Purity and Defilement in Gulliver’s Travels by Charles H. Hinnant (auth.)

By Charles H. Hinnant (auth.)

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And rather than maintaining hospitals for the incarceration of the old and diseased, they are willing to grant their beggars the liberty to roam freely through the streets of Lorbrulgrud, the capital city of the kingdom. The importance of this shift in attitude is vividly illustrated in a different point of view toward architectural design. Far from being conceived of in formal terms the major structures of the Brobdingnagian kingdom appear to have been erected in total disregard of geometric figures: the royal residence is 'no regular Edifice, but an Heap of Buildings about seven Miles around' (XI, 112).

The importance of this shift in attitude is vividly illustrated in a different point of view toward architectural design. Far from being conceived of in formal terms the major structures of the Brobdingnagian kingdom appear to have been erected in total disregard of geometric figures: the royal residence is 'no regular Edifice, but an Heap of Buildings about seven Miles around' (XI, 112). Needless to say, this shift in the perspective of Gulliver's hosts is accompanied by an equally dramatic reversal in his own attitude.

As a physical giant, Gulliver is by necessity subject to all the demands of his size. To satisfy his gargantuan appetite, the emperor is forced to levy a heavy tax on the physical resources of his subjects: 'an Imperial Commission was issued out, obliging all the Villages nine hundred Yards around the City, to deliver in every Morning six Beeves, forty Sheep, and other Victuals ... together with a proportionable Quantity of Bread and Wine, and other Liquors' (XI, 32, 33). On the other hand, Gulliver is not only a physical prodigy, forced into isolation by the disparities of his size.

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