British Soc & Mod Novels: Blog Post 4 (Lucky Jim)

Lucky Jim – Kingsley Amis (1954). PPT for the novel

Blog posts due and presentations: Wednesday, December 4.

  • Group 7: Why are there only good or bad women in the novel?
  • Group 8: (Blog) Is Jim actually a sympathetic character? Would we want him as a friend?

Write a post here of two paragraphs (about 200 words) discussing Lucky Jim. Feel free to make your post a reply to someone else’s post if you like. Choose one topic for your presentation or for online discussion or your paper. One topic per group. A narrow, focused discussion is usually more interesting.

  1. Do you like Dixon, or sympathize with him? Would you want him as a friend?
  2. Discuss Margaret or Christine. How do they influence or change Dixon?
  3. Welch seems strangely forgiving of Dixon’s actions. Is Welch a bad or good man, or is he just a little stupid?
  4. Discuss morality in the novel. Who are the worst people in the story?
  5. Amis has been accused of hating women– are his portrayals of women in the novel fair?
  6. What do you think is the funniest scene in the novel? Describe and discuss how Amis makes the scene funny.
  7. Do you think the novel satirizes universities or English society? How or why?
  8. Why is Jim Dixon lucky? (Or is he?)
  9. Does Dixon grow up throughout the novel, or change? How and why?
  10. Some critics believe the ending is contrived or unrealistic, that Dixon doesn’t deserve to be “saved” by Gore-Urquhart. Do you agree?

15 thoughts on “British Soc & Mod Novels: Blog Post 4 (Lucky Jim)

  1. Yoo Jieun

    Why is Jim Dixon lucky? (Or is he?)

    Dixon seems to be the lucky one at the end of the book. He gets a well-payed job and the love of his life. Him being lucky is well pictured because he is unlucky at the beginning of the book. His boss is boring, his girlfriend(or pretend-girlfriend), and he loses his job. By comparing his status at the end where he gets a good career change, his boss is a powerful man, and his girlfriends are not only pretty but also really in love with him he looks lucky.

  2. Alina Kim

    2. Discuss Margaret or Christine. How do they influence or change Dixon?

    I think that both Margaret and Christine changed, or influenced, Jim. In my personal opinion, Margaret influences Jim negatively when Christine influenced positively. In Margaret’s case, she makes Jim to feel sorry and compassionate to Margaret. Jim forces himself to like Margaret. Margaret lows his self-esteem, when she manipulates him or calls him “poor Jones”. In contrast, Christine herself has positive characteristics. We can see how Dixon changes with Christine, he becomes more confident. He for the first time decides to bet on his luck and try to be with Christine. I think that with Christine, Jim knowㄴ himself and his character more. In last chapters we see how Jim expresses his real feelings to Margaret, when earlier he did not express his feelings truly.

  3. Xiangcheng Meng

    6. What do you think is the funniest scene in the novel? Describe and discuss how Amis makes the scene funny.

    The funniest scene for me in the novel is that Dixon sneaks out of the house and goes for a drink, only to return drunk and ready for trouble. Dixon sneaks into the room of his girlfriend when his own bedroom door is blocked by an architectural oddity, and attempts to make love to her. The girlfriend rebuffs him, sending Dixon in search of more alcohol. This causes Dixon to be so drunk that he falls asleep with a lit cigarette that burns terrible holes in the bed sheets as well as a table and a rug. Dixon tries to hide this damage, relying on the girlfriend of the Professor’s son for help.

