A Taste of Honey

Geoffrey Ingram Character Analysis

Jo’s friend and roommate, Geoffrey is seen by others primarily through the lens of his homosexuality and what others consider to be his effeminate demeanor. Apart from his “pansified” appearance, which sets him apart from the norms of masculinity, Geoffrey proves a devoted friend who cares for Jo’s emotional and material well-being. His devotion to her often leads him to endure her aggressive attacks and bouts of bad temper. However, despite his affectionate attitude, his behavior toward Jo is ambiguous at times: he sometimes demonstrates affection toward her in a purely non-sexual way, and sometimes seems to want a romantic relationship with her, behaving in a rude, forceful manner to make her accept his advances. In the end, his gentleness and meekness keeps him from standing up to Helen’s domineering attitude, and ultimately forces him to leave Jo, whom he had wanted to accompany through her pregnancy and childbirth. Although it’s unclear what the play’s title refers to exactly, it’s possible that it refers to the sweet but fleeting taste of genuine, selfless love that Jo receives from Geof.

Geoffrey Ingram Quotes in A Taste of Honey

The A Taste of Honey quotes below are all either spoken by Geoffrey Ingram or refer to Geoffrey Ingram. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Care and Responsibility Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Grove Press edition of A Taste of Honey published in 1956.
Act 2: Scene 1 Quotes

JO: Look, I’ve got a nice comfortable couch, I’ve even got some sheets. You can stay here if you’ll tell me what you do. Go on, I’ve always wanted to know about people like you.

GEOF: Go to hell.

JO: I won’t snigger, honest I won’t. Tell me some of it, go on. I bet you never told a woman before.

GEOF: I don’t go in for sensational confessions.

JO: I want to know what you do. I want to know why you do it. Tell me or get out.

GEOF: Right! [He goes to the door.]

JO: Geof, don’t go. Don’t go, Geof! I’m sorry. Please stay.

Related Characters: Jo (speaker), Geoffrey Ingram (speaker)
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:
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GEOF: Has anybody ever tried?

JO: What?

GEOF: Taking you in hand.

JO: Yes.

GEOF: What happened to him?

JO: He came in with Christmas and went out with the New Year.

GEOF: Did you like him?

JO: He was all right . . .

GEOF: Did you love him?

JO: I don’t know much about love. I’ve never been too familiar with it. I suppose I must have loved him. They say love creates. And I’m certainly creating at the moment. I’m going to have a baby.

Related Characters: Jo (speaker), Geoffrey Ingram (speaker), Jimmie (“The Boy”)
Related Symbols: Engagement Rings
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

JO: This place stinks. [Goes over to the door. Children are heard singing in the street.] That river, it’s the colour of lead. Look at that washing, it’s dirty, and look at those filthy children.

GEOF: It’s not their fault.

JO: It’s their parents’ fault. There’s a little boy over there and his hair, honestly, it’s walking away. And his ears. Oh! He’s a real mess! He never goes to school. He just sits on that front doorstep all day. I think he’s a bit deficient.

[The children’s voices die away. A tugboat hoots.]

His mother ought not to be allowed.

GEOF: Who?

JO: His mother. Think of all the harm she does having children.

Related Characters: Jo (speaker), Geoffrey Ingram (speaker), Helen
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

HELEN: Well, come on, let’s have a look at you. [JO turns away.] What’s up? We’re all made the same, aren’t we?

JO: Yes we are.

HELEN: Well then. Can you cut the bread on it yet? [JO turns.] Yes, you’re carrying it a bit high, aren’t you? Are you going to the clinic regularly? Is she working?

Related Characters: Jo (speaker), Helen (speaker), Geoffrey Ingram
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

JO: It’s taken you a long time to come round to this, hasn’t it?

HELEN: What?

JO: The famous mother-love act.

HELEN: I haven’t been able to sleep for thinking about you since he came round to our house.

JO: And your sleep mustn’t be disturbed at any cost.

Related Characters: Jo (speaker), Helen (speaker), Geoffrey Ingram
Page Number: 64
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Act 2: Scene 2 Quotes

JO: You’ve got nice hands, hard. You know I used to try and hold my mother’s hands, but she always used to pull them away from me. So silly really. She had so much love for everyone else, but none for me.

GEOF: If you don’t watch it, you’ll turn out exactly like her.

JO: I’m not like her at all.

GEOF: In some ways you are already, you know.

