Gender and Humor in P. G. Wodehouse’s Pearls, Girls and Monty Bodkin and The Cat-Nappers


Journal of literature and humanities, vol.1, no.69, pp.32-38, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier


The scholars preoccupied with humor have tried to explain what makes a situation or a work of art humorous. Consequently, various theories of humor have come into being. Of these theories, “the incongruity theory” is widely accepted in humor studies. P.G. Wodehouse, one of the lead- ing authors of Britain, is famous for his humorous novels. This study argues that in Wodehouse’s Pearls, Girls and Monty Bodkin (1972) and The Cat-Nappers, first published in England under the title Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen in 1974, humor stems from the incongruity between the personal- ity traits of the characters and gender stereotypes dominant in society, and accordingly, in the gender schemas of the readers. This article displays that while the male characters do not exhibit socially accepted masculine traits, most of the female characters have masculine traits. Using allusions, Wodehouse emphasizes the masculine traits of his female characters in these novels. The study concludes that the incongruity between the personality traits of the characters in these novels and the stereotypes in the gender schema of the readers may cause laughter.