Jim Dixon is the hero of LUCKY JIM, Kingsley Amis’ first and more widely praised novel. Lewis is in danger of being trapped by the wrong woman, the wrong town, and the wrong job; since he is not committed to any of them, there are no moral obstacles to his discarding them when vastly superior substitutes appear; his only problem is to convince himself that their superiority is sufficient reason for him not only to prefer them but also to follow up his preferences.
For John Lewis, the hero of THAT UNCERTAIN FEELING, matters are more difficult. Lewis has an ill-paying job, a wife, two children, a depressing apartment, and the desire, although not the means, to change matters. When the means present themselves, they merely make for more trouble because, as he recognizes at the end of the novel, he will always be torn between wanting to be moral and wanting to do things that are immoral; this is the only thing of which he can be certain. It is as natural for him to want to be faithful to his wife as it is for him to prefer a woman whom nature and circumstances have treated with more kindness. These problems admit to no easy resolution; unlike Jim Dixon’s predicament, in LUCKY JIM, no new job or new woman can solve the basic problem, although both are available.
This, therefore is both a serious and a funny book; it is also an honest book, because it slights neither the humor of the situation into which Lewis pilots...
(The entire section is 1564 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of That Uncertain Feeling Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!