  4. Zhou Xuerong

    7.Do you think the novel satirizes universities or English society? How or why?
    I think this novel is a satire on British society. World War II disintegrated the colonial system of the British Empire and led Britain to a declining second-class country. The intensification of the economic crisis, labor conflict, nuclear terror, and various social contradictions has caused the people to be severely damaged. A series of reform measures of the British Labour Party did not give British civilians the social status and political rights they deserved. Although British civilian youths could have access to education, they still could not realize their own value and could not really enter the so-called “upper class Society “.
    From the beginning, Jim tried his best to become a heroic character, and he wanted to enter the high society and become a decent college elite. The flame of hope burned in his heart, hoping that a conscious young man born to the lower class could also have an opportunity to equally join the upper class through his own efforts. But everything seemed quite different from what he expected. In this novel, Jim’s expectations represent a great difference between the elites who represent the elegant culture and the hypocritical, contrived elites he really faces. And his real, vulgar and ridiculous language from the lower levels makes him so incompatible with the “elegance” of the intellectuals represented by Professor Welch. He seemed to be a ridiculous clown and a fellow old man. He wanted to accomplish his mission like a hero with a chivalry spirit, teach his books, publish articles, and finish his speech wonderfully. However, these ideas of him are always unrealizable, but have plunged himself into a very embarrassing situation countless times. The harder he tries to please, the more jokes abound. The image of Jim’s clown is increasingly ironic, satire on the elite society that had problems in that era, and satire on hypocritical elite culture. It is precisely this decadent elite culture that has caused the hypocrisy of university campus culture.

  5. Suhyun Yun

    Do you like Dixon, or sympathize with him? Would you want him as a friend?

    My answer is “Yes, I like him. I’d like to keep him as a friend.” Dixon looks like a troublemaker who likes alcohol and pretty girls as representing a worthless young man of time. He seems not good at his work but wanting to keep his job and wanting to give lectures when pretty girls are in his class.
    Despite his recklessness, I like his character. Because he does not lose touch like Welch, nor is he twisted or arrogant like Margaret or Bertrand. He is very simple minded and reminds me of a young puppy dancing under the snow. When a person is light-hearted, they seem cheerful, not serious and forget about complicated things. Jim is only faithful to what his instincts want.
    He has a good side as well as a fool. He keeps a secret between Bertrand and Carol even if it can be used to his advantage. He also takes responsibility for Margaret while she uses him all the time. I also thought the writer Amis might have been a young man himself like Dixon, but sadly became a privileged class and later became like Welch.

  6. Yareli Martinez

    Discuss morality in the novel. Who are the worst people in the story?
    The characters in Lucky Jim are not the ideal to define morality, the story itself is about people trying to live the best, they go for what they want or they are just simply finding their selves. I think every character has good and bad points but some of them pass the line to get what they one.
    I think the worst are Bertrand and Margaret. Bertrand because he is just a pretentious man who believes that because he is an “artist” and has money is better than anyone, he just minds about himself and we find out about it when he was having an affair with Carol without a reason in particular and he wanted to marry Christine just because. He is the best representation of a person without any morals that do not cares about others but himself.
    Margaret is a particular character, but I think that she is one of the worst because of this fake suicide attempt, she just wanted attention. We can see she is emotionally dependent on others and constant attention. She just fakes a relationship or some kind of relation with Dixon because she wants someone there to feel good about herself and maybe not to be alone.
    All the characters, in general, have their failures, but I think Dixon is not a good person, he just drinks a lot but he never hurt someone at all. Christine is a very natural character without pretentions, she is just indecisive about her life. Professor Welch is just a person attached to the past but because hi is all and prefers all times.

  7. Lee Ji Hyun

    9.Does Dixon grow up throughout the novel, or change ? How and why ?
    I think dixon didn’t grow ul throughout the novel and didn’t change either. The reason of my opinion is that I felt as if I was being tied up in the social reality and kept standing in place. Even if there were some changes in the main character’s self, it is a society with inevitable hierarchy, so I think the main character itself has either gotten better or not changed. Even if I were the main character, I felt like I was just going to settle down with the reality that I couldn’t help but try to be the same. So, I wondered if he could not speak directly to the other person in the book, and could have expressed and described things that the main character was feeling honestly in the main character was feeling honestly.
    If their honest emotions act on and as an allegory of express and act as if in reality, Dixon still know they will not survive.So I think that we seen him a timid person in this story.
    If the main character looks a little better, it can be said to his boss, Welch, that he is not sitting still at all and that he has expressed his argument at all.

  8. Song Yoo Hyeong

    Q: Some critics believe the ending is contrived or unrealistic, that Dixon doesn’t deserve to be “saved” by Gore-Urquhart. Do you agree?

    A: I agree with this, because Jim even never works for it. All lucky things that come to Jim at the end of the story, including getting the job offered by Gore-Urquhart, are unexpected ones to him. Since he realizes he spoiled his lecture and gets fired, still is stuck with Margaret, and has to give up with Christine, he thinks everything around him goes wrong. Then suddenly Gore-Urquhart comes to him and offers him the job Bertrand wants to get. And he also finds out Margaret’s suicide commit was fake. Most of all, Christine broke up with Bertrand and wants to start a relationship with Jim. Looking over these, we could not see any of Jim’s effort to make things right.

