What kind of colors did Harris prefer wearing? What did it tell about him?

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teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the story, Harris seems to enjoy wearing loud colors. On one occasion, he is described as wearing a red and orange blazer in Kingston. Jerome, the narrator, tells us that Harris insists on keeping to shades of orange or yellow. However, he doesn't think that Harris is wise in choosing such loud colors since his complexion is supposedly too dark to set off such colors attractively. J complains that 'the less taste a person has in dress, the more obstinate he always seems to be.' J describes Harris' character perfectly: he is opinionated, stubborn, and often intractable (not easily managed, often difficult). When he believes he is right about something, there is simply no way to convince him that he might be wrong after all.

When J gets into an argument with Harris about not stopping to see Mrs. Thomas' tomb because they have to meet George at five o'clock in Shepperton, Harris flies into a rage. He complains that George has left both him and J to do the heavy work of lugging 'this lumbering old top-heavy barge up and down the river' just to meet him in Shepperton. He sneers at the idea of George doing any work at the bank, goes off on a diatribe about bankers, and finally demands a 'real drink.'  He tells J that he can't stand any of those 'Sunday-school slops' such as lemonade (which J offers him), ginger beer, and raspberry syrup, which he is convinced produces 'dyspepsia, and ruined body and soul alike, and were the cause of half the crime in England.'

J tells us how he deals with Harris when he is unreasonable:

It is always best to let Harris have his head when he gets like this.  Then he pumps himself out, and is quiet afterwards.

Harris is also known to irritate guests on social occasions when he insists on singing comic songs despite his inability to remember most of the lyrics to songs.

Harris never sees what an ass he is making of himself, and how he is annoying a lot of people who never did him any harm.  He honestly imagines that he has given them a treat, and says he will sing another comic song after supper.

Along with Harris' stubbornness is his inability to be aware of the feelings of others. He tends to be a boorish character, often insensitive to the point of offensiveness. His choice of loud colors for his clothing bears out his character traits beautifully.

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