full title Lucky Jim
author Kingsley Amis
type of work Novel
genre Comic novel; Campus novel; Satire
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.
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
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