Machinal

George H. Jones Character Analysis

A successful businessman who falls in love with Helen and asks her to marry him. George is a simple man obsessed with making money and prospering in a straightforward, capitalist fashion. Unfortunately, this mindset renders him somewhat incapable of paying attention to life’s emotional qualities, a fact that distances him from his wife. Indeed, although Helen quite obviously dislikes him, George believes himself to be happily married. Still, Helen clearly detests him, even telling her mother that his hands are like “sausages” and that they’re constantly “pressing” on her, portraying him as both undesirable and licentious. When the couple has a baby and Helen refuses to speak (because she’s so depressed and dispirited), George insists that he knows what she went through during childbirth, since he was outside the hospital room and heard everything. This ignorance infuriates Helen, though she does little more than shake her head, and George good-naturedly tells her to “brace up.” It is this inability to empathize with or even pay attention to his wife that leads to George’s death, when Helen clubs him to death with a bottle filled with rocks.

George H. Jones Quotes in Machinal

The Machinal quotes below are all either spoken by George H. Jones or refer to George H. Jones. 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:
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Nick Hern Books edition of Machinal published in 2014.
Episode 1: To Business Quotes

Marry me—wants to marry me—George H. Jones—George H. Jones and Company—Mrs. George H. Jones—Mrs. George H. Jones. Dear Madame—marry—do you take this man to be your wedded husband—I do—to love honor and to love—kisses—no—I can’t—George H. Jones—How would you like to marry me—What do you say—Why Mr. Jones I—let me look at your little hands—you have such pretty little hands—let me hold your pretty little hands—George H. Jones—Fat hands—flabby hands—don’t touch me—please—fat hands are never weary—[…]—don’t touch me—please—no—can’t—must—somebody—something—no rest—must rest—no rest—must rest—no rest—late today—yesterday—before—late—subway—air—pressing—bodies pressing—bodies—trembling—air—stop—air—late—job—no job—fired—late—alarm clock—alarm clock—alarm clock—hurry—job—ma—nag—nag—nag—ma—hurry—job—no job—no money—installments due—no money—[…]—money—no work—no worry—free!—rest—sleep till nine—sleep till ten—sleep till noon—now you take a good rest this morning—don’t get up till you want to—thank you—oh thank you—oh don’t!—please don’t touch me—I want to rest—no rest—earn—got to earn—married—earn—no—yes—earn—all girls—most girls—ma—pa—ma—all women—most women—I can’t—must—maybe—must—somebody—something—ma—pa—ma—can I, ma? Tell me, ma—something—somebody.

Related Characters: Helen Jones (speaker), George H. Jones, Helen’s Mother
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:
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Episode 2: At Home Quotes

YOUNG WOMAN. Tell me—(Words suddenly pouring out.) Your skin oughtn’t to curl—ought it—when he just comes near you—ought it? That’s wrong, ain’t it? You don’t get over that, do you—ever, do you or do you? How is it, Ma—do you?

MOTHER. Do you what?

YOUNG WOMAN. Do you get used to, it—so after a while it doesn’t matter? Or don’t you? Does it always matter? You ought to be in love, oughtn’t you, Ma? You must be in love, mustn’t you, Ma? That changes everything, doesn’t it—or does it? Maybe if you just like a person it’s all right—is it? When he puts a hand on me, my blood turns cold. But your blood oughtn’t to run cold, ought it? His hands are—his hands are fat, Ma—don’t you see—his hands are fat—and they sort of press—and they’re fat—don’t you see?—Don’t you see?

MOTHER (stares at her bewildered). See what?

YOUNG WOMAN (rushing on). I’ve always thought I’d find somebody—somebody young—and—and attractive—with wavy hair—wavy hair—I always think of children with curls—little curls all over their head—somebody young—and attractive—that I’d like—that I’d love—But I haven’t found anybody like that yet—I haven’t found anybody—I’ve hardly known anybody—you’d never let me go with anybody and—

MOTHER. Are you throwing it up to me that—

YOUNG WOMAN. No—let me finish, Ma! No—let me finish! I just mean I’ve never found anybody—anybody—nobody’s ever asked me—till now—he’s the only man that’s ever asked me—And I suppose I got to marry somebody—all girls do—

MOTHER. Nonsense.

