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Lucky Jim

Kingsley Amis

Chapters 14–15

Chapters 12–13

Chapters 16–17

Summary

Chapter 14

In the cab, Dixon begins to feel annoyed that Christine doesn't feel bad about Dixon's stealing the cab from the Barclays, but he relents when Christine says that she was annoyed by all the intrigue at the Ball, and that she has felt depressed of late. The cab arrives at the gas station and Dixon bangs on the closed shop door until a man comes out and agrees to fill up their tank. Dixon feels more warmly toward Christine now that she seems to trust him, and asks here why she is depressed. Christine describes how people focus on her outward poise and forget the fact that she is not even twenty years old yet. Christine goes on to explain to Dixon her past difficulties with men who dropped her after realizing she didn't want to be seduced. She explains that Bertrand has not tried to seduce her and that she has been feeling fondly toward Bertrand despite their frequent arguments.

Christine mentions that she suspects Bertrand expect to marry her. Dixon asks Christine what Bertrand's pictures are like and is pleased to discover that Bertrand has not shown any of his work to Christine, saying he's not a real painter yet. Dixon does not accept Christine's explanation that it's harder to date a man who is an artist than an ordinary man. Christine asks Dixon if he thinks she should marry Bertrand. He says "no," explaining that Bertrand, like Professor Welch, is only interested in himself. When Christine says that she could marry Bertrand without loving him, Dixon gives Christine a lecture on the dangers of viewing feelings objectively. Dixon explains that knowing you're in love is the easy part, and that deciding how to act on it is harder and requires thinking. Christine becomes tired and naps on Dixon's shoulder until they pull up to the Welch residence. Christine asks Dixon to help her get back in the locked house. Dixon gets the taxi-driver to wait.

Chapter 15

Dixon and Christine walk through the Welches' yard in search of a way into the house. Dixon finds an unlocked window, enters the room, and switches on a light. Christine and Dixon find themselves very close together and Dixon kisses her briefly. They sit down to drink the coffee and eat the cookies that have been left out. Dixon tells Christine that he likes her and she protests that he does not know her at all. Dixon asks Christine to come out with him. Christine reminds him of their respective ties to Bertrand and Margaret. Dixon explains that Margaret has no official claim on him, and then asks Christine what she would like to do. She says she would like to come out with him and they kiss again, this time for longer. Dixon momentarily places a hand on Christine's breast, but removes it when he feels her go slack. They decide to meet at a hotel in town for tea on Tuesday. They hear the Welches' pull up in their car. Before Dixon can hop out of the window, Christine shoves some money in his pocket for the taxi.

Analysis

Chapter 14 continues Dixon's trend of self-discovery, which he began with his conversation with Carol Goldsmith in Chapter 12. Dixon is honest to himself about his pessimism and limited perceptiveness, and in this chapter he vows to "bet on his luck" for the first time and is surprised when he begins to pick up on people's quirks and foibles, which he would normally not notice.

Dixon and Christine continue to be honest with one another, even after they leave the dance. Dixon confronts Christine when he perceives that she is being insincere and Christine continues to explain herself to the best of her ability. Overall, the taxi ride and re-entry to the Welches' is a success, ratifying Dixon's theory that "nice things are nicer than nasty ones." This theory is similar to Carol Goldsmith's theory that people in their twenties make relationships more complicated than they need to be by foolishly and self- importantly letting other obligations get in the way of straightforward sexual attraction. Dixon's long speech to Christine about the uncomplicatedness of love, and the self-indulgence of thinking too hard about love, also fits under the same theory.

Some of Christine's responses to Dixon continue to be nasty rather than nice, however, such as her remark that artists have different needs than ordinary people, but Dixon cleanly circumvents this problem by attributing those statements to. There are a few brief moments in Chapters 14 and 15, however, during which Dixon and Christine do not connect. Dixon misunderstands some of Christine's comments, but only because he does not yet suspect what we do, namely, that Christine likes Dixon and wants him to like her.

All together, the taxi ride, the talk with Christine about Bertrand's failings, the shared coffee cup, and the two kisses make Chapters 14 and 15 a triumphant climax for Dixon. Christine wins out over Margaret in each of the several comparisons made in these chapters, and she rounds out the evening by giving Dixon money for the taxi, contrasting symmetrically with Margaret's tendency to let Dixon pay for drinks even though she has more money.

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