A Taste of Honey

Jimmie (“The Boy”) Character Analysis

Jo’s boyfriend, a black sailor who is about to leave for a six-month trip with the Navy, is an affectionate but unreliable character. While he declares his love to Jo, asks her to marry him, and promises her to return, he fails to deliver on his promises, thus leaving Jo to cope with the consequences of their relationship (e.g., her pregnancy) on her own. Despite his generally self-confident attitude, he expects Jo to feel shame at being seen in the street with him because of his skin color, and is surprised to realize that Jo is truly indifferent to the interracial nature of their relationship.

Jimmie (“The Boy”) Quotes in A Taste of Honey

The A Taste of Honey quotes below are all either spoken by Jimmie (“The Boy”) or refer to Jimmie (“The Boy”). 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 1: Scene 2 Quotes

HELEN: You stupid little devil! What sort of a wife do you think you’d make? You’re useless. It takes you all your time to look after yourself. I suppose you think you’re in love. Anybody can fall in love, do you know that? But what do you know about the rest of it?

JO: Ask yourself.

HELEN: You know where that ring should be? In the ashcan with everything else. Oh! I could kill her, I could really.

JO: You don’t half knock me about. I hope you suffer for it.

HELEN: I’ve done my share of suffering if I never do any more. Oh Jo, you're only a kid. Why don’t you learn from my mistakes? It takes half your life to learn from your own.

Related Characters: Jo (speaker), Helen (speaker), Peter Smith, Jimmie (“The Boy”)
Related Symbols: Engagement Rings
Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 2: Scene 1 Quotes

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:
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Jimmie (“The Boy”) Character Timeline in A Taste of Honey

The timeline below shows where the character Jimmie (“The Boy”) appears in A Taste of Honey. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1: Scene 2
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Jo and her boyfriend Jimmie, a young black sailor, are walking in the street and stop in front of the... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Gender, Class, and Race Theme Icon
When Jimmie kisses Jo, she complains about it, saying that she likes it but doesn’t want to... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Jimmie asks how old Jo is and she says she is almost eighteen. Still shocked at... (full context)
Care and Responsibility Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Gender, Class, and Race Theme Icon
Rebellion and Independence Theme Icon
Jimmie asks Jo what her mother will say and Jo says that she will probably laugh.... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
...discuss when they should get married and decide to do it in six months, during Jimmie’s next leave. Jo tries to put the ring on her finger but realizes it is... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Rebellion and Independence Theme Icon
Jo uses her hair ribbon as a necklace for her ring. Jimmie says she has a pretty neck and Jo tries to hide the ring away, so... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Gender, Class, and Race Theme Icon
Jimmie says that he would like not to be in the Navy so that he could... (full context)
Gender, Class, and Race Theme Icon
Jo tells Jimmie he sometimes looks that old and asks him if his ancestors came from Africa, but... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Jo asks Jimmie if she will see him tonight, but he says he is going out drinking with... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
...a male nurse. Helen tells her to be careful with sailors’ ardor and asks if Jimmie still has contacts in hospitals to give them free samples. Jo tells her mother to... (full context)
Care and Responsibility Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Gender, Class, and Race Theme Icon
Adversity and Resilience Theme Icon
...if she is crying but she hides her emotions, saying she has a cold, and Jimmie believes she might indeed have a temperature. When he asks her if she has been... (full context)
Care and Responsibility Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Rebellion and Independence Theme Icon
Jimmie asks her about the couple he just saw exiting the building and Jo tells him... (full context)
Care and Responsibility Theme Icon
Gender, Class, and Race Theme Icon
When Jimmie notices how cold it is in the apartment, Jo explains that the heating doesn’t work... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Gender, Class, and Race Theme Icon
Jimmie then tenderly puts on Jo’s necklace. When Jo asks him about the ring, Jimmie admits... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
...says she merely wants to make the most of the limited time they have together, Jimmie jokes about her believing that he is “only after one thing,” but he ultimately playfully... (full context)
Care and Responsibility Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
...snatches the ring off. Jo then reveals that she is going to get married to Jimmie, which leads Helen to explode in a rage, telling Jo she is stupid and would... (full context)
Act 2: Scene 1
Care and Responsibility Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Rebellion and Independence Theme Icon
Geof asks Jo if she loved Jimmie and Jo says that she is not sure what love is, but that love creates... (full context)
Act 2: Scene 2
Care and Responsibility Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
...at Christmas, since Helen usually leaves her to spend time with her boyfriends, and that Jimmie was able to keep her company and give her affection. (full context)