PG Wodehouse


P.G. Wodehouse Essay, Research Paper

Does an artist create a masterpiece without a source of inspiration? Does an architect construct a building without first looking at a blueprint? As with all great minds, writers also need a source of inspiration or a “Blueprint” for their literature. In the short story, “The Truth About George”, author P.G. Wodehouse uses his own life experiences as a blueprint for creating George and the other characters in the story. There are influences from Wodehouse’s childhood and his formative years in “The Truth about George”, the story about a man named George struggling to find a cure for his speech impediment in order to win the affections of a woman.

P(elham) G(renville) Wodehouse, “Plum” to his friends(Babuser 1248). Was born to a well-to-do family in Surrey, England on Ocotber 15, 1881 in Guildford, England. He was educated at Dulwich, London and started writing at a young age. By the end of his life, PG Wodehouse turned out more than ninety stories and fifty other miscellaneous pieces of works such as film scripts, etc. (Jasen 1). During his childhood P.G. Wodehouse was abandoned by his parents and lived with various relatives.

Although, as David Damrosch notes, Wodehouse “always insisted that he had a happy childhood, including a relationship with a father who was ‘normal as rice pudding’”(Damrosch 453). He moved from England to Hong Kong and to the United States. He was introduced and brought up by a variety of aunts, uncles, nannies, and schools. (Damrosch 453). He went through many things such as being captured by the Germans during WWII, where he made radio broadcasts in which he described his experiences as a prisoner and ridiculed his captors. (Bassett 1). After the war, Wodehouse moved to the United States, which he calls “the romance capital of the world” where he met his wife, Ethel Rowley (Babuser 1248). and settled, becoming a citizen in 1955. (Jasen 2). He lived out the rest of his life in Southampton, New York, where he wrote farces, short stories, and many other works of literature until his death on February 14, 1975. Wodehouse would later use his vast experiences to write his enormous collection of prose,etc. Wodehouse wrote many works of literature based on his life. He based his characters and stories around his own imagination.

Evelyn Waugh writes that Wodehouse’s characters are “creations of pure fancy” and that “it is all Mr.Wodehouse’s inspiration”. (Damrosch 453). In the internet article By David Jasen it states that Wodehouse’s story plots were “complicated and carefully planned”. (Jasen 3). He wrote many famous stories such as “The Man With Two Left Feet” , “Much Obliged Jeeves” , and many other stories. His claim to fame is his many stories about the “perfect English gentleman” Jeeves, which became a very popular series. Also, just by writing so many pieces of work, Wodehouse was popularized. He reached sales of fifty million volumes in thirty different languages (Damrosch 453).

In the humorous short story, “The Truth About George” the reader is introduced to a man named George who has a speech impediment. The reader is first introduced to George’s problem when the narrator states “it must be very embarrassing for a man with such a painful speech impediment to open conversation with strangers” (Wodehouse 1250). The plot of the whole story revolves around how George travels around looking for a cure to impede his stuttering problem so he can win the affections of the girl he is in love with, Susan Blake. According to the story, Susan means the world to George. She is precious, beloved, much-loved, highly esteemed, and valued. (Wodehouse 1251). But every time George tried to vocalize his affections to Susan he stuttered. So George went to a specialist who told him to try all kinds of different cures. He even tried to make George sing as he talked in order to cure his ailness. George worked and worked with the specialist until he discovered that his problem was not physical in nature, it was mental. George was just nervous, and he stuttered when he was nervous. So the specialist proposed a cure that went, George would have to talk to three strangers a day until he lost his nervousness and thus, lost his stuttering. George did this for awhile and it worked. So he went up to Susan and said “Susan, I love you, will you be my wife?” (Wodehouse 1260). Susan said “yes” and that was the end of the story.

In relating the experiences of the man named George in the short story “The Truth About George” to the experiences of the author, P.G. Wodehouse, the reader can see many similarities. George went through a rough problem with his speech impediment but worked through it and got Susan, the girl of his dreams. P.G. Wodehouse went through a rough childhood of being passed around from relative to relative and moving from place to place but he eventually got married and settled down to live a normal, happy life. P.G. Wodehouse used his experiences from life to write “The Truth About George”. Wodehouse wrote the story well because he could relate to his character’s problem and how he solved it, just as P.G. Wodehouse solved his problems in his own life.

In the short story, “The Truth About George”, author P.G. Wodehouse shows influences from his childhood and his formative years in writing the tale of George, a man struggling to find a cure for his speech impediment in order to win the affections of the woman he loves. There are many similarities in terms of problems they went through and how they solved their problems to go on to live happy lives. That is the common bond between P.G. Wodehouse and his character, George, in his short story “The Truth about George”.

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