Related Characters: Jo (speaker), Geoffrey Ingram (speaker)
Page Number: 71-72
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

GEOF: That doesn’t mean to say it’s the truth. Do people ever tell the truth about themselves?

JO: Why should she want to spin me a yarn like that?

GEOF: She likes to make an effect.

JO: Like me?

GEOF: You said it. You only have to let your hair grow for a week for Helen to think you’re a cretin.

Related Characters: Jo (speaker), Geoffrey Ingram (speaker), Helen
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

HELEN: What an arty little freak! I wasn’t rude to him. I never said a word. I never opened my mouth.

JO: Look, he’s the only friend I’ve got, as a matter of fact.

HELEN: Jo! I thought you could find yourself something more like a man.

JO: Why were you so nasty to him?

HELEN: I wasn’t nasty to him. Besides, I couldn’t talk to you in front of him, could I? Hey, wait till you see these things for the baby.

JO: You hurt people’s feelings and you don’t even notice.

Related Characters: Jo (speaker), Helen (speaker), Geoffrey Ingram
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

JO: So we’re back where we started. And all those months you stayed away from me because of him! Just like when I was small.

HELEN: I never thought about you! It’s a funny thing, I never have done when I’ve been happy. But these last few weeks I’ve known I should be with you.

JO: So you stayed away.

HELEN: Yes. I can’t stand trouble.

JO: Oh, there’s no trouble. I’ve been performing a perfectly normal, healthy function. We’re wonderful! Do you know, for the first time in my life I feel really important. I feel as though I could take care of the whole world. I even feel as though I could take care of you, too!

Related Characters: Jo (speaker), Helen (speaker), Peter Smith, Geoffrey Ingram
Related Symbols: Engagement Rings
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Geoffrey Ingram Character Timeline in A Taste of Honey

