Monday, October 27, 2008

The master of satire...

my all time favorite writer has been P.G. Wodehouse who is one of the most prolific writers of all times... as a person i admire people who have an acute sense of humor. Wodehouse an incredibly intelligent and creative guy, who in my opinion, intended to make his audience 'us', see life on the lighter side using wit blended with comedy. In his stories Wodehouse created plots that were trivial, characters that were really idiosyncratic and comical, and a wealth of vocabulary.

Usually, if situations similar to those arising in his stories had happened in our real lives, they would have given rise to a deluge of emotional conflicts and ended in terribly unhappy people around us. But Wodehouse transcends our imagination with his keen ability in making a mockery of the stoic so very 'Ennglish' characters and the shiftless plot, that one would irrefutably burst into a fit of laughter...

Let's look at one of the most famous alliances in the Jeeves and Wooster series. To introduce the characters and give you a little background first-Madeline Bassett is the kind of girl who thinks that "the stars are God's daisy chain", or that "every time a fairy blows its wee nose a baby is born". LOL... Madeline imagines that ol' Bertie Wooster is madly in love with her and is always finding ways to win her heart. She sympathizes with this feeling of Bertie, but unfortunately she and the 'fish-faced' 'newt fancier' are in love and betrothed! So she promises Bertie, much to his dismay, that if she ever were to break off her engagement with Gussie, she would certainly consider marrying Bertie. This proposition traumatizes Bertie tremendously as in reality, as the thought of marrying Madeline has him feel like bracing for cover. Given Gussie's talents and dim-witted intelligence he inadvertently creates situations that cause our dainty dear Madeline to break their engagement. Wooster is the first to either predict or get informed about such a situation; sometimes Gussie himself rushes to Wooster for rescue. Wooster relies on the intelligence on Jeeves in such situations, or if he can't access to Jeeves for some reason, he applies his Wooster-brain and Wooster-tactics, to ensure that Gussie and Madeline get back together as soon as possible, before Madeline can even start contemplating on marrying Wooster!!

The other extremely funny plots are that of Bertie and his two infamous aunts. Aunt Agatha, who Bertie describes as the one who chews broken bottles and kills rats with her teeth! Aunt Dahlia, fortunately for Bertie, is a sweet old aunt who is fond of her nephew.

An amalgamation of such trivial plots, and an acute sense of wit, give rise to the most wondrous and hilarious comedies of all times, and has the reader ROTFL. Read / reread as many times and you still connect each time you read them... PG Wodehouse is truly a master of satire...

Here are a few rather typical and hilarious dialogues i could capture....

[From the world of Jeeves]

"Bertie," he said, "I want your advice."

"Carry on."

"At least, not your advice, because that wouldn't be much good to anybody. I mean, you're a pretty consummate old ass, aren't you? Not that I want to hurt your feelings, of course."

"No, no, I see that."

"What I wish you to do is put the whole thing to that fellow Jeeves of yours, and see what he suggests. [...]"

[From Scoring Off Jeeves]

My late Uncle Henry, you see, was by way of being the blot on the Wooster escutcheon. An extremely decent chappie personally [...]; but there's no doubt he did at times do rather rummy things, notably keeping eleven pet rabbits in his bedroom; and I suppose a purist might have considered him more or less off his onion. In fact, to be perfectly frank, he wound up his career, happy to the last and completely surrounded by rabbits, in some sort of home.


[From The Artistic Career of Corky]

"Not those socks, Jeeves," I said, gulping a bit but having a dash at the careless, off-hand sort of tone. "Give me the purple ones."

"I beg your pardon, sir?" said Jeeves, coldly.

"Those jolly purple ones."

"Very good, sir."

He lugged them out of the drawer as if he were a vegetarian fishing a caterpillar out of his salad. You could see he was feeling deeply. Deuced painful and all that, this sort of thing, but a fellow has got to assert himself every now and then.


[From Jeeves and the Chump Cyril]

"What ho!" I said.

"What ho!" said Motty.

"What ho! What ho!"

"What ho! What ho! What ho!"

After that it seemed rather difficult to go on with the conversation.


[From The Rummy Affair of Old Biffy]

"Nevertheless, Jeeves, it is a scientific fact that there is a particular style of female that does seem strangely attracted to the sort of fellow I am."

"Very true, sir."

"I mean to say, I know perfectly well that I've got, roughly speaking, half the amount of brain a normal bloke ought to possess. And when a girl comes along who has about twice the regular allowance, she too often makes a bee line for me with the love light in her eyes. I don't know how to account for it, but it is so."

"It may be Nature's provision for maintaining the balance of the species, sir."

I hope you're laughing now!!

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