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The presentation of morality in the novels of Kingsley Amis Laine, Michael 1962

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THE PRESENTATION OP MORALITY IN THE NOVELS OF KINGSLEY AMIS  Michael Laine B.A., M c G i l l U n i v e r s i t y , 1956 B.A., U n i v e r s i t y o f O x f o r d , 1958 A THESIS SUBMITTED I N PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n t h e Department of English  We a c c e p t t h i s t h e s i s a s c o n f o r m i n g required standard  t o the  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1962  In p r e s e n t i n g  t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of  the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree a t the  University  o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make it  f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and  agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may  study.  I further  c o p y i n g of t h i s  be g r a n t e d by the Head o f  Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s .  g a i n s h a l l not  be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n  Department o f  £  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, Vancouver 8, Canada. Date  CL  /C  /ICQ.  my  I t i s understood  t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s f o r  <h$)/iX.  thesis  financial  permission.  ABSTRACT One  t h e s i s examines  the n o v e l s o f the young B r i t i s h  writer,  K i n g s l e y Amis, and attempts t o a s s e s s h i s c o n t r i b u t i o n t o the modern n o v e l i n terms o f the moral code which he p r e s e n t s and i n terms o f h i s s u c c e s s i n p r e s e n t i n g C h a p t e r One  it.  d i s s o c i a t e s Amis from the myth o f the  "Angry Young Men"  and shows t h a t he h i m s e l f w i l l not be  p l a c e d i n any movement.  The c h a p t e r goes on t o d i s c u s s  h i s p o s i t i o n as a s a t i r i s t  and i l l u s t r a t e s h i s r e q u i r e m e n t  t h a t s a t i r e have a moral b a s i s .  At t h i s point  certain  p a r a l l e l s w i t h the work o f F i e l d i n g are d i s c u s s e d .  The  c h a p t e r shows how much the moral p o s i t i o n depends upon s e e i n g Amis's heroes as d e c e n t , and t e n t a t i v e l y  defines  decency as i t appears t o him. Chapter Two  shows how  much the hero o f each n o v e l  conforms t o the d e f i n i t i o n o f decency and examines h i s b e h a v i o u r i n o r d e r t o e s t a b l i s h the code t h a t he follows.  The development  actually  o f the hero i s d i s c u s s e d , as i s  the e x t e n t t o which Amis a l l o w s him t o exceed the l i m i t s o f decency.  The c h a p t e r c o n c l u d e s by s u g g e s t i n g t h a t Amis  cannot p r e s e n t any u l t i m a t e s o l u t i o n t o the problem o f the decent man  how  i s t o f i n d a p l a c e i n s o c i e t y and m a i n t a i n  l o y a l t y t o h i s code.  Amis's  increased understanding of  the i n f l u e n c e o f l o v e i s d i s c u s s e d and the c h a p t e r  iii suggests t h a t any f u t u r e development  w i l l be dependent  upon the acknowledgement o f t h i s a s p e c t o f human  relations.  C h a p t e r Three d e a l s w i t h the e f f e c t i v e n e s s o f Amis's t e c h n i q u e and argues t h a t , a l t h o u g h t h e comic t e c h n i q u e a i d s i n the p r e s e n t a t i o n o f the hero as 1'homme moyen s e n s u e l . f l a t language and the r e p e t i t i o n o f c e r t a i n d e v i c e s d i s t r a c t s the r e a d e r from the c o m p l e x i t i e s of t h e moral problems f a c e d by Amis's h e r o e s . Chapter Pour c o n c l u d e s t h e t h e s i s by r e a s s e s s i n g the moral p o s i t i o n and the t e c h n i q u e used i n p r e s e n t i n g i t . It  s u g g e s t s t h a t Amis has a t e n a b l e moral p o s i t i o n , b u t  t h a t he does n o t succeed i n p r e s e n t i n g i t t o the r e a d e r i n such a way t h a t i t can be seen t o be o f v a l u e as i t a p p l i e s t o the way t h a t men l i k e h i s heroes c a n operate within their  society.  