At the outset of the novel "Three Men in a Boat," what were the three men discussing?   

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chsmith1957 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the first chapter of “Three Men in a Boat (Not to Mention the Dog),” we are introduced to the narrator, his friends George and Harris, and a dog named Montmorency. The setting is in the area of London, England. The men are sitting in the narrator’s room, discussing the variety of ailments they are suffering from -- as older gentlemen very often do. The narrator takes the time to tell the readers at length about some of his maladies from the past and the present. All of the men feel listless and “seedy.” They decide that they have been working far too hard lately.

“What we want is rest,” said Harris.

“Rest and a complete change,” said George. “The overstrain upon 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.”

And so the men begin to plan a group vacation, which turns into a boat trip to follow the course of the Thames River. This chapter sets the tone and the action to come in the rest of the book.