The timeline below shows where the character Geoffrey Ingram appears in A Taste of Honey. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 2: Scene 1
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Gender, Class, and Race Theme Icon
...is now summer and Jo, who is visibly pregnant, enters the apartment with her friend Geoffrey. The two of them are playing with colorful balloons and talking about the fair they... (full context)
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Jo asks Geof to go get her some biscuits in the kitchen but to keep the light turned... (full context)
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Judging by how eager Geof was to accompany her home, Jo becomes convinced that Geof’s landlady has indeed kicked him... (full context)
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Geof begins to look through Jo’s book of drawings and criticizes them, saying that they are... (full context)
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Geof asks Jo if she loved Jimmie and Jo says that she is not sure what... (full context)
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...not want to work much longer because she doesn’t like people staring at her. Noticing Geof’s concern, she tells Geof that he shouldn’t worry about her, but Geof says he likes... (full context)
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Jo does not want to hear Geof’s ideas because she says planning for the baby before it is born brings bad luck.... (full context)
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Inspired by one of Geof’s exclamations, Jo recites a few rhyming poetic lines in a playful tone, calling her creation... (full context)
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After joking about buying a car with free coupons that Geof collects, the two decide to go to bed. Jo says that Geof will probably not... (full context)
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...dark, Jo then begins to sing a nursery rhyme about a black boy and, when Geof asks about her boyfriend, she says he was black. She describes him as an African... (full context)
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A few months pass, and Jo and Geof are still living together. While the sound of children’s singing can be heard from outside... (full context)
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 Suddenly, Jo tells Geof the baby has just kicked in her belly. Speaking to her baby, she announces that... (full context)
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Jo asks Geof why he was talking to the landlady yesterday. Geof tells her he gave her the... (full context)
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Geof tells Jo to keep quiet and to read a book about caring for babies that... (full context)
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Jo listens to the children singing outside and asks Geof why he is still here, to which Geof replies that someone needs to take care... (full context)
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Geof then grabs hold of Jo’s arm, saying he has never kissed a girl. Despite Jo’s... (full context)
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After forcing Geof to accept a piece of chocolate, Jo tells him that he should probably leave, saying... (full context)
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Helen suddenly enters the apartment, loudly asking for Jo and calling Geof Romeo, while Geof, in a meek, submissive tone, begs Helen not to tell Jo that... (full context)
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Geof complains to Helen that Jo never leaves the apartment, which is the main reason he... (full context)
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Helen makes ironic comments about Jo’s boyfriend’s absence and Geof, in turn, attacks Helen for being gone for a long time as well, but both... (full context)
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Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
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...mother in that sense. When Helen tries to grab Jo to give her a beating, Geof tries to intervene, but the two women keep threatening and provoking each other. Helen mentions... (full context)
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Geof tells the women to stop yelling, to which Helen replies that they enjoy it. Helen... (full context)
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After Geof leaves, Helen laments Jo’s thinness and, in a pacifying voice, tells her that she didn’t... (full context)
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...of Jo’s pregnancy and sings a song about being a big girl. When he sees Geof and assumes he is the father of Jo’s baby, he is appalled at the idea.... (full context)
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Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
...to kick him but Peter threatens her to attack her as well and then calls Geof “Mary” and begins to tell a dirty story. While Helen and Jo both try to... (full context)
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...for the bathroom, still singing and crashing into objects on his way out. Jo tells Geof to go with Peter for his own safety. After Geof leaves, Helen offers Jo a... (full context)
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Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
...how long he has been like this, but Helen changes the subject and asks what Geof works in. Jo says he is an art student and Helen asks if he lives... (full context)
Care and Responsibility Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
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...Helen to attack her, mocking her for choosing to stay with the “pansified little freak.” Geof, who has returned, asks if he should leave and Helen pretends she hadn’t noticed his... (full context)
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...Peter says he can kick her out anytime. He adds that he does not want Geof—whom he calls a “fruitcake parcel”—either, saying he cannot stand people like him. (full context)
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...says that she does not want Jo to stay in such a repulsive neighborhood but Geof intervenes, arguing that the people are nice, at least, and that Jo is happier with... (full context)
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After Peter and Helen leave, Geof is at least relieved that Helen has left Jo money but Jo explains that Peter... (full context)
Act 2: Scene 2
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Months later, Geof and Jo are in the apartment. While Geof is cleaning the floor with a mop,... (full context)
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Jo ironically tells Geof he hasn’t admired her house-coat, which she has made herself, but Geof says it looks... (full context)
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When Geof moves the sofa to clean, he discovers a hidden pile of garbage, which he finds... (full context)
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Geof says he never thinks about death, merely accepting that people come and go, but Jo... (full context)
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As Geof tries to calm Jo down she admires his hands, saying that she used to try... (full context)
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Angry and vengeful, Jo then tells Geof that he can stay with her in the apartment only if he tells her more... (full context)
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Jo complains about Geof always wearing black shirts and then begins to yell at him for finding her a... (full context)
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The two joke about the Irish and Jo tells Geof that her father was both an Irishman and an idiot. She summarizes the story that... (full context)
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 Geof laughs at Jo for worrying about her father for so many months, even though this... (full context)
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Jo asks Geof to put his arms around her. Geof then tells her he has a surprise for... (full context)
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Geof argues that, in that case, Jo should probably consider giving her baby up for adoption.... (full context)
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Geof then encourages Jo to forget about that dream and to focus on her present responsibilities.... (full context)
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Realizing that he will never take the place of a romantic partner, Geof assumes that Jo is simply staying with him until she finds a new boyfriend, but... (full context)
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...marriage, since they have already been married for a thousand years. Talking about the baby, Geof asks her what she is going to call it, and Jo says she might give... (full context)
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Geof joins the conversation and Helen is shocked to note that he is still there, although... (full context)
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Rebellion and Independence Theme Icon
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...reveals that she has come to take care of her daughter. Slyly trying to force Geof to leave, she mentions that the apartment might become too crowded for the three of... (full context)
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Helen then directly asks Geof to leave, saying she wants to talk to her daughter, and Geof submissively says he... (full context)
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Helen feigns surprise at Geof’s departure and Jo attacks her for being rude. Helen defends herself, claiming she did nothing... (full context)
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Jo asks Helen to stop being mean to Geof and inquires whether Peter has kicked her out. Instead of answering, Helen tries to change... (full context)
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...has ordered a baby cot for her. When Jo shows her the wicker basket that Geof has already gotten for that purpose, Helen criticizes it, as well as the general state... (full context)
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Helen then asks Geof to throw out the wicker basket, saying she refuses to put her grandchild in it.... (full context)
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Geof says he is leaving but notes that Jo had said she wanted him with her... (full context)
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...hear about it, arguing that her daughter’s dreams lead to morbid conversations. Jo asks if Geof has returned and Helen says he hasn’t. (full context)
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...going to sleep but Helen tells her not to worry. As she is wondering where Geof might be, she suddenly feels a contraction. Helen tries to help her feel better and... (full context)
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...leaves the apartment, Jo looks around the room and remembers the playful nursery rhyme that Geof once recited to her. Smiling, she recites it again, concluding her speech with the two... (full context)