Gulliver's Travels details a sailor's journey to four very different fantastical societies. The first, Lilliput, is populated by miniature people who fight wars over the proper way to break an egg. The second, Brobdingnag, is inhabited by giants who put Gulliver on display as a curiosity. The third consists of a kingdom governed by a king who lives on a floating island; the kingdom also contains an academy of scientists performing futile experiments, such as trying to extract sunbeams from cucumbers. The fourth is a society in which human-like creatures are made to serve their horse-like superiors, the Houyhnhnms.
In his first adventure, in Lilliput, Gulliver becomes a hero by destroying an enemy's fleet of ships. He is constantly under threat of execution by the little people of Lilliput, however, who believe that trivial crimes deserve severe punishments. The willingness of the Lilliputians and their enemies to risk their lives in defense of their methods of egg-breaking is a way for Swift to criticize the European tendency to focus on, and fight over, trivialities.
In his next adventure, in Brobdingnag, Gulliver finds himself in the opposite situation, now many times smaller than his hosts. He is made to see things up close, and notices flaws that would have escaped him had the people been his own size. To him, the Brobdingnagians seem vulgar and ugly, since the flaws which would be invisible on smaller beings become all too obvious when expanded to their gargantuan size. Gulliver is treated poorly by the farmer who first discovers him, but is then rescued by the Queen, who turns him into a pet. The giants see him, and the society from which he comes, as tiny and insignificant.
Next, Gulliver visits the floating island of Laputa, where he encounters a...