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

When Jerome becomes politically lyrical he is brought back to reality rather rudely. Is there any instance in the story ?

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In Chapter 7, Jerome sends up the same Romantic writing conventions that he seemed to embrace in the novel’s earlier chapters. He writes:

It was a lovely landscape. It was idyllic, poetical, and it inspired me. I felt good and noble. I felt I didn’t want to be sinful and wicked any more. I would come and live here, and never do any more wrong, and lead a blameless, beautiful life, and have silver hair when I got old, and all that sort of thing (64).

The lyrical descriptions in this passage are typical of Romantic writing, as is the notion that nature can bring out a person’s best self. Because of these qualities, the passage is similar to other sentimental descriptions that appear in the novel. However, Jerome shows a sense of self-awareness here that he does not always demonstrate elsewhere. By wrapping up the description with “all that sort of thing,” he suggests an ironic distance from Romantic conventions, and gently mocks their sentimentality even as he seems to sincerely embrace their ideas. To connect this to one of the novel's other primary themes, he seems to gently suggest that this embrace of nature as a manifestation of man's best self is simply another illusion that we use.

In this section, Jerome is rudely brought back to reality by the old man with the cane, who refused to leave him with his thoughts.