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

Who was Uncle Podger? Why does the narrator mentions this particular character, though he is not connected to the boat trip?

Please include a introduction paragraph. This question is for 10 marks, so minimum 250 words are required in 3/4 paragraphs...ty :)

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In Chapter Threem while at the pub, the three men compile a list of what they need to pack. Harris volunteers to write out the list, and J. compares him for the reader to his Uncle Podger, who always volunteers to help others but bungles the job because he is so accident-prone. Further, Uncle Podger ends up causing more work for everyone else because of his general incompetence. To illustrate his point, J. tells a lengthy story about how Uncle Podger once caused chaos for his entire household when trying to complete the simple task of hammering a nail into the wall.

Foibles of modernity and civilization provide most of the novel's push. These are clearest in Jerome's digressions, which he frequently uses to go on extended comedic 'riffs.' These riffs are often quite notable and distinct from anything else in the novel. The Uncle Podger section is a perfect example. Though it initially serves to illustrate a point about Harris, it quickly becomes its own segment, an almost slapstick scene. Once Jerome establishes the irony - that sometimes the most helpful person proves the least helpful - it becomes all about gags. Further, the Uncle Podger section features a very different set of characters. While J. and his friends are privileged, urban gentlemen, Uncle Podger is the head of a large country family. When it was first published, Three Men in a Boat was criticized for pandering to working-class readers (“My Life” 75). Digressions like the Uncle Podger anecdote are what inspired this criticism.