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Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome – Summary & Book Index About – Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), published in 1889, is a humorous account by Jerome K. Jerome of a boating holiday on the Thames between Kingston and Oxford. The book was intended initially to be a serious travel guide, with accounts of local history of places along the route, but the humorous elements eventually took over, to the point where the serious and somewhat sentimental passages now seem like an unnecessary distraction to the essentially comic novel.One of the most praised things about Three Men in a Boat is how undated it appears to modern readers. The jokes seem fresh and witty even today. The three men were based on the narrator (Jerome himself) and two real-life friends, George Wingrave (who went on to become a senior manager in Barclays Bank) and Harris (in reality Carl Hentschel, the founder of a well-known London printing business). The dog, Montmorency, was entirely fictional, but as Jerome had remarked, “had much of me in it. The holiday was a typical boating holiday of the time, carried out in a Thames Camping Skiff. This was just after commercial boat traffic on the Upper Thames had died out, to be replaced by the 1880’s craze for boating as a leisure activity. There was a less successful sequel, about a cycling tour in Germany, entitled Three Men on the Bummel. A similar book was published seven years before Jerome’s work, entitled Three in Norway (by two of them) by J. A. Lees and W. J. Clutterbuck.It tells the story of three men on an expedition into the wild Jotunheimen in Norway. The similarities between the two books are striking. Plot Summary The story beings by introducing the main characters – George, Harris, ‘J’ (Jerome, the narrator) and Montmorency, the dog. The men are spending an evening in J’s room, smoking and idly discussing various illnesses they fancy they are suffering from. They conclude they are suffering from ‘overwork’ and are badly in need of a holiday. The options of a stay in the country and a sea-trip are considered, then rejected (J. escribes the bad experiences had by his brother-in-law and another unnamed friend on sea-trips). The three eventually decide upon a boating trip up the Thames during which they’ll camp-out, notwithstanding more anecdotes from J. regarding previous mishaps with tents and camping stoves. The next Saturday, they embark. George must go into work that morning (“George goes to sleep at a bank from ten to four each day, except Saturdays, when they wake him up and put him outside at two”) so J. and Harris make their way to Kingston by train.Unable to find the correct train at Waterloo Station, they resort to bribing a train driver to take his train to Kingston where they collect their hired boat and start upon their journey. They meet George later in the day, up-river at Weybridge. The remainder of the story relates their leisurely journey up the river and the incidents that occur. The book’s original purpose as a guidebook is apparent as the narrator describes the many landmarks and villages they pass by such as Hampton Court Palace, Monkey Island, Magna Carta Island and Marlow, and he muses upon the historical associations of these places.However, he frequently digresses into funny anecdotes that range in subject from the unreliability of barometers for weather forecasting to Harris’ hopeless ineptness at singing Gilbert and Sullivan comic songs (that contrasts with his belief that he has a talent for it). The most frequent topics are river pastimes such as fishing and boating and the difficulties they may present to the unwary. The book includes several classic comic set-pieces, such as the plaster of Paris trout in chapter seventeen and the “Irish stew” in chapter fourteen – made by mixing together most of the leftover items in the party’s food hamper.      I forget the other ingredients, but I know nothing was wasted; and I remember that, towards the end, Montmorency, who had evinced great interest in the proceedings throughout, strolled away with an earnest and thoughtful air, reappearing, a few minutes afterwards, with a dead water-rat in his mouth, which he evidently wished to present as his contribution to the dinner; whether in a sarcastic spirit, or with a genuine desire to assist, I cannot say. ” Helen Adams Keller, born on June 27, 1880, in Alabama, was an American author, political activist and lecturer.She was the first deaf-blind person to receive a Bachelors of Arts degree. Her physical disabilities were the results of an illness, most likely scarlet fever or meningitis, at the young age of nineteen months. Despite her illness, Helen showed keen concern for communication with others and for overcoming her physical disabilities. Her teacher, Anne Sullivan taught her for many years to prepare her to face the outside world. In 1903, at the age of twenty two, Helen wrote her autobiography The Story of my Life with the help of her teacher Ann Sullivan and Ann’s husband John Macy.The book uncovers the inspirational journey of Helen from her childhood through her adolescence; the struggle to gain education; and her experience in college. Helen enjoyed the companionship of many famous literary geniuses of her age, including Dr. Alexander Graham Bell and Mark Twain. Helen Keller and Mark Twain are often regarded as the ‘radicals’ of the twentieth century. Helen spent most of her life raising