Three Men in a Boat
To Say Nothing of the Dog
by- Jerome Klapka Jerome
Extra Questions, Notes, Assignment and study material for Class 9th as Per CBSE Syllabus
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Summary ch- 16
Incident wise Summary
The boat reached Reading about eleven. The river here is dirty and bad. The town itself is a famous place. It is a place where people run to whenever there is some trouble in London. Parliament came here whenever there was a plague on at Westminster. In 1625, the Law followed suit, and all the courts were held at Reading. During the Parliamentary struggle, Reading was besieged by the Earl of Essex Twenty five years later, the Prince of Orange defeated King James’s troops there.
At Reading lock the friends came up with a steam-launch belonging to some friends of the narrator. They were towed up to within about a mile of Streatley. It was a very pleasant experience. It would have been better but for small boats that continued to come in the way of their launch.
The river became very lovely from a little above Reading. The launch left the friends just below the grotto. Harris told the narrator that it was his turn to pull. He resented, but had to take the sculls.
Hardly had the narrator been pulling for a minute or so when George saw something black floating on the water. It was the dead body of a woman. Her face was not beautiful. It was prematurely aged-looking, thin and drawn. Some men on the bank.who had seen the dead body, took charge of it, thus saving the friends from hanging about the coroners’ courts. The friends found out the woman’s story thereafter. She had loved and been deceived, or had deceived herself. She had sinned. So her family and friends had closed their doors against her. She tried to keep her child and herself alive on six shillings a week, which was almost impossible. She made one last appeal to friends. When no one came to her to rescue. She drowned herself in the river leaving behind her child. So she had sinned in living and in dying. Goring on the left and Streatley on the right are both charming places to stay for a few days. Streatley is an ancient place. Goring is not as lovely a place as Streatley.
The narrator : We find the narrator contradictory and amusing. Earlier, he had condemned steam-launches for disturbing small boats. Here he condemns small boats because they come in the way of stream-launches. It is so because their boat is being towed by a friendly steam-launch.
As the boat continues to move, we learn more about worth-visiting places. Incidents, plain or surprising.are interspersed in the narrative to make it interesting.
Answer the following questions in short:
- What are the writer’s view about Reading?
Ans. Though Reading was a town of historical importance, but the river at Reading was dirty and full of small wretched boats which were a hindrance in the way of their steam launch.
- What made towing unpleasant for Jim?
Ans. The great number of wretched small boats that continually got in the way of their launch made his towing unpleasant.
- Describe the looks of woman as described by the writer.
Ans. The dead woman’s face was sweet and calm, thought not beautiful. It was too prematurely aged looking, too thin and drawn. The face was gentle and lovable but looked worried and poor.
- Give two reasons, why the woman committed suicide.
Ans. The woman was deceived by her lover. She had sinned and had a child. Her family and friends had closed their doors for her. Secondly she found it difficult to keep both herself and her child on twelve shillings a week which she received after a hard work of twelve hours. She was forced to abandon her child and leave the town as nobody helped her. Unable to bear pain and poverty she had committed suicide.
- What made the three friends stay near the village of Goring and streatley?
Ans. The sweet smiling face of the river and the charming places near the river tempted them to stay there.
- What is the historical importance of Reading?
Ans. The town of Reading was itself a famous old place since the dim days of King Ethelred, when the Danes anchored their warships in the Kennet and started from Reading to destroy all the land of Wessex. Here Ethelred and his brother Alfred fought and defeated them, Ethelred doing the praying and Alfred the fighting. Afterwards Reading became a handy place to run down to. When matters became unpleasant in London, Parliament generally rushed off to Reading. During the parliamentary struggle Reading was besieged by the Earl of Essex and after a quarter of century the Prince of Orange defeated King James’s troops there. Henry first lies buried in Reading. John Gaunt was married to the Lady Blanche here.
- Narrate the story of the woman in your own words.
Ans. George noticed something black floating on the water. It was the dead body of a woman. Later the writer knew about her and described that she was deceived by her lover or she deceived herself. She had sinned and had a child. Her family and friends had closed their doors against her. She worked hard for twelve hours and earned twelve shilling a week. But she could not maintain herself and her baby on this petty amount. No one helped her and so she was forced to abandon her child and leave the town. Unable to bear the pain and poverty she committed suicide by drowning herself into the river.
- Describe the beauty of Streatley and Goring as described by the writer.
Ans. Streatley on the right bank and Goring on the left bank of the river were both charming places to stay at for a few days. The beautiful stretches down to Pangbourne attract everybody for a sunny sail or for a moonlight\ row and the country round about is full of natural beauty. Attracted by the beauty. Three friends left the boat at the bridge and went up into Streatley and lunched at the Bull. Streatley is an ancient place dating back to British and sexton times. Goring is not so pretty as Streatley but it is passing fair enough in its way and it is nearer to the railway.
- The writer calls the woman as a “sinner” in both living and dying. Why does he think that way? Do you also agree with him? Why or Why not?
Ans. Actually the writer does not condemn the woman as a sinner because it is not his personal view rather he brings out the views of a society as a whole. He is simply stating the age old custom of propriety, moral code, sin and the consequences as prevalent in a society where young unwed mothers are looked down upon as a sinner, where religion condemns both immorality and the sin of taking their own lives. It has generally been the custom to condemn such practices by society and religion. It is indeed a sad story. It is not the story of one age, one people, one society or of one religion. It is the same in every age, every society and every religion. The writer views the event through the eyes of the society and religion.
- The writer condemns the “wretched small boats.” Is there something humorous in it? How had he described his boat earlier in connection with the steam launch? Explain what it tells you about him.
Ans. The description of boats and launches is full of humour. The way the writer gives an account of the small boats on two occasions is quite contradictory. At first he upholds the dignity of small boats and condemns the fast moving, snobbish steam launches while later he considers small boats as nuisance calling them ‘wretched small boats’ that continually got in their way. The reason is quite simple. In the first instance the three friends had been slogging and labouring, sculling their boat and they resented the fast moving steam launches as the people on them had not to labour. They just stood on the deck smoking their pipes and ordering small boats out of their way. In the second instance their boat was being towed by a steam launch. Now they enjoyed moving rapidly on the water effortlessly. They felt the small boats were hurdles troubling them by coming in their way. The description how he feels and becomes irritated shows that he is concerned about his own self, his boat and their journey and not about the boats or steam launches.