YOUNG WOMAN. But, I can’t go on like this, Ma—I don’t know why—but I can’t—it’s like I’m all tight inside—sometimes I feel like I’m stifling!—You don’t know—stifling. (Walks up and down.) I can’t go on like this much longer—going to work—coming home—going to work—coming home—I can’t—Sometimes in the subway I think I’m going to die—sometimes even in the office if something don’t happen—I got to do something—I don’t know—it’s like I’m all tight inside.

Related Characters: Helen Jones (speaker), Helen’s Mother (speaker), George H. Jones
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:
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Episode 3: Honeymoon Quotes

HUSBAND. […] Say did I tell you the one about—

YOUNG WOMAN. Yes! Yes!

HUSBAND (with dignity). How do you know which one I meant?

YOUNG WOMAN. You told me them all!

HUSBAND (pulling her back to his knee). No, I didn’t! Not by a jugful! I got a lot of ’em up my sleeve yet—that’s part of what I owe my success to—my ability to spring a good story—You know—you got to learn to relax, little girl—haven’t you?

YOUNG WOMAN. Yes.

HUSBAND. That’s one of the biggest things to learn in life. That’s part of what I owe my success to. Now you go and get those heavy things off—and relax.

Related Characters: Helen Jones (speaker), George H. Jones (speaker)
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:
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Episode 4: Maternal Quotes

Let me alone—let me alone—let me alone—I’ve submitted to enough—I won’t submit to any more—crawl off—crawl off in the dark—Vixen crawled under the bed—way back in the corner under the bed—they were all drowned—puppies don’t go to heaven—heaven—golden stairs—long stairs—long—too long—long golden stairs—climb those golden stairs…—no matter—nothing matters—dead—stairs—long stairs—all the dead going up—going up—to be in heaven—heaven—golden stairs—all the children coming down—coming down to be born—dead going up—children coming down—[…]—St. Peter—St. Peter at the gate—you can’t come in—no matter—it doesn’t matter—I’ll rest—I’ll lie down—down—all written down—down in a big book—no matter—it doesn’t matter—I’ll lie down—[…]—a girl—aren’t you glad it’s a girl—a little girl—with no hair—none—little curls all over his head—a little bald girl—curls—curls all over his head—what kind of hair had God? No matter—it doesn’t matter—everybody loves God—they’ve got to—got to—got to love God—God is love—even if he’s bad they got to love him—even if he’s got fat hands—fat hands—no no—he wouldn’t be God—His hands make you well—He lays on his hands—well—and happy—no matter—doesn’t matter—far—too far—tired—too tired Vixen crawled off under bed—eight—there were eight—a woman crawled off under the bed—[…]—I’ll not submit any more—I’ll not submit—I’ll not submit.

Related Characters: Helen Jones (speaker), George H. Jones
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:
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Episode 7: Domestic Quotes

YOUNG WOMAN (reading). Sale of jewels and precious stones.

YOUNG WOMAN puts her hand to throat.

HUSBAND. What’s the matter?

YOUNG WOMAN. I feel as though I were drowning.

HUSBAND. Drowning?

YOUNG WOMAN. With stones around my neck.

HUSBAND. You just imagine that.

YOUNG WOMAN. Stifling.

HUSBAND. You don’t breathe deep enough—breathe now—look at me. (He breathes.) Breath is life. Life is breath.

YOUNG WOMAN (suddenly). And what is death?

HUSBAND (smartly). Just—no breath!

YOUNG WOMAN (to herself). Just no breath.

