13/02/2014 by Siddiqui Fayesal
Well, I’ll assume that y’all read the previous ones while I dilly dallied with those ellipses there.
Ok. That’ll help me dive right in. The entire logic of writing this series was that I was certain that there are good friendships around (fictional, big deal. Does it even matter?) Without getting into the whole mess that mentioning homosexuality creates. I chose friendship between Men because of the simple reason that I am one myself. In today’s age when two men look into the eye of one another and share an intimate moment we easily label it as love. But I’m not speaking of Love in the sense of sexuality, which is normally perceived as the only kind that exists. Love exists between two men, only a little different from love existing between a man and a woman.
I wrote about Frodo and Samwise Gamgee in part 1 and choose a more classic friendship for part 2.
Bertram ‘Bertie’ Wooster and Reginald Jeeves.
Fun fact: His first name wasn’t revealed for 56 YEARS. Everyone knew him as a Wooster’s “Gentleman’s personal Gentleman” and that was it. Mind you, Jeeves isn’t just a butler. God forbid if you think he’s a servant! He is just what he wants to be. A Gentleman’s personal Gentleman!
Wooster and Jeeves are an immortal couple. They make the best of the situation that is thrown at them. Actually, thrown at Wooster and managed by Jeeves would be a more honest interpretation. Although, Wodehouse makes it clear in no uncertain terms that Jeeves is not a butler although “If the call comes, he can buttle with the best of them”.
This is what Wikipedia tells me about this man:
The premise of the Jeeves stories is that the brilliant valet is firmly in control of his rich and foppish young employer’s life. When Bertie gets into an unwanted social obligation, legal trouble or engagement to marry, Jeeves invariably comes up with a subtle plan to save him.
Jeeves is known for his convoluted yet precise speech and for quoting from Shakespeare and famous romantic poets. In his free time, he likes to relax with “improving” books such as the complete works of Spinoza, or to read “Dostoyevsky and the great Russians”. He “glides” or “shimmers” in and out of rooms and may appear or disappear suddenly and without warning. His potable concoctions, both of the alcoholic and the morning-after variety, are legendary.
The relationship between Wooster and Jeeves is described in literary circles as a Double Act. The relationship is uneven and the character’s psyches are unmatched. That’s what the author uses as his USP. Where Bertram Wooster is a little slow and naive, Jeeves is like an army general who takes control of his master’s life. Of course, this doesn’t meant that Jeeves plays his part with meekness.
Didn’t I tell you that he just isn’t a servant? He will point out Wooster’s flaws with the language fit for Bertie himself. his comical barbs gt through to Bertie likenobody elses. When Bertie gets himself an alpine hat which, in Jeeves’ opinion is absolutely horrendous, he makes sure that Bertie lets it go. By his brilliant and concise mannerism and thought provoking convincing skills Jeeves accomplishes his task. Bertie agrees to never wear the hat in return for Jeeves’ help in getting him out of prison, preventing a disastrous marriage and managing to maintain his master’s dignity at Totleigh Towers!
The stories are many and the comic timings that the two provide keeps the reader (and the viewers, I suppose. I haven’t seen the series, yet.) in a formidable fit of laughter.
This was the good part.
Now comes the better part. The slope in the relationship, remember? It is evident here too. Just like it was glaringly obvious in the Frodo-Sam relation. It is here for everyone’s perusal that Jeeves, no matter how respected and loved he is by his master, is technically nothing more than a valet. He helps and organizes the house, he looks after the gentleman, he makes sure everything’s in the right place as per his master’s likes and dislikes. Their master-valet relation is strong. Very strong. But their friendship is stronger and deeper than anything else. The theory begs the question, again, whether the reason of this is the presence of a slope or is it the other way around.
There are many touching moments in this series. The reader, usually, doesn’t anticipate such emotions in the comedy (I didn’t) but one should ask the question, “Why not?”. Jeeves and Wooster are the near perfect example of how people in two different social backgrounds and lives are so tied by circumstances and, in a very very loose interpretation of the word, need for one another, that that it becomes an impossibility (almost) to get outside the relationship. It doesn’t matter that the relation was initially based upon a mere parasitic need.
One such example is this:
Jeeves was a member of the Junior Ganymede Club where butlers and valets record the deeds of their employers in an attempt to warn other prospective butlers when, and if, they happen to be employed by the subjects. Wodehouse informs us time and again that the number of pages in the section labelled Wooster, Bertram is the longest. We, the reader, are informed that the pages are increasing until suddenly Jeeves informs Wooster that he has destroyed the entire section.
It basically means that he planned, unless an unforeseen unfortunate roll of the dice or an event occurs, never to leave the employment of Bertie.
This is, in a loose interpretation no doubt, nothing less than a friendship smacking of mutual love and respect. It is a form of friendship rarely seen. Rarely seen not because there are few, but because such relations are understated and soft. They’re like country music and not electronic music (I could’ve used hard metal, but I like metal :-p). These kinds are not like a flapping flag in the wind, they’re like arm bands worn under the sleeves. They’re there to reassure us that all is well. Indeed.
Big deal if it’s not apparent.