    And this ending surely fits the title of the novel: Lucky Jim. If you deserve it, it is not luck. Of course, people do not learn anything when all things come easy. I believe Jim does not change even in the last part of the book. But Jim is still a young man, and he finally does not have to teach history he hates. We do not know whether Jim’s luck lasts forever or not. In other words Jim has to pay to get what he wants someday. I am sure Jim will grow up at that time.

  9. Lee Da Young

    2. Discuss Margaret or Christine. How do they influence or change Dixon?

    I think they both did a big role of changing Dixon. Firstly, as Jim got close with Christine after taking her home from the ball, he seems to be honest for the first time. They had a honest conversation in the taxi. It made them get closer to each other and end up kissing in the Welch’s house. I think it was a big progress of Jim to be honest with Christine when he didn’t end things up with Margaret. He used to be manipulated by Margaret and keep the uncertain relationship. So in this kind of terms I can see how Christine has influenced Dixon to change.
    Margaret also happened to change Jim. He was somewhat easy to her but after knowing that Margaret having suicide attempt in the past was lie, he finally becomes free from her. Also, before that, while they were having argument on Jim leaving Margaret at the ball and taking Christine home, he speak to her honestly by saying that he’s not her boyfriend. Margaret has never seen him acting this way so she gets upset and becomes hysterical. As as a result Margaret has contributed to Jim’s change.

  10. Yoon Ji Hyun

    3.Welch seems strangely forgiving of Dixon’s actions. Is Welch a bad or good man, or is he just a little stupid?
    I think Welch is a good person. The First reason is that Welch doesn’t blame Dixon when he commit rude behavior. Dixon exceed the limits of decorum several times. Dixon expressed criticism about a book that is written by student of Welch. Also, at weekend art gatherings, Dixon messed up the atmosphere, by making a slip of the tongue. And after, he got drunk, and he drank Welch’s liquor without permission. Moreover, Dixon burned blanket, table and so on. However, he didn’t tell his mistake. He just tried to hide his mistake. Despite all Dixon’s fault, Welch just waited for him without blame.
    Also, Welch is am attentive person who waits and helps until Dixon is really ready to enter to society. When Welch heard a news that Caiton wants to publish Dixon’s thesis in the academic journal, he just gave advice to Dixon that he have to receive a definite date. Welch already knew that Caiton is not a reliable person, but he was afraid Dixon would be disappointed. So, he just gave an advice for Dixon. Also, Welch always invite Dixon to the meetings to expanse Dixon’s network. Welch was helping Dixon behind of him rather than teaching one by one as a tutor. Welch silently helped Dixon and respected Dixon’s choice.
    If the relationship between Welch and Dixson was a typical relationship between professor and instructor, or if Welch was really a bad or stupid person, Dixon would have already been fired from his job. Also, I think Dixon couldn’t have found a new job because his bad reputation was rumored.

  11. Choi Yubin

    8. 8.Why is Jim Dixon lucky? (Or is he?)
    I think that he gets an outcome much better than he tried. He was not really interested in studying the ancient medieval history of England. He majored in history because he thought that there are few people in that major. He was only interested in extending the contract to his department head and dean. His greatest values in life are alcohol, smoking, and women. The contract instructor gave a lecture to try to get on his good side of the professor and get drunk, he failed to love, and he ruined the lecture, but as a result, he got a good job and succeeded in love. So he is ‘lucky’ Jim. It is really great luck for him. But, well, I’m not sure I can really praise him for his ‘luck’ if I were one of his colleague. Of course, everyone wants to get promoted, get a better job, want to succeed, and I don’t want to blame for it. But if I think about his behaviors, I would never have congratulated him if I were his colleague. Maybe I think, “Is he qualified to have luck?” But speaking as a reader, I liked Jim’s satire of the man who wielded with power and university.

  12. Kang, Byung Hyun

    1.Do you like Dixon, or sympathize with him? Would you want him as a friend?