funds for the blind and her social work was rewarded by several honours awarded to her by the President of the United States.She died in her sleep on June 1, 1968, at her home in Connecticut. Her ashes were buried next to her beloved teachers’, Anne Sullivan and Polly Thompson. Considered as one of the greatest books of the twentieth century, The Story of My Life is an autobiographical account of Miss Helen Keller. The book traces her inspiring journey from childhood to her college days, as she overcomes her disabilities to eventually “conquer the world by the power of mind. ” (Mark Twain) This was book written by Keller at the age of 22 and, hence, the prose is comfortably simple and straightforward.However, the book is rich in description; it is episodic, with different events from Helen’s life described in some detail. These events are mostly related to her learning progression with her teacher, Miss Sullivan, and at the different institutions that she attended during her first two decades. Helen also describes her adventures in different places, including her outdoor activities and her visit to the World’s Fair of 1893. Besides, the extensive lists of the books she has read and that of the famous persons she has met cover a sizeable portion of the book.It is quite fascinating to read the first-hand account of a deaf-blind person’s journey to light and education. The will-power of Helen and the patience of Miss Sullivan, both make this book an inspirational and motivational read. Helen Adams Keller was born on a plantation called Ivy Green, in Tuscumbia, Alabama, on June 27, 1880 to Captain Arthur H. Keller and Kate Adams Keller. Later, at the age of nineteen months, she was contracted by an illness that left her deaf and blind. After initial days of sickness, “crude signs” were used by Helen to communicate with her mother.Eventually, Helen realized that she was different from others. She attempted to copy the gestures of their lips while talking but failed to attain any results. Miss Ann Sullivan came to educate Helen on the third of March, 1887. Helen slowly learnt that everything has a name. With time, Miss Sullivan taught her to name, spell and read. She gave lessons on various subjects by narrating stories, poems or by engaging Helen into various playful activities. Helen gained speech techniques from Miss Sarah Fuller in 1889, and with Miss Sullivan’s assistance, Helen learned to speak.Gradually, Helen started developing her ideas and forming stories from them. She wrote her first story “The Frost King” in 1891 and dedicated it to her teacher, Mr. Anagnos. Her story was found to be a plagiarized version of Miss Margaret Canby’s Story “The Frost Fairies”. An investigation into the matter revealed that Miss Keller could have experienced the case of cryptomnesia which had made her unconsciously retain Canby’s story that had been read to her. She was later reassured and encouraged to write by her family, friends and Miss Canby herself.Helen was helped by Miss Sullivan to transgress all her physical limitations and receive hourly lessons at the Cambridge School for Ladies. With the support her teachers, friends, parents and her own strong will power, Helen secured admission in Radcliffe College. She became the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. At the end of this book, she expresses her indebtedness to her friends, benefactors and teachers who had transformed her “limitations into beautiful privileges”. |1880 |Heller Keller is born on June 27 at Ivy Green in Tuscumbia, Alabama, to Arthur H.Keller and Kate Adams | |1882 |In February, Helen suffers from a mysterious illness that leaves her blind and deaf | |1886 |Birth of her sister Mildred | | |Trip to Baltimore and Washington to meet Dr. Chisholm and Dr. Alexander G. Bell | | |In summer, Mr.Anagnos writes that a teacher has been found for Helen | |1887 |Miss Sullivan arrives on 3rd March | | |Helen manages to spell water on 5th April | | |In May, Helen reads her first connected story | | |Helen’s first experience of the wrath of nature when she is unwittingly left alone sitting on a tree during a storm | | |On Christmas, Miss Sullivan gifts Helen a canary bird. Helen names it ‘Tim’ | |1888 |First visit to Boston in May; Nancy, her doll, is destroyed there | | |Joins Perkins Institution for the Blind | |1890 |In the spring of this year, Helen starts to learn to speak | | |Mrs.Lamson comes to see her and introduces her to Miss Sarah Fuller | | |On 26th March, Helen starts her class with Miss Fuller | |1892 |“The Frost King” episode | |1893 |Trips to Washington, Niagara and the World’s Fair | |1894 |Joins the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf in New York City | |1896 |Death of Helen’s father in August | | |Death of Mr. John P.Spaulding of Boston in February | | |In October, Helen enters the Cambridge School for Young Ladies | |1897 |Preliminary examinations for Radcliffe from June 29th to July 3rd | | |Helen misses school on 17th November and, subsequently, withdraws from Cambridge school | |1898 |From February to July, Mr.Keith comes to Wrentham to teach Helen algebra, geometry, Greek and Latin | | |From October onwards, for the next eight months, Mr. Keith teaches Helen in Boston | |1899 |Final examinations for Radcliffe on 29th and 30th of June | |1900 |In the fall of this year, Helen enters Radcliffe college | |1901 |Helen visits Nova Scotia | |1903 |The Story of My Life is published |

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