Gulliver's Travels

Write about the strange looking people of flying island.

Write about the strange looking people of flying island.

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As soon as Gulliver steps onto the floating island, he is surrounded by a crowd of people. He finds them very strange even though they are of a size similar to his. Their heads are slanted to the left or right, and their clothes have pictures of either musical instruments or astronomical signs.

Gulliver learns that he is on Laputa. The people here have terribly short attention spans, so they carry around "Flappers." These are used for hitting other people during conversation in order to keep them focused. After dinner a man is sent to teach Gulliver the language.

Gulliver finds that the Laputian houses are built very poorly and with no right angles. This is odd because the men here are obsessed with mathematics. The people here never have peace of mind. They are constantly worrying about dangers such as the possibility that the sun might go out. The women are very sexual creatures who often cheat on their husbands, especially with their preferred men from Balnibarbi, but the men are so wrapped up in mathematics that they do not notice. The King of Laputa is not remotely interested in the government of England.


On Laputa, the floating island, Swift creates a way of physically stratifying a society. Those who work with their hands for a living-and the ridiculous professors-live on Balnibarbi. The upper class, including the royal family and the more able intellectuals, live on the floating island of Laputa. In this way Swift makes the separation between the two types of people visually obvious, with the better above the lesser.

We also learn that when a town from Balnibarbi acts up and needs to be punished Laputa is moved above them, blocking out the sun and rain. This signifies a serious problem that Swift sees in many governments. Justice should only be about retribution when necessary, but the royalty makes the citizens even more unhappy by taking away that which they need to live. Swift indicates that rebellions could be avoided all together if the citizens' satisfaction became a priority of the royalty.

One main difference between the people of Laputa and the people of Balnibarbi is that those living in Laputa have very limited attention spans. One thinks here of the absentminded professor.

Indeed much of what goes on there seems to be related to the curse of being smart but impractical. Although the people of Laputa are very intelligent, it gets them little. With their slanting heads, they do not see things directly as they are. They seem to have no common sense, which for someone like Swift, who cares a great deal about the material world, may be more important than raw intelligence. Because of their lack of sense, they spend too much time worrying about ridiculous things rather than noticing what is really wrong in their own lives. They are so unaware that the men do not know that their wives cheat on them. This emasculating fact is all too common for the unmanly intellectual.