Jerome K. Jerome is a famous and outstanding novelist, essayist, humourist and playwright in the English literature. His literary heritage includes hundreds of brilliant works impressing readers during a century. The works of Jerome K. Jerome reflect not only his epoch, but his inner world, background, life experience, socio-political views, etc. The novel “Three men in a boat”, written in 1889, is constructed in a specific way helps to create a message of the story. This structural and stylistic device reveals a variety of interpretations as to the meaning of the action in the novel.
The main characters of the story are three friends who decided to have a rest and planed a trip down the Thames. “There were four of us–George, and William Samuel Harris, and myself, and Montmorency”. The author depicts the world of countryside throughout the story, which is unchangeable, and even static. Calm and leisurely are main characteristics of that world.
The novel depicts nature and discusses how beautiful it is.
Nature, and the theme of river in particular, is used as a symbol to describe deep personal feelings and life experience of a human. The author gives only some hints to the reader to comprehend the meaning of the novel, and under “river” and “boat” Jerome K. Jerome means our life with non-trodden paths, which we have to carve. “To those who do contemplate making Oxford their starting-place, I would say, take your own boat – unless, of course, you can take someone else’s without any possible danger of being found out.
The boats that, as a rule, are let for hire on the Thames above Marlow, are very good boats”. Nature serves as a symbol that represents dilemma and the knowledge retrieval, the desire to find old truth.
The theme of water was always one of the topical one. Human’s life flows like a river, it is comparable with the rain or snow weather. Water represents life cycle of nature in comparison to the human’s life. A glorious scene of nature grasps the readers’ imagination, and beauty depicted and enhanced by the author’s rendering of delicate expressions that come together to form a beautiful composition of nature at it’s best: ”From the dim woods on either bank, Night’s ghostly army, the grey shadows, creep out with noiseless tread to chase away the lingering rearguard of the light, and pass, with noiseless, unseen feet, above the waving river-grass, and through the sighing rushes”.
Critics find that the story has a sign of a “complex, multifaceted mind”, but they have hesitated to diminish his achievement by “inscribing it within a single master narrative”. It is a familiar theme, but few versions can rival the story, the vividly assured characterisation and the sharp division between comedy and satire, in which he lays bare the moral dilemma between “a callous story and a deed”. On the other hand, the suddenness and the strength of productive Jerome K. Jerome years still excites scholarly interest, the focus has shifted from questions related to motive and origin to those concerned with style and practice. This situation illustrates the moral values taken place in city.