Sunday, April 22, 2012

Laputa: The Floating Island (Can it get any weirder?)


Part III
“A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Clubbdubdrib, & Japan”

Chapter I
The author must really “thirst” for adventure regardless of his misadventures, as he is only home a few days before he is given another opportunity to venture out, and he gratefully accepts.  Sure enough, at the beginning of the journey, they are thrown off course by a storm, captured by pirates, and after begging for his life and the life of the crew to be pardoned, Gulliver is separated from the rest and sent drifting in a small canoe until he reaches a desolate island.  Next adventure: a floating island in the sky!


 Chapter II
This is a peculiar culture and race of people, as described by Gulliver, who carry sticks attached to a bladder full of small pebbles, which they use to tap one’s mouth or ear in order to stir the other to speech or to listen; that their food is cut into geometric shapes; and that they use geometric or musical terminology to describe ideas.  According to Gulliver, “Imagination, fancy, and invention are wholly strangers to, nor have any words in their language by which those ideas can be expressed; the whole compass of their thoughts and mind being shut up within the two…sciences (math and music).”  They have a host of other issues: such as never being able to experience a peace of mind for fear of apprehensions about the sun, therefore, they can neither sleep well nor enjoy the pleasures of life, and they also suffer troubles regarding wives and daughters who suppose the metropolis below is so much better than the island above, and they steal away to the city sometimes never to be heard from again.

Chapter III
Curious about the wonder of the flying or floating island, Laputa, Gulliver is able to discover the nature of how it works, which he explains in great detail: the circular floating island cannot travel further than the continent of Balnibarbi below it, nor may it rise above 4 feet in the sky, while it operates by the guidance of astronomers.  Gulliver also learns about how the King, who may not leave the floating island due to a prior insurrection and threat to his life, controls rebelling citizens of Balnibarbi through manipulation of the island over particular cities in order to keep out rain or sun until they comply again.

Chapter IV
It just gets worse, as Gulliver leaves Laputa, where no one is the least curious in his presence, to explore the lower continent of Balnibarbi with recommendations by the King to meet his friend, Munodi, who shows his new guest the city and countryside.  Gulliver claims the buildings to be in disrepair and the farmlands to be deplorable while the people work miserably without success, whereas Munodi tells Gulliver that many years ago professors crafted new methods for building and farming, though not effective, and how the people continue to work in this manner driven by hope and despair.

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