Provide full character sketches of all the characters in Three Men in a Boat.

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chsmith1957 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

J. is the narrator. If he has a “real” job, he doesn’t tell us what it is. He’s an avid storyteller who likes to add humor and exaggeration to every tale. He gets distracted by stories he’s reminded of, at every turn. He admits that he’s lazy. In Chapter XV, he famously says: “I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.” And yet, he seems to be the unofficial leader of this group of friends.

William Stanley Harris doesn’t seem to hold a “real” job, either. In today’s terms, we may consider him to be a high maintenance friend, and one who can sap everyone else's strengths, if given the chance. He’s confident that he can do certain tasks, and it eventually turns out that he can’t. In Chapter XI, he makes an unsuccessful attempt at cooking scrambled eggs for breakfast for the group.

George works at a bank. He has to work early on the first day of the trip, so J. and Harris have to pick him up en route. He seems to be more organized and focused than the other two friends; although at times, like them, he can become confused or clumsy. In Chapter XVII, he accidentally knocks down the mounted fish on the wall of the inn. But he does cook a good Irish stew in Chapter XIV.

Montmorency is the fox terrier who serves as the dog on the trip and in the book title. Looks can be deceiving. He looks like an amiable enough and mellow animal. But he likes to chase cats. He likes to bring dead things back to his friends. He likes to get in the way when people are busy with a complex task, as he does when the men are packing in Chapter IV. Here he is treated as a worthy fourth member of the group, however.

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