Lucky Jim

by: Kingsley Amis

Chapter 3

Summary Chapter 3

Bill Atkinson, who is introduced in this chapter, is so far the one character who is completely straightforward. Bill treats everything and everyone around him with a skepticism that borders on hatred. Dixon claims to admire him "for his air of detesting everything that presented itself to his senses" but Atkinson also contrasts with the other characters in that his emotions and motives are uncomplicated and easily read from his outward features. But when Dixon attempts to be as straightforward as Atkinson by explaining honestly to Beesley that he doesn't take his article or career choice seriously, he is met with Beesley's quiet disapproval and is warned not to be so honest with Welch.

We begin to realize the unreliability of a narrative that focuses solely on Dixon's viewpoint in Chapter 3. Dixon seems annoyed by having to guess at the motivations of others, yet he disfigures the cover of Evan Johns' magazine for no reason other than the fact that he dislikes Johns. This discrepancy between Dixon's beliefs and actions becomes even more apparent when we later see Dixon wondering what he has done to deserve Johns' retaliation.

Just as Chapter 2 ended with Dixon's vision of London, Chapter 3 ends with Dixon feeling energized and optimistic due to his brief walk through the rush-hour business of the local city center. Evidently, Dixon is happiest when in an urban setting.