Based on Plot, Theme and Incidents

1 . What did the narrator soy about himself after visiting the British Museum P

Ans. One day the narrator went to the British Museum and there he consulted a medical dictionary. He went through every disease alphabetically. After reading it, he was convinced that he suffered from every disease mentioned in the dictionary. He thought that he suffered from a typhoid fever. He felt that he must have had it for months without knowing it. Then he thought that he suffered from Bright’s disease. He felt relieved to know that he had it only in a modified form. Then he felt that he had cholera with severe complications. He came to know that he had been born with diphtheria. He suffered from gout and Zymosis. He thought that he was an interesting case from a medical point of view. He said that students did not need to go to the hospitals because he was a hospital in himself.

Q.2. What diseases did the three friends George, Harris, the narrator suffer from ? What solution did they find of their maladies?

Ans. George, Harris and the narrator considered themselves to be seriously ill. George and Harris thought that they suffered from fits of giddiness. The narrator thought that he suffered from the ailment of liver. They met to discuss 4ow to deal with their ailments. There the friends described to one another their maladies. They came to the conclusion that the remedy for their maladies was ‘rest’ and a holiday. They should seek out some old-world spot far away from the crowd. They discussed a sea-trip but the narrator Strongly opposed it. George seemed to be the only person who liked sea-trips and he boasted about it. But since the narrator was opposed to it, he suggested a boat-trip. The narrator did not object to it. So finally, all the three friends agreed to go on a boat trip.

Q.3. What discussion did the three friends have about their stay at night?

Ans. After taking the decision of having a boat- trip, they began to discuss about their stay at night. George and the narrator wished to ‘camp out’ at night. Harris said that it was unpleasant to camp out in rainy weather. It was tedious and hopeless to attempt to make wood-fire. So they would have to light a stove to cook food. The bread would be soaked in rain water. The pie, the jam, the buffer and salt would become wet with rain water. They would feel that the world had come to an end because they heard faint cries coming from under their beds. Then they would realise that the tent had fallen down. In the morning they would be speechless owing to severe cold that they caught in the night. Then they would quarrel with one another. So they decided that they would sleep in a hotel or pub when it rained.

Q.4. Who was Montmorency ? What did the narrator think about him Initially ? When did he change his opinion about the dog?

Ans. Montmorency was the dog. He accompanied the three friends on a boat-trip. He looked like a fox-terrier having a gentle look in his eyes. When the narrator had owned the dog, he had initially thought that he would not live long. But when the narrator had to pay for about a dozen chickens that he had killed, he began to reconsider his opinion about the dog. But when he had to drag him by the scruff of his neck out of a hundred and fourteen street fights, and when he had to listen to the angry outburst of the neighbour whose cat he had killed, the narrator changed his opinion about the dog. He came to believe that the dog would not die so soon because he was quite tough and aggressive.

Q.5. How did Uncle Podger hang a picture on the wall?

Ans. Uncle Podger lifted up the picture and dropped it. It came out of the frame. He tried to save the glass and cut his finger. He tried to find the handkerchief, but could not. Later he found the handkerchief and tied his finger. Then he got a new glass, the tools, and the ladder and the chair and the candle and tried again. Two people held the chair, a third helped him up on it and held him there, and the fourth handed him the nail, and the fifth passed the hammer. He took hold of the nail and dropped it. He lost the nail. At last the nail was found, but by that time he had lost the hammer. Then the hammer was found. Then he lost the mark on the wall. After such several mishaps, he hung the picture at mid-night.

Q.6. What does the narrator say about the things to be taken on the trip ? What does he say about the boat of life?

Ans. The narrator says that a person should take only those things on the trip which are essential and needed there. He criticises those people who load their boats with unnecessary and useless things. He, then, becomes philosophical and comments on the boat of life. He thinks that the boat of life should be light. It should be full of simple pleasures. A person should have one or two friends, someone to love and someone to love him, and a cat, a dog, a pipe or two, enough food, sufficient clothes and drinks. Then he will find the boat easier to pull. He will never get upset in life. He will have enough time to think as well as to work. He will be able to listen to the Aeolian music and enjoy life.

Q.7. What does the narrator say about the cheeses that his friend asked him to take them to London?

Ans. The narrator remembers that once his friend who had bought cheeses at Liverpool asked him to take them to London. They took them in a cab. He put the cheeses on the top and they started off at a low speed. The wind carried a whiff from the cheeses on to the horse. The horse dashed off at a high speed of three miles an hour. Soon his speed increased to four miles an hour. It took two porters and the driver to control him at the station. They succeeded because one of the men put a handkerchief over his nose. The narrator, then, caught the train and in the train the passengers felt so uncomfortable with the smell of the cheeses that they moved out of the bogey in which he was sitting. He reached London and his friend took them to a sea-side town and hurried them on the beach.

Q.8. How did the three friends create a mess while packing their things ?

