“Packing” is an extract from Jerome K. Jerome’s novel ‘Three Men in a Boat’. This is a humorous extract about the confusion and mess created by people who are inexperienced in the art of packing. It exposes the utter clumsiness of the three friends – Jerome, George, and Harris. They consider themselves to be skilled in the art of packing but, in reality, all of them have little knowledge about working in an organised manner. Hence, to the great amusement of the reader, the small job of packing is carried out by them with many a jerk and jolt.
The three men– Jerome, George and Harris have to go on a trip and have to pack for it. All three of them think they are ‘masters’ in the art of packing, but all they end up creating is utter mess. They are disorganised, unplanned, foolish, careless and unsystematic and cannot properly pack a thing. They blame each other for being poor at packing and each boasts of his packing acumen.
Jerome or J is the narrator of the story. Being extremely proud of his packing skills, he decides to take charge of packing for the holiday. But his real intention was to only supervise his friends while they did the actual packing. So when George and Harris, actually agreed to the narrator’s suggestion and sat down seeing him work, he grew angry and irritated. Nevertheless, he does the packing wherein he forgets many things, thus having to unpack and repack many times. The narrator goes on to give George and Harris the taste of their own medicine while they begin packing the hampers. The sits back and simply enjoys all the mess that his friends create.
George and Harris:
George and Harris are the narrator’s friends with whom he is about to go on a trip. They turn out to be worse packers than the narrator. They are highly disorganized, clumsy and foolish when it comes to packing. They place heavier things on top of light ones thus squashing them and making a mess. They spread salt over everything. They step on butter and sit on it. Instead of helping the narrator while he packs, they simply sit and enjoy his forgetfulness.
Another important character in the story is Montmorency, the dog. The narrator says that Montmorency’s only ambition in life is to get in everyone’s way and be sworn at. The dog made the most use of his day by wriggling his way in places where he was not wanted. He would create nuisance and make people so mad that they started throwing things at him. Just while they were about to pack the hampers, Montmorency came and sat down on things. He also believed that whenever Harris or George reached out their hand for anything, it was his cold damp nose that they wanted. Montmorency, then, put his foot in jam, pretended that lemons were rats and killed three before Harris hit him with a frying pan to get him out of the hamper.
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