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

by Jerome K. Jerome
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Comment on the narrator's description of camping out.

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The narrator's description of camping out is hilarious. It is all the more hilarious if you have ever actually "camped out." The reason that his several-paragraph description of camping out is hilarious is because it is the standard, stereotypical vision of what camping out should be like. People always imagine that camping out, and "getting back to nature," is a wonderfully harmonious experience in which relaxation is the main attraction and all of nature bows down to you, the human, in an effort to make sure that everything is perfect. The narrator explains a scene in which the stream is utterly peaceful and the birds cheerfully chirp at volumes low enough for gentle conversation to occur. The food is easily made and easily cleaned up. The moon lovingly kisses and embraces the scene, and the men peacefully put out their pipes and fall asleep quickly and gently.

Then we run our little boat into some quiet nook, and the tent is pitched, and the frugal supper cooked and eaten. Then the big pipes are filled and lighted, and the pleasant chat goes round in musical undertone; while, in the pauses of our talk, the river, playing round the boat, prattles strange old tales and secrets, sings low the old child’s song that it has sung so many thousand years—will sing so many thousand years to come, before its voice grows harsh and old—a song that we, who have learnt to love its changing face, who have so often nestled on its yielding bosom, think, somehow, we understand, though we could not tell you in mere words the story that we listen to.

Camping, according to the narrator, is a gloriously wonderful endeavor, and that is what makes it hilarious for experienced campers. Anecdotally, I like camping; however, it is never as wonderful as the narrator describes. Sleeping on the ground is not as nice as sleeping in my bed. Tents can easily be far too hot or cold to sleep comfortably in. Nature loves it when I camp because the bugs seem to want to embrace me and my dinner. I always imagine camping will be just as the narrator describes it, and that is probably why I keep camping.

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