Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: A Pelican at Blandings


And he was so young. . . .  She had no objection to some men being young -- waiters, for instance, or policemen or representatives of the country in Olympic Games -- but in a man whose walk in life was to delve into people's subconscious and make notes of what came up one expected something more elderly.
A Pelican at Blandings by P. G. Wodehouse.

I am always trying to figure out why Wodehouse is so funny.  It's the way he turns a phrase and the words he uses, but what about those things makes them funny?

Here, I think it is using "representatives of the country in Olympic Games" instead of "Olympic athletes" and "something" instead of "someone" more elderly.  Both relate the statement more closely to Constance, Lord Elmsworth's battle ax of a sister, by reflecting her personal point of view -- she likely doesn't care about athletes or athletics, but does care about who represents England in public events, and since it is the appearance of the psychiatrist she worries about, she considers him an object rather than a person.

So Wodehouse's word choices bring the reader right into Constance's brain in a way that makes the sentence funny.

Or I'm overthinking it.


Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.



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