Ans. The narrator offered to pack because he thought that he knew more about it than his friends. He packed the things and when he was strapping the bag, Hams asked, “Aren’t you going to put the boots in ?“ The narrator got irritated but unpacked the bag and put the boots in. George and Harris began to do the hampers. Firstly they broke a cup and then Harris squashed a tomato. They became so nervous that they placed the light things at the bottom and the heavy things on the top. The preserves got smashed. Harris sat on the butter. When they wanted butter, they could not find it. They went looking for butter all over the room. At last they found it on Harris’ back. In this way they created a mess while packing things.

Q.9. Why did the writer think that the ‘weather-forecast’ was a fraud ?

Ans. The writer thought that ‘weather forecast’ was a fraud because it was generally wrong. He remembered a holiday of his which was completely ruined by the ‘weather-forecast’ by a local newspaper. It predicted ‘Heavy showers, with thunderstorm’. He gave up his picnic and remained indoors all day, waiting for the rain. But the sun shone brightly and there was no cloud in the sky. He waited for the rain the whole day, but it did not rain. The next morning, he read that it was going to be a ‘warm, fine to set-fair day ; much heat’ . So he and his friends dressed themselves in flimsy things and went out. After half an hour, it began to rain. A cold wind began to blow. They came back home drenched and they suffered from colds. Thus he came to the conclusion that the ‘weather-forecast’ was a fraud.

Q.1O. How did the small crowd make fun of the luggage of the three friends?

Ans. The three friends carted out their luggage on to the doorstep and waited for the cab. They had a good deal of a luggage. The street boys stopped there to look at the luggage. Biggs, their green grocer, was the first to stop in front of the luggage. He eased up and stared at the three friends. Harris and the writer frowned at him. This could have hurt a boy with a sensitive nature, but he was not touchy. And then another boy stopped there. Then the young gentleman from the boot-shop stopped there. Soon a small crowd collected there. One group thought that it was a wedding and pointed out Harris as the bridegroom, while another group of elders thought that it was a funeral and the writer was probably the corpse’s brother. In this way the small crowd made fun of their luggage.

11 . What does the narrator say about the oak-stairs of the old houses of Kingston?

Ans. Many old houses of Kingston had oak-stairs that did not creak. The narrator remembers a magnificent carved oak-staircase in one of the houses of Kingston. It was a shop now in the marketplace, but it had been evidently the mansion of some great person. The shopkeeper asked the narrator’s friend if he would like to see some of fine old carved oak. The narrator’s friend readily agreed. The shopkeeper took him through the shop and up the staircase of the house. The pillars were a superb piece of workmanship. The wall all the way up was oakpane11ed with carving that had given a great look to the palace. The oak-panelled was covered with blue wall-paper. The owner told him that the room looked cheerful now. It was awfully gloomy before.

Q.12. What does the narrator say about the boy named Stivvings ?

Ans. Stivvings was an extraordinary boy at his school. He wanted to win prizes and grow up to be a clever man. He wanted to bring credit to his parents. But he used to fall ill about twice a week and couldn’t go to school. If there was any known disease going within ten miles of him, he had it and he had it badly. Sometimes he suffered from terrible toothache and ear-ache. He always suffered from cold. During the great cholera scare of 1871, his neighbourhood was totally free from it. There was only one case and that was of young Stivvings. He had to stay in bed when he was ill and eat chickens, custards and hot-house grapes. He lay there in the bed. He sobbed because he was not allowed to do Latin exercises. His German grammar was also taken away from him.

Q.13. Describe the Incident when the narrator went on a boat trip with two ladles.

Ans. Once the narrator went on a boat trip with two ladies. They were both beautifully dressed. They had put on silky stuff, ribbons, dainty shoes and light gloves. But they were dressed for a photographic studio, not for a river picnic. They were the ‘boating-costumes’ of a French fashion plate. The first thing that they thought was that the boat was not clean. The narrator and his friends dusted all the seats for them. They thought that a drop of water would ruin their dress. He tried his best, but could not prevent a few drops of water falling on their clothes. He asked another man to row and the ladies felt relieved. But when the man spread more than a pint of water on their dresses, they began to protect themselves with their umbrellas and drew rugs and coats over themselves.

Q.14. Describe the narrator’s visit to a village church.

Ans. Once the narrator went to a village church. It was a lovely landscape. It was a sunny day. The narrator found that the church had quaint carved wooden porch. He felt good and noble. He felt that he did not want to be sinful and wicked any more. He wished to come and live there and never to do any wrong. He wished to lead a blameless life. In that moment he forgave all his friends and relations for their wickedness. He was absorbed in these tender thoughts, when he was disturbed by a shrill voice, “All right, I’m coming, I’m coming. It’s all right, sir, don’t you be in a hurry”. He looked up and saw an old bald-headed man coming towards him. He was carrying a huge bunch of keys in his hand that jingled at every step. He insisted the narrator to see the tomb. But the narrator ran away.

Q.15. How was Harris about to fall from the boat?

