Three Men in a Boat

by

Jerome K. Jerome

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Three Men in a Boat can help.

George Character Analysis

George, like his boating companions J. and Harris, is another young, single Londoner. He works in the city at a bank and is the first of the titular men to propose the boat trip as the restorative answer to their ill health. Like J., he thinks he suffers from working too hard. He’s also a keen drinker of alcohol—J. says that, if George suddenly became famous, it would be easier to commemorate the places that he hasn’t stopped for a drink than those that he has. George’s concern with projecting the appearance of pleasant idleness is exemplified by the fact that he brings a banjo with him on the boat, despite never having played before and displaying little interest in learning the instrument properly. A banjo, he thinks, would contribute to the three men finding a state of leisure, but he doesn’t want to put in the hard work of playing it. At the end of the book, it’s George who suggests that the men should head back to London. Before they’d set off in the beginning, George had been worried about rain spoiling the trip—and when his worries prove true, all three men are glad to follow his suggestion and go back to their city comfort.

George Quotes in Three Men in a Boat

The Three Men in a Boat quotes below are all either spoken by George or refer to George. 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:
The Romanticization of Nature Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Three Men in a Boat published in 1999.
Chapter 1 Quotes

There were four of us—George, and William Samuel Harris, and myself, and Montmorency. We were sitting in my room, smoking, and talking about how bad we were—bad from a medical point of view I mean, of course.

Related Characters: J. (speaker), George, Harris, Montmorency
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:

The unanimous opinion was that it—whatever it was— had been brought on by overwork.

‘What we want is rest,’ said Harris.

‘Rest and a complete change,’ said George. ‘The overstrain on our brains has produced a general depression throughout the system. Change of scene, and absence of the necessity for thought, will restore the mental equilibrium.’

I agreed with George, and suggested that we should seek out some retired and old-world spot … some quaint-perched eyrie on the cliffs of Time, from whence the surging waves of the nineteenth century would sound far-off and faint.

Related Characters: J. (speaker), George (speaker), Harris (speaker)
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3  Quotes

You know we are on the wrong track altogether. We must not think of the things we could do with, but only of the things we could without.

Related Characters: George (speaker)
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5  Quotes

I don’t know why it should be, I am sure, but the sight of another man asleep in bed when I am up maddens me. It seems to me so shocking to see the precious hours of a man’s life—the priceless moments that will never come back to him again – being wasted in mere brutish sleep.

There was George, throwing away in hideous sloth the inestimable gift of time; his valuable life, every second of which he would have to account for hereafter, passing away from him, unused.

Related Characters: J. (speaker), George
Page Number: Book Page 33
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10  Quotes

George said why could not we be always like this—away from the world, with its sins and temptation, leading sober, peaceful lives, and doing good … and we discussed the possibility of our going away, we four, to some handy, well-fitted desert island, and living there in the woods. Harris said that the danger about desert islands, as far as he had heard, was that they were so damp; but George said no, not if properly drained.

Related Characters: J. (speaker), George (speaker), Harris (speaker)
Page Number: Book Page 83
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12  Quotes

We beat it out flat; we beat it out square; we battered it into every form known to geometry—but we could not make a hole in it … There was one great dent across the top that had the appearance of a mocking grin, and it drove us furious, so that Harris rushed at the thing, and caught it up, and flung it far into the middle of the river, and as it sank we hurled our curses at it.

Related Characters: J. (speaker), George, Harris
Related Symbols: Food
Page Number: Book Page 103
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19  Quotes

‘Well,’ said Harris, reaching his hand out for his glass, ‘we have had a pleasant trip, and my hearty thanks for it to old Father Thames—but I think we did well to chuck it when we did. Here’s to Three Men well out of a boat!’ And Montmorency, standing on his hind legs, before the window, peering out into the night, gave a short bark of decided concurrence with the toast.

Related Characters: J. (speaker), Harris (speaker), George, Montmorency
Related Symbols: Food
Page Number: Book Page 169
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Three Men in a Boat LitChart as a printable PDF.
Three Men in a Boat PDF

