By the mid-1930’s, Lewis, that lonely old volcano of the Right, as Auden called him, began to enjoy his place as the “Enemy,” the British intellectual of the decade who could and would debunk the flourishing left-wing activities of the rest of his crowd. The Revenge for Love carries out such debunking through its three central characters: Percy, Victor, and Margot. As is often true of Lewis’ fictional creations, each character represents a cluster of political and moral values. Percy is a genuine lower-class figure who has become an organizer for the British Communist Party. Although he remains loyal to the party and to most of its tenets, he has lost any sense of idealism through his association with other party members and through his activity for the party in Spain. His attitudes toward leftists in general, and those of Lewis as well, are spelled out in his speech to Jill Communist, which results in his beating by Jack Cruze. In that speech, he offends the various parlor pinks, university leftists, radical dons, and artistic politicos in an attempt to get Jill to see the sham and fraud that infects the Socialist movement. Rather than showing Jill the light, however, he merely infuriates her with his truth-telling, and she retaliates by having him beaten. Her upper-class snootiness and his lower-class obedience in this scene take on a mockingly unegalitarian and decidedly non-Communistic flavor, which proves Lewis’ point about the depth of the commitment to socialism of such shallow figures as Jill.
It is to Percy that the story returns for its conclusion, and it is through his...
(The entire section is 661 words.)