ACKNOWLEDGEMENT  The  w r i t e r wishes t o e x p r e s s h i s a p p r e c i a t i o n t o  Dr. W i l l i a m H a l l and Dr. I a n Ross f o r t h e i r during the preparation of t h i s  thesis.  suggestions  TABLE OF CONTENTS  I  K i n g s l e y Amis:  Decency  and M o r a l i t y II  1  The Hero and t h e M o r a l Code  III  Amis's T e c h n i q u e : I t s Effectiveness Limitations  IV  19  Conclusion  and 46 57  Footnotes  67  Bibliography  75  CHAPTER I K i n g s l e y Amis:  Decency and M o r a l i t y  F o r the l a s t few y e a r s , the n o v e l s o f K i n g s l e y Amis have been a c c e p t e d as r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f the work o f c e r t a i n young B r i t i s h w r i t e r s , l o o s e l y d e s c r i b e d by an e n t h u s i a s t i c p r e s s as the "Angry Young Men."  But the acceptance o f t h e  p o p u l a r myth t h a t Amis i s a member o f any l i t e r a r y movement o r t h a t the "Angry Young Men"  can be c o n s i d e r e d as a homo-  geneous l i t e r a r y movement w i l l u l t i m a t e l y d i s t r a c t a r e a d e r from whatever i n d i v i d u a l c o n t r i b u t i o n Amis has t o make. S i n c e Amis, more t h a n any o t h e r o f these w r i t e r s , has attempted b o t h t o produce a c o n s i s t e n t moral p o s i t i o n and to i l l u s t r a t e  the r e a c t i o n s o f some young E n g l i s h m e n t o the  w o r l d t h e y are f o r c e d t o l i v e  i n , i t i s p r o f i t a b l e to  i s o l a t e and t o i n s p e c t t h i s moral p o s i t i o n as i t i s p r e sented i n h i s novels.  N e v e r t h e l e s s , some background o f the  myth o f the "Angry Young Men" it  i s u s e f u l i n o r d e r to p l a c e  i n perspective. Kenneth Tynan, who  seems t o accept the myth as f a c t ,  d e s c r i b e s the o r i g i n of the "Angry Young Men."  Referring  t o the f i r s t performance o f John Osborne's p l a y , Look Back I n Anger, he s a y s : I t a l l came t o a head one May e v e n i n g i n 1956 a t the R o y a l Court T h e a t r e i n Sloane Square. There had o f  2 c o u r s e been p l e n t y o f p r e l i m i n a r y r u m b l e s . A group o f young B r i t i s h w r i t e r s h a d r e c e n t l y p u b l i s h e d a s e r i e s o f p i c a r e s q u e n o v e l s f e a t u r i n g a new s o r t o f h e r o — a l o w e r c l a s s i n t e l l e c t u a l w i t h a r i b a l d sense o f humour, a r o b u s t t a s t e f o r b e e r and s e x and an a t t i t u d e o f v i l l a i n o u s i r r e v e r e n c e towards t h e e s t a b l i s h e d order.1 Tynan s u g g e s t s t h a t t h e p u r p o s e s o f t h e s e "young B r i t i s h w r i t e r s " are l a r g e l y negative  and t h a t t h e y r e p r e s e n t  g e n e r a t i o n which has n o t h i n g t o f i g h t f o r .  a  He sees them  as s u b j e c t t o a p a t h y , d e r i s i v e detachment o r a r a g e i m p e l l e d by t h e c o n s c i o u s n e s s t h a t t h e i r s o c i e t y h a s no equipment t o p r e v e n t t h e chaos t h a t i m p e r i l s i t .  In this  he f e e l s t h a t t h e "Angry Young Men" t y p i f y t h e s p i r i t o f t h e i r age: Somebody, i n s h o r t , h a d t o s a y t h a t many young B r i t o n s were f e d up; t h a t t o be young, so f a r f r o m b e i n g v e r y h e a v e n , was i n some ways v e r y h e l l . 