Study Guide

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman Book 3, Chapter 2

By Laurence Sterne

Book 3, Chapter 2

  • Mr. Shandy takes off his wig with his right hand and with his left, pulls from his right pocket a handkerchief to rub his head.
  • Bad idea, Shandy.
  • As you might have noticed, trivial things are pretty important in Shandyland. Since Mr. Shandy's handkerchief was on the right, he should obviously have used his right hand to pull it out.
  • If he'd done so, he wouldn't have had to make an idiot of himself by contorting his body. He would have made a graceful movement, suitable to be painted by the great English painter Joseph Reynolds.
  • What's more, coat pockets were sewn very low in the coat when this incident happened, so not only did Mr. Shandy have to contort his body, he had to stoop for the handkerchief as well.