the last three chapters
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After describing Streatley as a fishing town, J. advises readers not to fish in the Thames because there is nothing to be caught there but minnows and dead cats. J. explains that being a good angler has nothing to do with fishing, and everything to do with one’s ability to tell believable lies about the number of fish one has caught. He provides several examples of men he has met who have lied convincingly about their catch.
George and J. go to a pub in Wallingford. There is a large trout hanging on the wall there, and three different patrons (plus the bartender) each claim they were the one to catch it, each with a different story and description of its weight. At the end of the night, George trips and grabs the trout to steady himself. The trout falls to the ground and shatters, and the men realize that it is made of plaster of Paris.
The incident with the plaster fish is another example of Jerome’s liberal attitude toward social class. In the bar, several patrons from different social backgrounds all claim to have caught the fish. In spite of their differences in background, they behave similarly. Through this incident, Jerome seems to suggest that pretension cuts across social classes. In other words, all people lie to themselves, regardless of their levels of comfort.