‘Packing’ Class 9 English: Packing is a humour taken from the comic novel Three Men in a Boat, about 3 hypochondriac friends Jerome, George, and Harris. The author narrates their struggles while packing for a trip. The three friends are clumsy and disorganised which leads to them packing and unpacking their bag many times. Their mishaps further excite their dog who jumps into the fray causing more confusion.
Packing Revision Notes Class 9 English
J Wants to Pack
The narrator, J, announces to his friends George and Harris that he will pack for their upcoming trip. He considers himself an expert at the job and thinks he can boss over the others. His plan backfires as George and Harris sit back and relax, letting J do all the work. J is flustered by his friends’ reactions. He had hoped to monitor his friends and even instruct them and correct their mistakes. J starts packing, finding it to be a tougher job than he had anticipated. He finally manages to finish packing the bag when Harris reminds him about putting in the boots. He has to open the bag again to put the boots in and mentally curses Harris for not having told him before.
The Boots and the Toothbrush
J is haunted by his toothbrush every time he travels, calling it the source of his misery. He forgets to pack it every time, and has to rush to retrieve it at the last minute. The frantic hunt for his toothbrush makes J turn everything out of the packed bags. He finds his friends’ toothbrushes but not his own. He finally spots the toothbrush in a boot and repacks the bag all over again. When J is finally finished, George asks him whether he has packed the soap. Annoyed, J snaps at George saying that he doesn’t care anymore only to realise that he has mistakenly packed his glasses in the bag. J has to unpack the bag once again.
To keep their deadlines, Harris suggests that he and George will pack the baskets or ‘hampers’ carrying their food. The duo began with full spirit, intending to show J how to go about the process. Tables turn this time as J sits back watching and waiting while his friends to goof up.
They begin by breaking a cup. Harris follows by packing strawberry jam on a tomato and crushing it. The duo become clumsier with every attempt. They pack pies at the very bottom of the hamper and squish them by placing heavier things on top.
The biggest problem is the butter. George steps on the butter. Once he removes the butter from his slipper, they place it in a kettle. It does not fit, and the butter gets wedged inside the kettle. They scrape it out and leave it on a chair. Harris absent mindedly sits on the chair and the butter gets stuck on his clothes. The pair of friends look high and low but cannot find the butter. George finally spots it stuck to Harris’ clothes and they manage to pack it into the teapot.
J claims that Montmorency’s sole purpose is to get in the way, make people fall over him and be yelled at. Each time George or Harris reach their hands out to retrieve something, they encounter the dog’s wet nose. Montmorency sits down on things just as they have to be packed. He sticks his leg into the jam, plays with the teaspoons and chases the lemons as if they are rats. Harris has to eventually chase him away with a frying pan and complains that the narrator is encouraging Montmorency.
Calling It a Night
The friends finish packing almost an hour past midnight. The trio decide to go to bed. George asks when to awaken the other two. After a disagreement, Harris and J settle on 6.30am, only to find George has already slept off. Harris and J placed a bath beside George’s bed so that he falls into it while getting up and go off to sleep.
Despite the ongoing chaos while the friends are packing, the author’s account is rich in humour.
The story displays a series of chaotic yet comical mishaps that take place as the friends pack for their trip.
The incidents are narrated in a hilarious manner, making the story more relatable.
This is particularly seen when Harris reminds J about the boots only when J is almost finished with packing.
J’s terror about packing his toothbrush and his search for it add to the comic elements in the story.
George and Harris’ search for butter all over the room only to find it stuck to Harris’ clothes displays their absent mindedness in a funny manner.
Routine Tasks – Packing
One of the central themes of the story is the seemingly mundane task of packing. The story shows us that the task is not as easy as the characters think it to be.
One needs to be organised and meticulous when packing.
J has to reopen the bag twice. Once because he forgets to put the boots inside, and the second time when he can’t remember if he has packed his toothbrush.
Just like J, Harris and George too face trouble packing a hamper. Their clumsiness and absent-mindedness cause them to mess up continuously.
A simple task of packing the hamper takes them more than two hours.
All these incidents indicate that lack of proper planning and organisation skills required while packing causes confusion and makes the process more time-consuming.
The story has four characters.
- J (Jerome)
- George and Harris
Bossy – At the very start of the story, J announces that he will pack, thinking he would be able to boss over his friends.
Overconfident – He is overconfident of his abilities to pack, supervise and instruct, calling it his ‘energetic nature’.
Smug – The narrator is smug when he sees the other two fumbling around and messing up while packing the hampers.
Forgetful – J’s inability to recall if he has packed his toothbrush proves he is forgetful by nature.
Sarcastic – J’s commentary on the goings-on, his retorts to George and Harris and his description of Motmorency are loaded in sarcasm.
Mischievous – J’s mischievous side is revealed when he and Harris play a prank on George, placing a bath of water beside George’s bed for him to fall in.
George and Harris
Bumbling – The pair act as perfect foils to one another, with their clumsiness and confusion. They struggle to get the work done.
Forgetful – Like the narrator, the twosome is just as forgetful while packing the hamper. This is especially seen when they look all around the room for butter that they themselves placed in a chair.
Disorganised – The duo don’t plan the packing properly, placing the pies at the bottom, squashing the tomato and fiddling around with the butter.
Mischievous – The trio’s pet dog – Montmorency – is very naughty and insists on getting in the way while everyone tries to pack.
Loving – Every time George or Harris lifts their hand to fetch something, Montmorency insists on nuzzling them with his nose.
Energetic – The energetic canine can’t contain his excitement as he watches George and Harris pottering about trying to pack. He meddles in their packing and ends up getting yelled and cursed at.
The chapter has the following literary device.
- Point of View
- Comic Irony
Point of View
The chapter is a humorous excerpt from the novel Three Men and a Boat which follows the three characters on a trip down the River Thames in London.
The story is narrated by the author, who is referred to as J throughout the novel.
It is recounted in first person, through J’s point of view. The narrator’s thoughts are presented in a humorous manner with a sarcastic undertone.
The literary device of comic irony is rife throughout the text.
We see it in the narrative form where the author uses dry humour and ironic wit to create an entertaining account of the trio packing for their trip.
The story also tells us that no matter how much we plan something, there are chances of it getting disrupted.