Gulliver's Travels: Part 4, Chapter 3 - Summary

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SUMMARY

      The whole family of the master horse undertakes the duty to teach their language to the author. Even the servants show great interest in teaching him different words. The master horse would spend many hours of his leisure time in teaching the author their language. The author’s capacity of learning astonishes one and all in the family as they had not expected such an animal to be so docile and rational as the author. The master horse is still confused about the author’s clothes. He saw them as a part of the author's body since he had never seen the author without them. The author takes strict care to not remove his clothes until the family is asleep and puts them on before they wake up. The master horse is eager to know where the author comes from. The author gives him a brief account of his arrival to that land. It is not easy for the master horse to believe the existence of any life beyond the sea. He is sure that no Houyhnhnm can make such a vessel that can float on the sea nor can he trust the skills of any Yahoo for such an invention. The author highlights the simplicity and truthfulness of the Houyhnhnms when he points out that there is no word in their vocabulary for falsehood. These admirable creatures never lie nor believe that there is some fact of speech which is known as a ‘lie’ or ‘falsehood’.

      The author reveals the meaning of Houyhnhnm in this chapter. The word signifies a horse and in its etymology ‘the perfection of nature.’ The authors presence attracts a good number of Houyhnhnms who visit the master horse to see and examine the author. The clothes and hairless soft body of the author surprise them and force them to believe that he is not a right Yahoo. The master horse who now knows about the secret of the author’s clothes does not reveal this secret. He instructs one and all to treat the author with civility The teaching is still on. The author tells the master horse about the rational race of human beings. He requests the master horse not to feel offended when he tells him that it would be difficult for his countrymen to believe that there could be any part of the earth where Houyhnhnms were the presiding species and Yahoos the brutes.

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