George Character Timeline in Three Men in a Boat

The timeline below shows where the character George appears in Three Men in a Boat. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
J., George, and Harris are smoking together, comparing their relative ailments. Harris and George say they are... (full context)
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
...their various maladies. Mrs. Poppet brings them a meal, which they duly eat. Harris and George suggest that what the men really need is a proper rest, a get-away of some... (full context)
The Romanticization of Nature Theme Icon
George suggests that a river trip might be a better idea. Harris says this would suit... (full context)
Chapter 2 
The Romanticization of Nature Theme Icon
...need to decide is whether to camp or to sleep at inns along the way. George and J. are for camping, thinking it would be so “wild and free, so patriarchal... (full context)
The Romanticization of Nature Theme Icon
...the inns and pubs, which are full of other animal life. After all this deliberation, George suggests they go out for a drink, and the others promptly agree. (full context)
Chapter 3 
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
Manners, Etiquette, and Appearances Theme Icon
...friends make has to be thrown away as it has far too much on it, George comes up with an observation: “we must not think of the things we could do... (full context)
The Romanticization of Nature Theme Icon
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
Manners, Etiquette, and Appearances Theme Icon
J. follows through on George’s philosophizing, imploring the reader to reject superficiality on their journey down “the river of life.”... (full context)
The Romanticization of Nature Theme Icon
...go swimming every morning on their river trip, though J. knows this is quite unlikely. George suggests they don’t need many clothes as they can wash them in the river (he’s... (full context)
Chapter 4 
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
Manners, Etiquette, and Appearances Theme Icon
J.’s packing quickly starts to frustrate him as George and Harris keep reminding him of things he’s forgotten. This goes on for so long... (full context)
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
Manners, Etiquette, and Appearances Theme Icon
George and Harris have to pack the kitchenware—and they’re just as bad as J. The other... (full context)
Chapter 5 
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
...men are annoyed with one another for letting them sleep late, before remembering it was George who said he’d wake everybody up. He’s still snoring away. J. tells the reader that... (full context)
The Romanticization of Nature Theme Icon
Once dressed, the three men sit down to breakfast. George reads the weather forecast from the newspaper and it doesn’t bode well for their trip,... (full context)
The Romanticization of Nature Theme Icon
...and sunny this morning. With breakfast finished, they take their numerous bags to the door. George heads to work. (full context)
Chapter 7 
Manners, Etiquette, and Appearances Theme Icon
...the clothes the three men have for the trip. They are dressed smartly in blazers. George has bought a new blazer jacket for the trip and had showed it to the... (full context)
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
...grave at Hampton Church. J. says there’s no time, as they have to pick up George at 5:00 p.m. Harris, irritated, says he wants to get a drink, but J. tells... (full context)
Chapter 8 
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
Manners, Etiquette, and Appearances Theme Icon
...and historic sights along the way. J. and Harris arrive at Weybridge, where they spot George and his loud blazer on the bridge. He gets in the boat, carrying a strangely... (full context)
Chapter 9 
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
J. and Harris make George pull the tow-line, and J. complains to the reader about the way tow ropes always... (full context)
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
After dinner, the three men continue to discuss the perils of towing. George tells the others of one particularly “curious instance” that he remembers. In this anecdote, George... (full context)
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
Manners, Etiquette, and Appearances Theme Icon
The three men continue talking about towing. J. and George remember seeing someone pull the wrong tow rope once, sending everyone in the boat flying.... (full context)
The Romanticization of Nature Theme Icon
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
George tows the group to Penton Hook. They decide to sleep in the boat that evening... (full context)
Chapter 10 
The Romanticization of Nature Theme Icon
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
Manners, Etiquette, and Appearances Theme Icon
They find it immensely difficult to put up the canvas because it keeps coming undone. George and Harris get stuck in it, and J. has to help them out. After a... (full context)
The Romanticization of Nature Theme Icon
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
...so they don’t have to live with the stink of their own waste. This reminds George of a story about his father. (full context)
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
In this story George’s father is travelling with a friend in Wales. They stay at an inn, and after... (full context)
Chapter 11 
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
George and J. wake up at 6:00 a.m., unusually early for them. George tells a story... (full context)
The Romanticization of Nature Theme Icon
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
George and J. wake up Harris. The men had previously agreed to jump in the river... (full context)
Chapter 13 
The Romanticization of Nature Theme Icon
Manners, Etiquette, and Appearances Theme Icon
Reaching Hambledon lock, the three men realize they are short on drinking water. George asks the lock-keeper if he can spare any. The lock-keeper replies that they take as... (full context)
Manners, Etiquette, and Appearances Theme Icon
...carve up the beefsteak pie that they are looking forward to eating. Suddenly J. and George are confused—Harris and the pie have disappeared. He’s fallen, pie in hand, into the long... (full context)
Chapter 14 
Manners, Etiquette, and Appearances Theme Icon
While George gathers wood, the other two peel the potatoes. However, they peel too much and the... (full context)
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
...a real hatred for. Of course, he comes off worse and goes off in pain. George gets his banjo out, but the men protest. Even Montmorency howls when George starts playing.... (full context)
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
George and J. decide to head into Henley for some drinks, but Harris stays behind with... (full context)
The Romanticization of Nature Theme Icon
George and J. find the boat, and Harris is in a strange state, more than just... (full context)
Manners, Etiquette, and Appearances Theme Icon
The three men eventually fall asleep. George wakes in the night, inexplicably trying to find his trousers, and then, later, his socks. (full context)
Chapter 15 
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
...now and then and dust it.” He claims to worry about working too hard, but George says his worries are misplaced. (full context)
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
...about the challenges of learning to row, which he learned at a rowing club. When George first went rowing, his friends in charge of the navigating quickly got them lost. (full context)
Manners, Etiquette, and Appearances Theme Icon
...talks about the difficulties of all the different types of rowing. Most difficult of all, George and J. agree, is punting. This involves standing up in the boat and moving along... (full context)
Chapter 16 
The Romanticization of Nature Theme Icon
Their argument is quickly cut short when George notices something black floating on the water. They draw closer and George pulls it in.... (full context)
Chapter 17 
Manners, Etiquette, and Appearances Theme Icon
J. and George go for a walk in Wallingford, stopping for a drink at an inn afterwards (Harris... (full context)
Chapter 18 
Manners, Etiquette, and Appearances Theme Icon
In this story, George and J. are at the lock by Hampton Court on a glorious summer day. J.... (full context)
Chapter 19 
Manners, Etiquette, and Appearances Theme Icon
...Harris try especially hard to put on a brave face, singing songs about “gipsy life.” George stays under the umbrella. (full context)
The Romanticization of Nature Theme Icon
Manners, Etiquette, and Appearances Theme Icon
...Harris babbled of soles and white-sauce.” Even Montmorency refuses to eat the sodden leftover pie. George gets more and more downtrodden. (full context)
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
Manners, Etiquette, and Appearances Theme Icon
The three men try and pass the time by playing cards and drinking some toddies. George tells the group about a man he knew, who, having slept one night on a... (full context)
Manners, Etiquette, and Appearances Theme Icon
The men are so desperate to lighten the mood that J. even suggests that George gets his banjo out and plays them a comic song. He starts playing Two Lovely... (full context)
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
...pity they’ve already decided to stay on their trip for the last two days, but George thinks they should get the train back to London. (full context)