The Golden Notebook

The Golden Notebook

by

Doris Lessing

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George Hounslow Character Analysis

In the black notebook, George Hounslow is an intense, humble, and romantic road repairman who has an affair with (among others) the Mashopi Hotel cook Jackson’s wife, Marie, while he is away from his wife and family for work. This relationship plays a central role in Anna’s plot for Frontiers of War; George agonizes over Marie’s fate and especially that of the son he has with her, whom he cannot acknowledge to the world because of colonial Africa’s strict racial segregation. He lives miserably in cramped quarters with his wife, children, parents, and wife’s parents, but loves and works tirelessly to provide for them all. He is also strongly dedicated to socialist organizing, which leads him to idolize and spend as much time as possible talking to Willi Rodde, the only other person at the Mashopi Hotel who truly believes in socialism. Unlike the rest of the socialists, George insists on living out his principles, which leads Willi and Paul Blackenhurst to mock and look down on him. His emotional depth and impassioned pursuit of women make both Anna and Maryrose (who are much younger) feel that he is their only legitimate chance at romance and regret turning him down. After Mrs Boothby fires Jackson, sending him, Marie, and their children (including George’s son) back to Nyasaland, George is devastated; he eventually manages to contact them and send them money. As one of the only working-class, honest, and emotionally self-aware men in The Golden Notebook, George is both an anomaly and perhaps an exemplar of the “real man” Anna seeks.

George Hounslow Quotes in The Golden Notebook

The The Golden Notebook quotes below are all either spoken by George Hounslow or refer to George Hounslow. 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:
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon and Schuster edition of The Golden Notebook published in 1962.
The Notebooks: 1 Quotes

George said: “No, it’s the responsibility. It’s the gap between what I believe in and what I do.”

Related Characters: George Hounslow (speaker), Anna Wulf, Willi Rodde , Marie
Page Number: 124
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Golden Notebook LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Golden Notebook PDF

George Hounslow Character Timeline in The Golden Notebook

The timeline below shows where the character George Hounslow appears in The Golden Notebook. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Notebooks: 1
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
Fact, Fiction, and Authorship Theme Icon
Then the roadsman George Hounslow arrives in his caravan—he kisses Maryrose and Anna, leading them to exchange pained smiles they... (full context)
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
That night, Willi explains his views on the area’s leftist groups to George Hounslow , but Paul Blackenhurst and Ted take over, proposing in jest that they start a... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
Stanley and Johnnie go off to bed, and George Hounslow asks what they are doing there—Paul Blackenhurst decides that the Boothbys’ cook will be “the... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Fact, Fiction, and Authorship Theme Icon
George Hounslow walks in and comes after Maryrose—he always approaches women with humble words but intent eyes;... (full context)
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
Sitting and drinking beer on the verandah, George Hounslow explains  his intolerable family life: he lives in a tiny house with his wife, all... (full context)
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
Willi says George Hounslow has no obligation to his illegitimate son, and Anna has conflicted feelings: she is jealous... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
Anna goes inside, past George Hounslow , and meets Maryrose, who has clearly been crying after realizing that the group has... (full context)
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Fact, Fiction, and Authorship Theme Icon
They dance until about five that night—Paul Blackenhurst with Anna, Willi with Maryrose (on whom George Hounslow was also fixated), and Jimmy, somehow cut and bleeding again, by himself. This becomes “the... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
...aware of his intentions, tries to convince him that Mr Lattimer is a threat. And George Hounslow ’s son becomes common knowledge—the others joke about them realizing their relation through “some mystical... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Paul Blackenhurst meets Jackson after his shift ends, while George Hounslow looks at “the father of my child” and complains that he cannot help support the... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Gender, Labor, and Power Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...inside and make the coffee Mrs Lattimer wanted. Mrs Boothby threatens to fire Jackson, and George Hounslow despairs at what this would mean for Jackson’s family, which would probably have to return... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
...mentions that Jimmy has not returned and goes looking for him along with Anna and George Hounslow . They stumble upon Jackson in the kitchen, “angry and troubled” for the first time,... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
George Hounslow stumbles away, and Anna and Paul Blackenhurst take Jimmy to bed before Paul tries bringing... (full context)
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Communism and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Action, Freedom, and Moral Courage Theme Icon
The next day, George Hounslow is solemn, and Jackson has already disappeared with his family, leaving his chickens behind. Mrs... (full context)
The Golden Notebook
Fragmentation, Breakdown, and Unity Theme Icon
Fact, Fiction, and Authorship Theme Icon
...longer to stave off nightmares, but rather to make sure the past is still there: George Hounslow waiting for them near the Mashopi Hotel, covered by a swarm of white butterflies, which... (full context)