PG wodehouse uses animal imagery to discuss relationships of different characters. Discuss in the light of the short story, "The Custody of The Pumpkin"

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In addition to the comparison of Freddie to a rabbit, the reader of "The Custody of The Pumpkin" will find other instances where Wodehouse uses animal characteristics to describe his characters’ mannerisms or states of mind.

After seeing Freddie embracing Aggie, a furious Lord Emsworth descends to the terrace of...

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In addition to the comparison of Freddie to a rabbit, the reader of "The Custody of The Pumpkin" will find other instances where Wodehouse uses animal characteristics to describe his characters’ mannerisms or states of mind.

After seeing Freddie embracing Aggie, a furious Lord Emsworth descends to the terrace of Blandings Castle to wait for Freddie to return from the garden. Wodehouse writes, “Here he [Lord Emsworth] prowled like an elderly leopard waiting for feeding-time.” By comparing Lord Emsworth to a leopard, Wodehouse gives the reader the impression that his lordship is in a particularly ferocious state of mind, a far cry from his normally amiable disposition.

While pondering the prospect of supporting Freddie and Aggie, Lord Emsworth stands in the middle of a London street, “gaping like a fish.” The simile describes the severity of the shock induced by the thought of having his son married to a young woman from, he assumes, a family of modest means. The reader can easily picture the comic sight of the Earl struck dumb and immobile in the middle of a bustling street, a place where people are usually brisk and purposeful.

Shortly thereafter, Lord Emsworth is admiring a bed of flowers and, transfixed by its beauty, is said to be “Pointing like a setter” at the flowers that have arrested his attention. By likening Lord Emsworth to a bird dog, Wodehouse evokes the image of a setter when it becomes oblivious to all else upon catching the scent of a game bird. Here we have another comic image of Lord Emsworth losing his wits at a time he should be applying himself to worldly problems like Freddie's upcoming marriage.

During the ensuing confrontation with the constable and the gardener, passersby stop to watch and jeer at Lord Emsworth as he tries to prove that he is an earl and not just a scruffy flower thief. Wodehouse writes that the crowd “laughed like a hyena,” suggesting that the crowd took an atavistic delight in seeing someone as prominent as Emsworth vexed by a common gardener and an indifferent constable.

Wodehouse, P.G. “The Custody of the Pumpkin,” Blandings Castle. Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1935.

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