In the first paragraph, what is the effect of the author's use of hyperbole?

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As the story begins, the narrator is sitting in his room with his friends George and William Samuel Harris, as well as the dog, Montmorency. They're all feeling rather ill as they idly lounge about, smoking. (Not the dog, though). The three friends talk about how bad they are from...

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As the story begins, the narrator is sitting in his room with his friends George and William Samuel Harris, as well as the dog, Montmorency. They're all feeling rather ill as they idly lounge about, smoking. (Not the dog, though). The three friends talk about how bad they are from a medical point of view. The general consensus seems to be that they're all incredibly overworked and in desperate need of some rest. Harris and George regularly come over with giddy spells, and the narrator's liver is out of order. Whatever appears to be ailing them, it can't be good.

Nevertheless, there's more than a hint of hyperbole about the chaps' alleged health problems. In the first paragraph, we're informed that they're all bad, but their symptoms are somewhat vague. The narrator, in particular, comes across as a bit of a hypochondriac, imagining himself to be struck down by every ailment under the sun as he pores over a medical book one day at the British Museum.

One could argue that hyperbole is used as a plot point, as a way to get the action going. As the three friends are supposed to be bad, they will need a radical cure for their unspecified maladies. And what better cure could there be than to spend a week or two messing about on the river?

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