2 W r i t e r s s u c h as K i n g s l e y Amis and J o h n Wain, whose works f i t r o u g h l y  i n t o the general d e s c r i p t i o n of the  l i t e r a t u r e o f t h e "Angry Young Men," have been compared t o s a t i r i s t s and s o c i a l c r i t i c s l i k e E v e l y n Waugh and A l d o u s H u x l e y , b u t one c r i t i c who makes t h e c o m p a r i s o n f e e l s t h a t the younger w r i t e r s a r e d e c i d e d l y i n f e r i o r , i n t h a t t h e y "do  n o t w r i t e w e l l " and i n t h a t "They d o n ' t shape t h e myth  of t h e i r generation."^  C r i t i c s seem t o have a c c e p t e d an  e a s y g r o u p i n g o f t h e s e w r i t e r s and have c a r e l e s s l y f a i l e d to concern themselves p r i m a r i l y w i t h the l i t e r a t u r e . misleading  Such  c r i t i c i s m h a s been r e i n f o r c e d b y t h e p u b l i c a t i o n  o f D e c l a r a t i o n , a c o l l e c t i o n o f e s s a y s b y t h o s e w r i t e r s who  3 are r e g a r d e d by the p u b l i c as t y p i c a l o f the the  e d i t o r o f D e c l a r a t i o n makes no  p o i n t s out  claim f o r unity,  t h a t the w r i t e r s r e p r e s e n t e d  i n the  do not b e l o n g t o a homogeneous movement: he  says,  No  But and  collection  "Declaration."  " i s a c o l l e c t i o n of s e p a r a t e p o s i t i o n s . " ^  S i m i l a r l y , Kenneth A l l s o p , i n h i s c r i t i c a l t h a t he  group.  can see no v a l u e one  survey, p r o t e s t s  i n the term "Angry Young  Man."  i s more adamant t h a n K i n g s l e y Amis i n d i s -  sociating himself  from a movement and  i n s i s t i n g upon h i s  r i g h t t o be r e g a r d e d as an i n d i v i d u a l n o v e l i s t w i t h i n d i v i d u a l p o i n t of view, and upon h i s r i g h t t o be upon h i s l i t e r a r y performance. i n Declaration,  He  refused  to be  an judged  included  saying:  'I h a t e a l l t h i s p h a r a s a i c a l t w i t t e r i n g about the " s t a t e o f our c i v i l i z a t i o n " and I suspect anyone who wants t o b u t t o n h o l e me about my " r o l e i n s o c i e t y " . T h i s book i s l i k e l y t o prove a v a l u a b l e a d d i t i o n t o the c u l t of the Solemn Young Man; I p r e d i c t a great success f o r i t . ' ' And  w r i t i n g i n E n c o u n t e r, he  says:  Even t h a t b u s i n e s s about the Angry Young Men, which i s g o i n g t o sound so wonderful i f anyone remembers i t i n a few y e a r s t i m e , had i t s a p p e a l i n g s i d e . I t i s d i f f i c u l t t o sound s i n c e r e i n r e p u d i a t i n g f r e e p u b l i c i t y , so I was l u c k y i n never h a v i n g t o . In my case the s i m p l i f i c a t i o n s and d i s t o r t i o n s i n e v i t a b l e i n g o s s i p y , booksy j o u r n a l i s m f e l l s h o r t o f tempting me t o break the w r i t e r ' s f i r s t r u l e and s t a r t e x p l a i n i n g what I " r e a l l y meant" by my books. . . . Sometimes I would m e d i t a t e on how n i c e i t would be i f one's n o v e l s were r e a d as n o v e l s i n s t e a d o f s o c i o l o g i c a l t r a c t s , but t h e n one morning the whole shooting-match j u s t s o f t l y and s i l e n t l y v a n i s h e d away, and t h e r e we a l l were reduced t o b e i n g judged on our m e r i t s a g a i n . Which ought t o be a l l r i g h t i f the m e r i t s h o l d up.°  4  D e s p i t e h i s i r r i t a t i o n a t b e i n g i n c l u d e d i n an a l l e g e d movement, Amis d i s p l a y s a g r e a t d e a l of i n t e r e s t i n the contemporary economic  scene and shows c o n c e r n f o r the  social,  and p o l i t i c a l a s p e c t s o f man's r e l a t i o n t o the  w o r l d i n which he l i v e s .  