Related Characters: Helen Jones (speaker), George H. Jones (speaker)
Page Number: 56
Explanation and Analysis:
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George H. Jones Character Timeline in Machinal

The timeline below shows where the character George H. Jones appears in Machinal. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Episode 1: To Business
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
Communication Theme Icon
The Mechanical World Theme Icon
Fragmentation and Expressionism Theme Icon
...one of their colleagues, Helen, a young woman who’s late yet again. When the boss, George H. Jones, calls, he asks if Helen has arrived yet, and the telephone girl assures... (full context)
The Mechanical World Theme Icon
Mr. Jones arrives and asks after Helen again, but the telephone girl informs him that she still... (full context)
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
Communication Theme Icon
The Mechanical World Theme Icon
...Helen that Mr. Jones wants her, saying, “He’s bellowing for you!” When Helen goes into George’s office, the other workers gossip about her once more. “Do you think he’ll marry her?”... (full context)
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
Just as Helen’s coworkers start asking her about Mr. Jones ’s proposal, he enters and goes to her desk, where he puts his hand on... (full context)
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
Communication Theme Icon
The Mechanical World Theme Icon
Fragmentation and Expressionism Theme Icon
...while also allowing her mind to wander, evoking the wide range of her daily worries. “George H. Jones,” she says at one point, “—Fat hands—flabby hands—don’t touch me—please—fat hands are never... (full context)
Episode 2: At Home
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
...Helen isn’t “grateful.” Finally, Helen gets a word in edgewise and tells her mother that George wants to marry her, explaining that he fell in love with her after seeing her... (full context)
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
Communication Theme Icon
Fragmentation and Expressionism Theme Icon
...marry him?” Helen’s mother asks, but Helen declares that she has no plans to accept George’s proposal. To the bewilderment of her mother, she explains that she can’t marry Mr. Jones... (full context)
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
Communication Theme Icon
The Mechanical World Theme Icon
Fragmentation and Expressionism Theme Icon
Returning to their conversation, Helen’s mother says that George must be a “decent man” because he’s a vice-president. Helen argues that, though she wants... (full context)
Episode 3: Honeymoon
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
Communication Theme Icon
Faint jazz plays as the lights turn on for Episode Three, showing George and Helen entering a hotel room on their honeymoon. George is in high spirits, urging... (full context)
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
Communication Theme Icon
The Mechanical World Theme Icon
George takes Helen in his lap and kisses her neck while placing his hand on her... (full context)
Episode 4: Maternal
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
Communication Theme Icon
George enters with flowers and starts giving Helen a pep-talk, saying, “I know all you’ve been... (full context)
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
Communication Theme Icon
In response to George’s encouragements, Helen starts choking and pointing to the door. “She’s got that gagging again—like she... (full context)
Episode 7: Domestic
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
Communication Theme Icon
Fragmentation and Expressionism Theme Icon
When the lights turn on for Episode Seven, Helen and George sit silently in their home reading newspapers. When they see headlines that interest them, they... (full context)
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
Communication Theme Icon
The Mechanical World Theme Icon
The telephone rings, and George speaks to his business partner. Upon hanging up, he says, “They signed!—aren’t you interested? Aren’t... (full context)
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
Communication Theme Icon
The Mechanical World Theme Icon
Fragmentation and Expressionism Theme Icon
Shortly after George gets off the phone, another call comes in, and he repeats himself yet again. Meanwhile,... (full context)
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
Communication Theme Icon
Helen gets up and says she’s going to bed, but George reminds her that it’s still early. Standing there indecisively, she says, “Oh—I want to go... (full context)
Episode 8: The Law
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
Communication Theme Icon
The Mechanical World Theme Icon
...telegraph instruments click and prattle. Apparently, Helen has been held in jail since the night George died. Beginning his questioning, the Lawyer for Defense asks Helen if her marriage was a... (full context)
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
Communication Theme Icon
Continuing with his questions, the Lawyer for Defense eventually asks Helen if she killed George. She insists that she did not, telling him that on the night of June 3rd—when... (full context)
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
Communication Theme Icon
...begins by confirming that Helen did nothing when she saw the two intruders appear over George’s side of the bed. Pressing on, he points out that she “made no effort to... (full context)
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
...tells him that she used to do this before she was married, but stopped because George disliked the feel of them. She adds that she didn’t mind changing her habits because... (full context)
Fragmentation and Expressionism Theme Icon
...her hands again last spring, saying she didn’t own any gloves at the time of George’s death. At this point, the lawyer for the prosecution produces a pair of rubber gloves... (full context)
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
...the affidavit, Mr. Roe upholds that he met Helen in a speakeasy a year before George’s death and that she visited his apartment almost every day after that until he moved... (full context)