Jerome K. Jerome

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What are four characteristics of Jerome K. Jerome?

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Jerome K. Jerome, the author of Three Men in a Boat, had a number of interesting characteristics, including having been a loyal life-long friend to Carl Hentschel and George Wingrave, with the latter of whom he shared lodgings before he'd made a name for himself. They all shared a love of the theater. His four youthful ambitions, as confided to George, were to be an editor, to be a playwright, to be a novelist and to be a Member of England's Parliament. He was never elected to Parliament but succeeded in the other three. Jerome K. Jerome also had these characteristics:

  • He left school at age 14 to help the family earn a living.
  • He worked as a clerk, a journalist, and an actor, having played every role in Hamlet except Ophelia.
  • He traveled to Russia and America more than once.
  • He was always most well known for Three Men in a Boat although he was a prolific author.
  • He did not own a dog when writing Three Men in a Boat.
  • His two life-long friends, united with him by mutual love of the theater and adventure, were Carl Hentschel (rechristened by Jerome as William Samuel Harris) and George Wingrave.
  • Jerome and his two friends were active and adventurous, bicycling through Germany's Black Forest, skiing in the Alps, boating down the Thames.

The character of J., created by Jerome, has some character traits that match Jerome's because, just as Jerome used George and Carl ("Harris") as models for the characters of George and Harris, he used himself as a model for the character of J. Some of J.s characteristics are these:

  • He imagines himself a hypochondriac though in reality he is really only suffering the boredom of ennui.
  • He is a staunch friend of George and Harris (just as in real life Jerome was the staunch friend of George and Carl ("Harris")).
  • He was very fond of drinking, knowing all the pubs in several neighborhoods.
  • He was philosophical and lyrical in his thinking (when not struggling with packing), as shown when he is musing about the "boat of life."

[O]h, heaviest, maddest lumber of all!—... luxuries that only cloy, with pleasures that bore, with empty show .... It is lumber, man—all lumber!
   Throw the lumber over, man! Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need—a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink....

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