Three Men in a Boat Essay

Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), published in 1889, is a humorous account by English writer Jerome K. Jerome of a boating holiday on the Thames between Kingston and Oxford. The book was initially intended to be a serious travel guide, with accounts of local history along the route, but the humorous elements took over to the point where the serious and somewhat sentimental passages seem a distraction to the comic novel. One of the most praised things about Three Men in a Boat is how undated it appears to modern readers — the jokes seem fresh and witty even today.

The three men are based on Jerome himself (the narrator J. ) and two real-life friends, George Wingrave (who would become a senior manager in Barclays Bank) and Carl Hentschel (the founder of a London printing business, called Harris in the book), with whom he often took boating trips. The dog, Montmorency, is entirely fictional but, “as Jerome admits, developed out of that area of inner consciousness which, in all Englishmen, contains an element of the dog. “[2] The trip is a typical boating holiday of the time in a Thames camping skiff. Note 2]

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This was just after commercial boat traffic on the Upper Thames had died out, replaced by the 1880s craze for boating as a leisure activity. Because of the overwhelming success of Three Men in a Boat, Jerome later published a sequel, about a cycling tour in Germany, titled Three Men on the Bummel. A similar book was published seven years before Jerome’s work, entitled Three in Norway (by two of them) by J. A. Lees and W. J. Clutterbuck. It tells of three men on an expedition into the wild Jotunheimen in Norway. ree Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog),[Note 1] published in 1889, is a humorous account by English writer Jerome K. Jerome of a boating holiday on the Thames between Kingston and Oxford.

The book was initially intended to be a serious travel guide,[1] with accounts of local history along the route, but the humorous elements took over to the point where the serious and somewhat sentimental passages seem a distraction to the comic novel. One of the most praised things about Three Men in a Boat is how undated it appears to modern readers — the jokes seem fresh and witty even today. 2] The three men are based on Jerome himself (the narrator J. ) and two real-life friends, George Wingrave (who would become a senior manager in Barclays Bank) and Carl Hentschel (the founder of a London printing business, called Harris in the book), with whom he often took boating trips.

The dog, Montmorency, is entirely fictional[1] but, “as Jerome admits, developed out of that area of inner consciousness which, in all Englishmen, contains an element of the dog. “[2] The trip is a typical boating holiday of the time in a Thames camping skiff. Note 2] This was just after commercial boat traffic on the Upper Thames had died out, replaced by the 1880s craze for boating as a leisure activity. Because of the overwhelming success of Three Men in a Boat, Jerome later published a sequel, about a cycling tour in Germany, titled Three Men on the Bummel. A similar book was published seven years before Jerome’s work, entitled Three in Norway (by two of them) by J. A. Lees and W. J. Clutterbuck.

It tells of three men on an expedition into the wild Jotunheimen in Norway. Chapter 11 Summary J. akes early the next morning and finds George is also awake. Neither of them can get back to sleep, J. remarks, because there is no reason for them to get up. If there had been some reason for them to be up, it would have been very easy to sleep for several more hours. This sends J. into a story about a time when George’s watch stopped at 8:15 one night and he did not notice. He woke up the next morning and seeing his watch believed it was 8:15 in the morning and rushed to get ready to go to work. He is dismayed to find the landlady has not prepared breakfast, and rushes out to the bus station.

He eventually notices there is nobody else around and hears a clock strike three. Confused, he asks a policeman for the time, who assumes he is drunk and tells… Chapter 12 Summary After their breakfast, the young men explore the area. They go over to the island where King John is supposed to have signed the Magna Charta, and explore the ruins of a priory where King Henry VIII supposedly courted Anne Boleyn. This subject reminds J. of being in a house where two young people are courting. No matter where one goes in the house, the couple seems to be there, and when one interrupts them, all parties are embarrassed.

He imagines such a scene with Henry and Anne. The men take to the river and soon are passing Datchet. This reminds George and J. of a previous boat trip they took when they stopped at Datchet late one night and wanted to sleep. They walked into the town and came to an inn, but thought they might go on and see if there was something they liked better. They came… Chapter 13 Summary J. give a brief history of Marlow, which he considers one of the most attractive river towns on their trip. They wake up early, and go to the river to bathe before breakfast.

On their way back, Montmorency, their rat terrier, attacks a cat. J. muses on the mischievous nature of the rat terrier breed, telling a story of a time he witnessed an innocent-looking rat terrier belonging to a young woman start an enormous dog fight. Montmorency charges after the cat, but instead of running, the cat simply waits for the dog to get close, then sits down and stares at it. J. imagines a conversation between the self-assured cat and the puzzled and slightly frightened dog, who stops in his tracks and begins to back away slowly. After breakfast, the men resupply their food stores.

Rather than have the shops deliver their purchase to the dock later, they… Chapter 14 Summary After lunch, they boat to Sonning, a picturesque village with quaint houses and gardens. They choose an island to camp on for the night, and set about making dinner. At George’s suggestion, they make an “Irish stew” out of potatoes and peas and some of the leftovers. They begin to throw many different things in the pot and Montmorency gets into the spirit by killing and offering a water rat. They pretend to consider adding the rat to the stew, but decide against it.

The stew is delicious, J. writes, and they make tea to have afterward. On the journey, Montmorency has shown some animosity toward the teakettle, standing by and growling at it as it begins to hiss and spit. On this occasion, he goes so far as to attack it, grabbing it by the spout as it begins to boil. He learns his lesson and runs off howling. Chapter 15 Summary The men wake up and have a plain breakfast.

They decide they will start out rowing the boat rather than tow it, and begin to quarrel about which two should pull the oars and which should sit and steer. In a boat, J. emarks, each person imagines he has done more work than anyone else. J. gives a synopsis of the three men’s various experience with boats. He himself became attracted to them at a young age, sometimes getting in trouble when he would steal material to make rafts. George had begin boating as a teenager, as many other young men had. Harris had more experience rowing on the sea, which J. finds too difficult. J. also relates some humorous stories about boating. He is on a punt with another young man, who is propelling the boat by punting it with a long pole, which is stuck down into the…

Chapters 16-17 Summary The men come to Reading, an unattractive place, and J. provides a brief history. They meet some friends of theirs by chance in a steam launch, and ask for a tow. J. enjoys being towed, moving along at a brisk pace, but complains – with tongue in cheek – that the only problem with it is that so many smaller boats are always getting in the way. Ten miles past Reading, they cast off from the steam launch and J. claims his turn at rowing is over, since they are now past Reading.

The others do not agree with his assessment and he takes the oars. After a short time, they see something black floating in the water and approach it to see what it is. They are startled to find it is the body of a woman. Some men on the shore, who have already seen the body, take… Chapters 18-19 Summary From Streatly, the men row to Culham and camp in the boat for the night. Part of the trip includes a long stretch with no locks, which is preferred by sport rowers, J, says, but not by pleasure boaters, who enjoy going through the locks.

He tells the story of going through a lock one busy day a Hampton Court. A photographer has set up at the lock to take pictures of all the boats in the lock with the people dressed in their boating costumes. J. and George pose vainly as the photographer sets up. They don’t notice that the nose of their boat has become caught under part of the lock, and the rising water threatens to flip the boat. They push away just in time, and just as the photographer snaps the photo they are caught falling over, feet in the air. From Culham, the men hope…

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