-related information. On May 4, 1699, the author set sail from Bristol on the Antelope under the captainship of William Prichard. This voyage was to the South Sea. During their passage, the ship was caught in a violent storm which claimed twelve crew members. The author tried to escape with six crew members but as luck would have it, their boat overturned and they were all lost in the vast expanse of the sea. Stranded and tired the author swam continuously for hours to reach shore. Being shocked and fatigued he fell into a profound sleep on reaching the shore. On waking up, he found his arms and legs strongly fastened to the ground, even his hair was not spared. He saw himself surrounded by little men, not more than six inches high. A high ranking man tried to communicate with him but in vain. The little men fed him with buckets full of flesh, wine and water and carried him on a huge engine to the capital city after he was put to sleep by a medicine administered to his liquor. A large ancient temple was used as his abode and all his strings were cut off and a strong chain was tied around his legs which was about two yards long.

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