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chsmith1957 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This question refers to the opening chapter of Three Men in a Boat. Friends J. (the narrator), George, and Harris discuss the fact that each one of them feels slightly “seedy,” with occasional fits of giddiness. They come to the conclusion that their mediocre health conditions are due to overwork. They need the kind of rest that a week-long getaway along the River Thames would provide. We get the impression early on that only one of the men holds a “real” job. J. tells us at the beginning of Chapter II that George works in a bank six days a week. Actually, he makes fun of this fact and says that George sleeps at a bank six days a week. How J. and Harris spend their days and how they support themselves financially are mysteries that are never revealed in the book. We know that Harris likes to stop at inns and pubs and likes to drink. We can see that J. is an accomplished writer, so he could presumably make a living at this craft. But otherwise: are they overworked? Probably not. But this is a good excuse for making the trip.

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