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The Essay on the book by Jerome K. Jerome “Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)”.

By Nataliya Lugovaya, 2010.

Эссе по книге Джерома К. Джером "Трое в лодке, не считая собаки". Н.В. Луговая, 2010.

Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)

The book “Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)” written by Jerome K. Jerome tells us the story of a holiday boat trip. In this work the author proves himself as a brilliant master of satire, humor, fiction and action. The narration is being led from the first person and, while reading, we have an impression that the author is hidden behind the face of the narrator.

So, at first sight, the conception of the novel may seem commonplace: the narrator, “J” [abbreviation from Jerome], and his two real-life friends George and Harris, the three men of the Victorian Era, take a decision to spend a boating holiday on the Thames between Kingston and Oxford. Their determination is explained by the wish to improve and prop up, as it seems to them, their poor and failing health and to run from their useless London’s life. They take with them a dog, called Montmorency, who becomes the silent spectator to the antics of these men.

One of the doubtless merits of the author is that he represents the novel as a travelogue where we learn not only about the adventures of the main characters during the trip, but also about the local history of towns and places along the Thames ranging from Magnacarta Island, Hampton Court Palace etc.

When the three men start the trip, they discover that everything is not as easy as they expected. The heroes get involved in various ridiculous incidents and scrapes. It is a true pleasure to keep an eye on the ways they use to get out of all their troubles. We witness the laughable, amusing, kind, sometimes absurd and making us cry stories and sketches taken from the lives of narrator’s  friends, relatives, acquaintances.

The narrator religiously describes all the stages of the trip, starting by preparation of the friends in the flat of “J” and finishing in London. “J” pays a particular attention to the details. We read plenty of details and this helps us to see as clear as possible all sides of peoples’ everyday life, their personalities and emotional state.

The ingenuity of Jerome K. Jerome is manifested in the sub-plots of the novel where we watch closely the behaviour of various people, remarkable by their personality.  The peculiarity of the novel consists in the fact that all personages don’t seem unreal or strange to our own life. We can look insight of people’s nature, their follies and fears. We can even recognize ourselves in one of the participants of this travelogue. The described situations are really funny and we can easily imagine ourselves at the place of a character. The most unforgettable episodes of the novel are 1) when Uncle Podger hangs a painting on the wall, 2) the story with cheese in the train episode, 3) dog’s encounter with a large cat, 4) the vanishing friend in the field, 5) when the three men offend German professors, 6) the story with a stuffed fish from plaster. Thus, all these everyday situations are impregnated with the humour of the talented author.

To continue the topic about the Jerome K. Jerome’s individual written style, we consider necessary to emphasize his language, used in the novel. To say that it is good is to say nothing. “Three Men in a Boat” is a typical nineteenth century humour. The plot, the developments, the language, everything portrays the period of literature. The author’s style is characterized by his lambent sense of humor, sometime slightly grim, but always funny. The language of the novel is rather simple, clear to everybody. The author does not overburden the narration with complicated sentences, incomprehensible idioms, difficult words, his language is close to the popular language. Jerome K. Jerome writes in an idling mock serious style and generously peppers it with wildly funny anecdotes.  Irish stew, trouts, trousers, cheese, monstrous cats, vicious swans, all gets the readers’ approval. Every event in the novel is described in detail: no feature, no movement, no thought, no odour, no emotion escape the narrator’s attention.

So, in a certain sense, the words of the characters are edifying. The heroes are comically incompetent at a variety of tasks. They can’t pack, they can’t cook, they can’t take care of themselves [perhaps the presence of a woman would have made the lives of these three less muddled]. Their experience tells us how not to act in different situations for not becoming mad. Now we know how to hammer in nail into the wall, how to pack the tooth-brush into the suitcase, how to open a can, how to fix a tent, how to make a scrambled egg, how to…, how to… .

Thanks to this unique style, the reader can feel himself as the author’s close and old friend. Many sentences of the novel have become widely known and well quoted, because no one can be indifferent to the refined satire. My favourite quotes from the book are: “It is not that I object to the work, mind you; I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.”, “People who have tried it, tell me that a clear conscience makes you very happy and contented; but a full stomach does the business quite as well, and is cheaper, and more easily obtained.”, “That's Harris all over - so ready to take the burden of everything himself, and put it on the backs of other people.”, “It is a most extraordinary thing, but I never read a patent medicine advertisement without being impelled to the conclusion that I am suffering from the particular disease therein dealt with in its most virulent form.

This comedy makes us not only laugh, but it also demonstrates in humorous way the problems of young men of the 19-th century. Our main heroes are the typical representatives of that epoch: they are lazy, their life is useless and without interest, they lead a torpid life style, they do not see the way how to become self-fulfilling, they catch fleeting pleasure and amusement and find themselves incurably ill, depressed, decrepit and hypochondriacs. It is no wonder that such fellows start reading  books on diseases and discovering the symptom of almost all severe illnesses in existence. They cannot realize that the medicine that can cure them is not the drugs but normal, active, lively and interesting lifestyle. Thus, our heroes decide to take a really venturesome step – to go on a trip on a boat. When the travel was finished, they recovered a little but not entirely. These final sentences of the novel show this: “…when we rested our glasses at arm’s-length upon the table, and felt good, and thoughtful, and forgiving.” So, even though it was published more than a century ago, this book evokes the problems that are still actual for nowaday generations which also suffer from stress and depression. But the three of Jerome K. Jerome’s cheer us up and give hope to us that in any circumstances and in any situations we are able to do a frantic gesture and try to change our life.

To conclude, a lot of readers really love this book. The wonderful novel has its true character. It has got something for all sorts of readers and provides an enjoyable reading experience.


Джером Клапка Джером - лучшие книги и фильмы с Джером Клапка Джером (Jerome Klapka Jerome) в интернет магазине Ozon.ru

Английский писатель-юморист.
Опубликовал в 1889 «Праздные мысли лентяя» (Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow) и «Трое в лодке не считая собаки» (Three Men in a Boat). В 1900 году написал продолжение: «Трое на четырёх колёсах» (Three Men on the Bummel), повествующее о путешествии трех друзей по Германии. В 1899 году Джером К. Джером посетил Россию; свои впечатления описал в статье «Русские, какими я их знаю» (издана на русском языке под названием «Люди будущего», 1906). Произведения Джерома лишены сатирической заостренности. Персонажи ему нужны в первую очередь для того, чтобы ставить их в «смешное» положение, и именно на этих положениях, на «юморе ситуации», Джером концентрирует свое внимание. Иногда, стремясь к общепонятности и изобретая для своих героев ситуации, Джером впадает в шарж, достаточно грубый. Следуя традициям большинства британских юмористов, Джером любит морализировать и часто сентиментален: его пьеса «с моралью» «The Passing of the third Floor Back» (1907) имела большой успех на английской сцене. Лучшие его повести — «Они и я» (They and I, 1909), «Наброски для романа» (Novel Notes, 1893) и некоторые другие — свободны от грубого шаржа. Джером — писатель мещанства, неплохо знал быт мелких буржуа, городских служащих. Его любимый образ — разоренный мелкий буржуа, надеющийся вернуть утраченное, разбогатеть, уверенный, что он будет рано или поздно вознагражден за свои добродетели и страдания.
Дата рождения: 2 мая 1859 г.
Дата смерти: 14 июня 1927 г.



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Three Men in a Boat, master of satire, Magnacarta Island, Hampton Court Palace, ingenuity of Jerome K. Jerome, Uncle Podger hangs a painting on the wall, three men offend German professors, nineteenth century humour, idling mock serious style