Indian Summer of an Uncle by P.G. Wodehouse
In Indian Summer of an Uncle by P.G. Wodehouse we have the theme of class, conflict, control, responsibility and escape. Narrated in the first person by a man called Bertram (Bertie) Wooster the reader realises after reading the story that Wodehouse may be exploring the theme of class. Aunt Agatha is a little bit more than disappointed that George intends to marry a young girl who is working class and who Aunt Agatha considers to be beneath George and the family. This may be important as Wodehouse may be suggesting that social class is important to Aunt Agatha. She is thinking of her lineage rather than of George’s happiness. George is also an interesting character as his family know he has a history of making what they would call mistakes when it comes to his romantic adventures. If anything George is being controlled by Aunt Agatha as too is Bertie. Who does as Aunt Agatha tells him to do. As the matriarch of the family her word is binding. She must be obeyed even if Bertie himself would prefer to disappear with Jeeves for a few weeks rather than get involved with George’s situation. When Bertie does get involved he realises that he does not have any control over matters and as such relies on Jeeves.
Jeeves’ actions are also interesting as he appears to know more than he lets on to know. Before anybody else can figure out what to do. Jeeves is on top of things. Though Aunt Agatha does not particularly believe that the advice of a servant should be taken. Which may play on the theme of class again. In Aunt Agatha’s eyes she is better than others based solely on the fact that she is of a higher social class than those she comes across in the story. Miss Platt who remains silent throughout the story plays an interesting role. Though she remains silent others consider her to be the problem. This may be important as Wodehouse could be suggesting that woman at the time the story was written did not have a voice and at times were perceived by society to be responsible for any complication that might occur in a relationship. Miss Platt is an embarrassment to Aunt Agatha yet at the same time George believes that he loves her. If anything the problem lies with George and not Miss Platt.
It is only when George is reunited with Maudie that things begin to settle in the story. However Aunt Agatha has not been notified of the fact that Maudie is working class. Just as her niece Miss Platt is. Instead George appears to have spun a story to Aunt Agatha about Maudie’s lineage. Though it is clear to the reader he has held back the truth on the matter. Possibly knowing that Aunt Agatha as the matriarch of the family would not agree to George marrying Maudie. The fact that Aunt Agatha is prepared to buy people off may also be significant as she appears to believe that everybody, particularly those of a lower class, have their price. True Maudie had her price when she was younger but regrets her actions now. Which may leave some readers to suspect that Aunt Agatha will be unable to stop George marrying Maudie. Money will have no influence over the older and wiser Maudie and all that Aunt Agatha can do is offer her money. She has no other way of persuading Maudie not to marry George. In many ways Aunt Agatha is powerless to do anything about George and Maudie. She no longer has any control over the matter.
The end of the story is interesting as Bertie realises that another calamity is on the horizon and that he will be asked by Aunt Agatha to resolve it. Instead Bertie intends to take the course of action he originally intended to take when Aunt Agatha sought advice over George’s relationship with Miss Platt. In reality Bertie is going to avoid any responsibility and escape from the predicament he is sure to find himself in. In fact throughout the story Bertie has tried to escape what Aunt Agatha considers to be his responsibilities. Leaving it to others like Jeeves to try and figure out what should be done. If anything Bertie appears to be dependent on Jeeves in more ways than a gentleman would be on their servant. Which may be the point that Wodehouse is attempting to make. He may be suggesting that at times those who considered themselves to be upper class were heavily reliant on those of a lower class. George when it comes to affairs of the heart and Bertie on Jeeves when it comes to resolving the issue of George and Miss Platt. If anything in the story the real control lies with those of a lower class with Wodehouse highlighting how ignorant the upper classes might actually be.