Crucial Themes in “Three Men in a Boat” by Jerome K Jerome

Categories: Rudyard Kipling
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In this essay an effort is made to discern the crucial themes that one can observe in the book “Three Men in a Boat” composed by Jerome K Jerome. This book written by Jerome K Jerome ended up being very popular among the English readers. One reason for this popularity was its different and new way of representation which varied from the books written by authors such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Cannon Doyle, Rudyard Kipling and other popular authors. This popularity possibly was because of the usage of different themes and style of language that a person can see in the case of this book.

Firstly, the language utilized in this book was the language spoken by the common masses which possibly attracted the common individuals to read this book leading to its appeal although the critics condemned the vulgarity that they discovered in the book in the various terms that were utilized in the book. However unlike the composing designs of the times, Jerome did not utilize glorifying terms or synthetic terms to express the feelings of the individuals.

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The book describes the 3 guys amongst whom one character was represented by the author himself. An important theme in this book is the value that is provided to satisfaction trips in which the friends took several expeditions in the boat on the River Thames and other locations.

These enjoyment journeys were previously delighted in normally by the middle and upper middle class individuals. However, the writing of this book “3 Guy in a Boat” made the enjoyment trips on the rivers of England extremely popular.

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Another important theme in the book is the love for nature and in order to express their love for nature the 3 pals go on excursion over River Thames. This book can be considered as an essential contribution to the travel literature particularly within England. This book is the story of three typical individuals who speak the typical language spoken by the common individuals. They do not associate with any great experiences and there are no terrific heroes and bad guys in this book. The interest the masses is an essential theme in this book.

However we can consider that the most important theme is the love of these people for travel, pleasure trips and their love of nature. An important aspect of this book is that initially it was conceived as a serious guide to traveling on boat. However humor became the principal style narration in this book. The readers regarded that many jokes in the book are relevant even today. One important theme found in this book is the need for relaxation from work. Thus, one can find the theme of escape in this work. Hence, the three men go for a pleasure trip in order to escape from the problems which they faced.

An important theme is the disease which had attacked the friend of Jerome which led to search for the proper medicine to cure this disease. After reading the various medical literatures, the author feels that he possesses all the diseases mentioned in these works. Jerome mentions that, “I sat and pondered. I thought what an interesting case I must be from a medical point of view, what an acquisition I should be to a class! Students would have no need to “walk the hospitals”, if they had me. I was hospital in myself.

All they need would be walk around me, and, after that take their diploma”. (Jerome, 1995) In this statement one can also find the theme of humor as the author is not only discussing the serious issue of medical problems but at the same time he is finding that he has got various diseases and he describes this with lot of humor. The author after reading about the health problems states that “I walked into the reading-room a happy, healthy man. I crawled out a discrepit wreck”. (Jerome, 1995)

In the second chapter there are preparations for the pleasure trips by the friends of Jerome. The author mentions “Having thus settled the sleeping arrangements to the satisfaction of all four of us, the only thing left to discuss was what we should take with us…” In this juncture one can find the humor in the statement: “George said he felt thirsty (I never knew George when he didn’t)”. (Jerome, 1995) The chapter three of the book refers to the further arrangements that were made for the trip. Humor also can be seen in the statement that “I notice that people always make gigantic arrangements for bathing when they are going anywhere near the water, but that they don’t bathe much when they are there”. (Jerome, 1995)

While preparing for the travel the friends discuss regarding the question of food while traveling. While making travel arrangements, Jerome states that he thought that he is the most efficient person in packing which is essential while traveling. In fact he asked his friends to leave the task of packing to him because Jerome had confidence in his ability to pack. He stated that, “My tooth-brush is a thing that haunts me when I’m travelling, and makes my life a misery”. (Jerome, 1995) Here one can find both the seriousness of the fact that tooth-brush is necessary for travel and the sense of humor exhibited by the author.

The friends visit various historical places and there is interesting discussion regarding the major events related to English history. There is reference to various adventures and misadventures of these three men while traveling. During travel the author states, “The boat seemed stuffy, and my head seemed aching…”(Jerome, 1995). These people had some bad experiences which are suggested by the statement that “The people at the beer shop were rude. They merely laughed at us”. (Jerome, 1995) The experiences on the Marlow River are also explained in detail by the author. Jerome praised this river town due to its liveliness and they could enjoy in this place.

In fact the author stated that “Our departure from Marlow I regard as one of our greatest successes.” (Jerome, 1995) There is also description regarding a procession which they noticed. The author mentioned that he did not like the steam launches and they had problems with these steam launches. The author also describes an incident wherein the friends prepare the meal and the author thought that this was the tastiest food he ever had.  This book by Jerome consists of themes such as traveling, escape from daily routine and humor. The various travel experiences of three men has been humorously presented by the author for the enjoyable reading.


  1. Jerome, Jerome K. (1995). Three Men in a Boat, Etext #308, Project Gutenberg, Retrieved online on 10-09-2005 from
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Crucial Themes in “Three Men in a Boat” by Jerome K Jerome. (2017, Mar 13). Retrieved from

Crucial Themes in “Three Men in a Boat” by Jerome K Jerome
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