Ans. Harris was fond of drinks. He wanted to go to the pub to have a drink. Jim told him that they were miles away from a pub. He told Harris to take out a bottle from the hamper. It was at the bottom of the hamper and seemed difficult to find. So he had to lean over further and further to get hold of the bottle. In trying to steer at the same time, he pulled the wrong line and sent the boat into the bank. This upset him and he dived down right into the hamper and stood there on his head holding on the sides of the boat. 1-us legs stuck up into the air. He dared not move for fear of going over and had to stay there till Jim got hold of his legs and hauled him back. He was about to fall from the boat, but he had a narrow escape.

Q.16. How did Harris and Jim refuse to be blackmailed ?

Ans. Harris and Jim stopped under the willows by Kempton Park and lunched. It was a ‘pretty little spot. There was a pleasant grass plateau. They had just begun to eat the bread and jam, when a gentleman in shirt- sleeves and a short-pipe came along. He asked them if they knew that they were tresspassing. They replied that they had not thought about this matter. He told them that it was his duty to turn them off. Harris was a well-made man and looked hard and bony. He asked the gentleman how he would do it. He said that he would consult his master and then went away. He never returned. Actually he wanted a shilling and was trying to blackmail them. But both Harris and Jim refused to be blackmailed. They got angry and blamed the owners who had allowed it to happen.

Q.17. How did the two young students from Germany take revenge on the highly cultured people?

Ans. Once the narrator attended a fashionable and highly cultured party. There were two young students who had returned from Germany. They were considered commonplace young men. The cultured people thought that they could not understand their brilliant and polished conversation. The students asked them if they had heard Herr Boschen sing a comic song. It was the funniest song. No one had heard it. They brought the singer to sing it. The prelude did not suggest a comic song. It was a soulful music. The writer, who did not understand German, simply watched the young men. When they tittered, the writer tittered, when they roared, the writer also roared. Most of the listeners in the party did the same. The singer was surprised when the listeners laughed because it was not a comic song. It was a tragic song. In this way the young boys had their revenge.

Q.18. Describe the experience of the narrator when he went on a river trip with his cousin.

Ans. Once the narrator went on a river trip with his cousin, a young lady. It was a half-past six when they reached Benson’s lock. She was eager to reach home before evening. The narrator drew out a map and found that they were just a mile and half to the next lock, Wallingford. They rowed on and passed the bridge and never looked at a lock. The lady thought that they had lost the way and began to cry. The narrator pulled on for another mile. He went on pulling but still no lock came in sight. The rIver began to look gloomy. Suddenly they heard the sweet sounds of an accordion. A boat came along. The narrator asked the occupants if they could tell him the way to Wallingford lock. They told him that there was no Wallingford lock for the last one year. So they were very close to Cleeve now. They returned home in time.

Q.19. How did the friends feel after taking supper?

Ans. After putting up the tent, they sat down to take supper. They boiled the water and made tea and ate supper in dead silence which lasted for thirty five minutes. After it they felt contented and happy. They felt that they were quarrelsome and ill-tempered before supper. After taking the supper they loved one another and everybody. George wondered why they could not be always happy and generous like that ; why they could not remain away from sins and temptations; why they could not lead a sober and peaceful life, and why they could not always do good to others. The narrator said that he always longed for this kind of life. They even discussed the possibility of going away, some desert island and living there in the woods.

Q.20. Why couldn’t the narrator sleep that night?

Ans. The narrator’s companions went to bed at ten but the narrator could not sleep. The sound of the lapping water round the boat and the wind among the branches kept him restless and disturbed. He put on whatever clothes he could and went on to the bank. He thought about the night. It was a glorious night. The moon had sunk and left the quiet earth alone with the stars. It was full of comfort and of strength. The day had been full of fret and care and their hearts had been full of evil and bitter thoughts. The world had seemed so hard and wrong to them. Night, like some great loving mother, gently laid her hand upon their fever heads and removed their pain.

Q.21. Comment on the plotconstruCti0fl of the novel ‘Three Men In a Boat’.

Ans. The novelist unfolds the plot by introducing George, Harris and Jim and Montmorency. the dog. The men who spend an evening at Jim’s room, smoke and discuss illness they fancy they suffer from. They conclude that they suffer from ‘over-work’ and need a holiday. They discuss sea-trip but finally decide on a boating holiday on the Thames between Kingston and Oxford. They embark the following Saturday. They are unable to find the correct train at Waterloo Station. So they bribe a train driver to take his train to Kingston, where they collect their hired boat and start their journey. They meet George later.The remainder of the story relates their river journey and the incidents that occur. The narrator digresses into funny anecdotes. He describes the humorous episode of Uncle Podger. He, then, describes the mess that the friends create while packing their things. He, also discusses the unreliability of barometers. Most of the incidents in the story are intended to evoke laughter.

Q.22. What type of a novel ‘Three Men in a Boat’ is?

Ans. It is a humorous novel. The novelist gives a humorous account of a boating holiday on the Thames between Kingston and Oxford. The novel was initially intended to be a serious travel guide with accounts of local history along the route, but the humorous element became more predominant than the serious element. The jokes, the humorous anecdotes, the comic description of situations and scenes seem fresh and lively even today.