Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)

How far was the holiday beneficial in helping the three friends unwine and distressed?

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Jerome’s portrayal of the relationship between urban life and the natural world is complex, and at times contradictory. Early in the book, the men decide to take a river trip because they believe that nature’s calmness and beauty will give them an escape from the stress of living in London. To some extent, this is true – the men do seem to forget their hypochondria when they are on the river, and they enjoy many calm moments. However, they also discover that the countryside is not as peaceful as it seems. The men have great difficulty performing basic chores such as cooking and navigating the boat, and they quickly cease the trip when it begins to rain on their way back to London. Ultimately, they come to accept that country life can be every bit as demanding as life in the city.