Friday 7 June 2024



                                               By Jerome K. Jerome


·       The story ‘Packing’ is an extract from the novel ‘Three Men in a Boat’ written by Jerome Klapka Jerome, a noted English novelist.

·        The novel ‘Three Men in a Boat’ is a beautiful narration of interesting and humorous anecdotes, adventures and experiences in the lives of the narrator and his two friends. It is written in form of a comic travelogue.

·        The chapter ‘Packing’ is a humorous account of how the narrator, Jerome and his two friends, George and Harris did the packing at the onset of their boat trip. Montemorency’s contribution to the packing is another humorous episode.

·        The story is full of humour, the description is vivid and the narration is so lively and amazing that it establishes the author as a master of pen portraits. 

   Summary  /  Synopsis

§   The narrator, Jerome, the narrator, felt pride on his packing skills. Three friends decided to go on a boat trip as they felt they are sick. He offered to do packing. George and Harris, his friends seemed to be happy with that. They relaxed by lighting a cigar and pipe respectively that the narrator would do the packing.

§  But the narrator had intended that George and Harris would run here and there following his instructions. And he would boss them. When they relaxed, he was irritated. People’s relaxed attitude even after seeing the other slaving irritates him the most. He couldn’t sit still and see others working. He would enjoy getting up and overseeing others working.

§  The narrator started packing. After much exercise and hard work he finished packing. At the end Harris told him that he had forgotten to pack the boots. He opened the bag and packed the boots but as he was going to close the bag, a thought troubled him whether he had packed his toothbrush or not. The idea of packing his toothbrush always haunts him and it doesn’t let him sleep peacefully he can't use anyone's toothbrush nor the hotel one.

§  He searched for toothbrush, turned everything out. He found brushes of George and Harris more than eighteen times but, he couldn’t find his own. Finally, he found his toothbrush inside a boot. He repacked the things once more and closed the bag.

§  Soon, George asked if he had packed soap. But the narrator said, he didn’t care if it is packed or not. However, he realised that he had packed his spectacles. So he reopened the bag, took out his spectacles and packed the bag finally.

§  Then, George and Harris undertook to do the rest of packing intending to show the narrator how packing should be done. They offered to pack the hampers. The narrator thought with the exception of George, Harris is the worst packer. They made a pile of plates, cups, kettles, bottles, pies, cakes, tomatoes, etc. They started with breaking a cup. Harris put the strawberry jam over a tomato and squashed it.

§  The narrator sat on the edge of the table and observed them making them nervous. They stepped on things out of nervousness. Then, they put the things behind and didn’t find what they wanted to pack them. They packed the pies at the bottom and squashed them after putting heavy things on them.

§  George trod on the butter and got it off from his slipper. Then, they tried to put it in the kettle. It won’t go and what was in wouldn’t come out. They at last got it and put it down on a chair. Harris sat on it. It stuck to him. Then, they went looking for it all over the room. Finally, George found it at the back of Harris and packed it in the teapot.

§  The narrator’s dog, Montmorency’s ambition in life was to get in the way and be a nuisance. He felt that his day was not wasted if he had made people mad. His aim was to get somebody stumble over him and be cursed. Montmorency sat on things when they were to be packed. He put his leg into the jam. He played with the lemons as they are rats and killed/crushed three of them.

§  Finally, they finished packing  at 12: 50 at night. Harris said that he didn’t care if anything is found broken. Then, they decided to sleep and wake up at 6:30 am.


The Element of Humour

The way George and Harris took narrator’s offer to pack and spread themselves in a relaxed posture is absolutely hillarous.

The narrator’s anxiety over forgetting his toothbrush for any trip is quite funny.

All the nuisance and mess created by Montmorency during the packing is amazingly humorous.

The butter episode is incredibly hilarious as no one would have ever seen ‘two men do more things with butter’ than George and Harris did with it during their packing. In the words of George it was the ‘most extraordinary thing’ we have ever heard or seen.

Important Question answers

Q1. How many characters are there in the chapter. Write a small paragraph on each of them. Include Montmoreny as well.

Ans. There are three main characters in the story - the narrator, Jerome K. Jerome, and his two friends - George and Harris and his dog, Montemorency.

Jerome K. Jerome, the narrator is a proud, boastful, over confident, anxious person. He boasted about his packing skill that's why his friends left all the packing over his shoulders. However he little better and more organised than his friends in terms of planning and packing. The narrator’s anxiety over forgetting his toothbrush and getting late for the trip proves him as a nervous and over anxious person that's why his doctor friend suggested him to on a boat trip thinking that it would bring him peace.

George and Harris are lazy, vain and little bit foolish especially in terms of their packing skills. The way they took narrator’s offer to pack and spread themselves in a relaxed posture is absolutely hilarous and shows their laziness and unwillingness to work. The mess they created while packing shows their foolishness and lack of skill, smartness and common sense. On the top of it they boasted about their packing skill and gave the challenge that they would do packing in a better way. However, they failed in completing the challenge as they created a great mess and broke few things while packing.

The narrator’s dog, Montmorency is active, noisy and destructive animal. His main ambition in life is to get in everyone's way and work and be a nuisance to people around. He felt that his day was not wasted if he had made people mad. His aim was to get somebody stumble over him and be cursed. Montmorency sat on things when they were to be packed and played with things to destroy them. All the nuisance and mess created by Montmorency adds humour to the story.

Q2. How many times did the narrator have to pack and repack the bag? Describe. 

Ans. The narrator had to do packing three times. First, he finished the entire packing but he had to open it to pack boots. Before closing the bag he thought to check whether he had packed his toothbrush or not. After he found his toothbrush and packed the bag second time, he had open it again as by mistake he had packed his spectacles n the bag. He took them out and packed the bag third time.