full title · Lucky Jim
author · Kingsley Amis
type of work · Novel
genre · Comic novel; Campus novel; Satire
language · English
time and place written · 1951–1952, Great Britain
date of first publication · 1954
publisher · Gollancz Press
narrator · Third person
point of view · The third person narration follows Jim Dixon's point of view. The narrative describes what Jim thinks and feels, and describes other characters as Jim would see them.
tone · The narrative has an objectively comic tone. The novel focuses on what the various characters are doing or look like, and renders these facts in a mocking way. Jim himself is not free from mockery, but it is self-mockery, and demonstrates Jim's critical attitude toward himself.
tense · Present
setting (time) · The late 1940s or early 1950s
setting (place) · A university in the English countryside
protagonist · Jim Dixon
major conflict · Jim Dixon struggles to convince his boss, Professor Welch, to keep him on at the University. He must also decide whether to stick with Margaret Peel, a colleague who is becoming his girlfriend, or go after Christine Callaghan, the beautiful, high-class girlfriend of Professor Welch's son, Bertrand.
rising action · Jim Dixon gets himself further entangled with Margaret Peel by making a drunken pass at her and asking her to the Summer Ball; Jim Dixon endangers his job security by accidentally setting fire to his while staying at Welch's house.
climax · Jim Dixon escorts Christine Callaghan home from the Summer Ball; Jim knocks down Bertrand Welch and tells him what he doesn't like about him; Jim gives the College's end of term Lecture drunk and insults several faculty members.
falling action · Jim Dixon gets a well-paid job in London with Julius Gore-Urquhart; Jim learns from Margaret's previous companion, Catchpole, that Margaret staged her suicide attempt to get attention, leaving Jim free to pursue Christine Callaghan.
themes · "Luck" as opposed to "entitlement" accounting for one's lot in life; the value of straightforwardness over pretension and hypocrisy; the difference between social classes
motifs · Facial features as an indicator of personality; a capacity for contempt as a marker of male "soundness"
symbols · Margaret's green Paisley dress and quasi-velvet shoes; Professor Welch's fishing hat and Bertrand's beret
foreshadowing · Margaret's cageyness about the details of her suicide attempt; Caton's refusal to give Jim a definite answer about a publication date for Jim's article
Take a Study Break!