    I do and there could be several reasons. First of all Dixon can be sympathized by his situation. He tells Professor Welch about the hardship when there is no job stability and he honestly tells Welch that he could do so much better if he has it. I fully understand him probably because I will also have a job with in 2 years. He seems very desperate just like myself. He is polite and attentive to Margaret. He thinks it is because he loves her. But I don’t think so. I think it is the nature temper that he has inside him and the best part is that he does not know until almost at the end of the novel. This kind of characteristic value is more precious when someone does not reveal it by him or herself and Dixon definitely is this kind of someone. I felt happiness watching Jim throughout the whole novel. Due to this kind of reasons I thankfully want him as a friend.

  13. Zhu Yuyin

    10. Some critics believe the ending is contrived or unrealistic, that Dixon doesn’t deserve to be “saved” by Gore-Urquhart. Do you agree?

    I partly agree with it.

    As we can see, Jim is not really into in teaching the ancient medieval history of England. Plus, his ability does not fit in his occupation in that his student Michie does make him embrassed when Jim is asked with several professional questions related to history. He is only concerned about extending the contract to his department head and dean. While his greatest interests in life are alcohol, smoking, and women. For example, Jim gets drunk in the middle of Merri England speech and screws it up making himself fired by Welch.

    Besides, he burns Welch’s carpet in guest room during the Arty Weekends, which manifests his carelessness. Worse still, provided that Mrt. Welch is hard to neogiate with, Dixon even disguises himself as the clerk of a newspaper in order to avoid compensating for the damaged carpet. I believe it is not the proper behaviour of a gentleman. To be more specific, he lies to others using clumsy tricks.

    However, it is undeniable that he also owns the indispensable advantages. From the novel, we can see how Dixon changes with Christine. He becomes more confident actually and therefore he dares to chase his true love. In addition, he reveals the hypocrisy of his seniors and schools ruthlessly, which at least proves that he is quite different from them. In my opnion, he is an honest man. It is his integrity and courage that pave the way for his promotion as the secretary of Gore-Urquhart perhaps.

    Indeed, Dixon is very kind. He regards with the emotion of Margeret. Without love, his sense of responsibity drives him to do so.

    Although Jim dislikes his profession, he takes effort to accomplish his article published in a journal. Once he are willing to take pains to work and improve his competence, there would be enormous potentials initiated from him.

    All in all, from my point of view, it is no doubt that Jim Dixon is lucky. Nevertheless, he also excels in some respects like honesty, bravery, kindness and so on, which support him to succeed in the end.

  14. Lee kyungho

    Some critics believe the ending is contrived or unrealistic, that Dixon doesn’t deserve to be saved by Gore-Urquhart. Do you agree?

    Although, I do agree that the ending feels a bit contrived and Dixon’s conduct has been somewhat questionable. He isn’t very competent at his job, and he has the audacity to drink right before his important lecture.

    Despite all these, however, I think it is pointless to say whether he actually deserves it or not. I don’t think luck really discriminates who deserves it and who doesn’t. Luck comes to an arbitrary person and influences the outcome whether he or she wants it or not. Granted, Gore-Urquhart made a conscious decision to help Dixon out. However, from Jim’s perspective, it is just a random chance. As he didn’t have any say on getting himself the job at the end and it might have ended up in a different path if Gore-Urquhart wasn’t there to “save” him.

  15. Hye Jin Park

    Does Dixon grow up throughout the novel, or change? How and why?

    I believe Dixon did grew throughout the novel. He became more honest to the people who he really cares. In the beginning of the novel, he was good at lie. He even made some cigarette burns on the bed sheet, but he just ran away and didn’t confess it to Mrs. Welch. He was constantly making some lies even though it was not necessary. Christine was the one who tells her true thoughts to Dixon, and he actually liked it. By Christine, he realised that honesty is not that bad. This can be the main reason why he was changed. He began to be just himself by the end of the novel. He even tells Mrs. Welch that he is sorry for the burns. Mrs. Welch was very confused with his attitude. He also made the relationship clear with both Margaret and Christine. It was nice to see both Dixon and Christine made some deep conversations through the end of the novel. If we compare this to the Dixon at the beginning, I believe there was a huge change in him. Of course, there are some parts of him which is still mean or weird. However, I strongly believe that this change in ‘honesty’ is quite meaningful to him.

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