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

The novel ‘Three Men in a Boat’ involves neither great adventure nor great humour; yet it is an amusing story that conveys a moral. Elaborate.

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In Three Men in a Boat, Jerome presents a nuanced, humanistic view of morality. The episodes in the novel show that everyone is guilty of sin to a greater or lesser extent, and he even makes this point explicitly when the men find the corpse of a woman who committed suicide. Because of this universal tendency, Jerome argues that people should refrain from judging each other for their moral lapses. We are all guilty of seeing ourselves differently from how we actually are, and hence should be careful to assume we have authority to judge others. Indeed, J.’s judgments of the people around him are often written to reflect poorly on him for judging, even though they also provide much of the novel’s humor.