Such i n t e r e s t s do n o t make Amis  engage*, however, and about t h i s he i s q u i t e c l e a r , his  stating  p o s i t i o n and h i s d u t y as he sees i t : Any decent w r i t e r sees h i s f i r s t c o n c e r n as the r e n d e r i n g o f what he t a k e s t o be permanent i n human n a t u r e , and t h i s h o l d s t r u e no m a t t e r how "contemporary" h i s m a t e r i a l . Now and a g a i n he may f e e l — we s h o u l d perhaps t h i n k l e s s o f him i f he d i d not e v e r f e e l — t h a t t h e r e are some p o l i t i c a l causes too v a s t o r u r g e n t t o be s u b o r d i n a t e d t o mere l i t e r a t u r e , and w i l l a l l o w one o r o t h e r such t o determine the shape of what he w r i t e s . But by d o i n g so he w i l l be g u i l t y o f betrayal. He w i l l have a c c e l e r a t e d the a r r i v a l o f t h e day on which i t i s g e n e r a l l y agreed t h a t a n o v e l o r a p l a y i s no more t h a n a system of g e n e r a l i s a t i o n s o r c h e s t r a t e d i n terms o f p l o t and d i c t i o n and s i t u a t i o n and the r e s t ; the day, i n o t h e r words, on which the n o v e l , the poem, and the p l a y cease t o e x i s t . . . .9 Speaking s p e c i f i c a l l y o f " p o l i t i c a l causes" i n h i s  article  " S l i g h t l y More o f a Plague on One  o f Your  Houses,  Amis shows h i s a t t i t u d e t o be a n t i - T o r y but not pro-Labour. The t i t l e not  speaks f o r h i s p o s i t i o n , i n which may  be found  o n l y a t r a c e o f i n d i f f e r e n c e b r e d by the post-war  complacency  and f i n a n c i a l s e c u r i t y o f h i s s o c i e t y , but a  f r u s t r a t i o n caused by h i s f e e l i n g t h a t p o l i t i c a l useless.  action i s  Elsewhere he r e i t e r a t e s h i s p o s i t i o n :  . . . I f e e l my s e c u r i t y i s n o t t h r e a t e n e d — perhaps i t r e a l l y i s , but no m a t t e r , i t doesn't seem t o be — o r i n o t h e r words I have no p o l i t i c a l i n t e r e s t s t o d e f e n d , . . . . I f I were shaken up I s h o u l d a c t , a t l e a s t I hope I s h o u l d , but n o t  u n t i l then. did?  And what use  s h o u l d I be i f I  1 1  N e v e r t h e l e s s , a l t h o u g h by no means a r e v o l u t i o n a r y , he i s n o t r e s i g n e d t o the s t a t u s quo  and he  suggests, i n h i s  ° a n a l y s i s of S c i e n c e F i c t i o n , t h a t s o c i a l change i s both necessary  and  good, and t h a t l i t e r a t u r e i s a barometer  r a t h e r than a mover of t h i s s o c i a l change: T h i s a c t i v e d i s l i k e o f any p o l i t y which p r o h i b i t s change i s widespread t o the p o i n t of b e i n g a x i o m a t i c i n contemporary s c i e n c e f i c t i o n , and I r e g a r d t h i s as a h o p e f u l s i g n , more h o p e f u l c e r t a i n l y t h a n the example o f Huxley's Savage, who, as I n o t e d e a r l i e r , m e r e l y s i t s about t h i n k i n g how n i c e freedom would b e . ^ 1  As a c r i t i c , Amis i s more v o c a l i n h i s c o n c e r n  with  s o c i a l change and the contemporary scene t h a n he i s as a novelist;  i n d e e d he wishes t o d i v o r c e these f u n c t i o n s :  I n p a r t i c u l a r some o f them [ B r i t i s h N o v e l i s t s ] need to show l e s s r e a d i n e s s t o double as c r i t i c s , a r o l e i n which t h e y may f i n d out more t h a n t h e y s h o u l d c a r e to know about the Z e i t g e i s t , always a good nodding acquaintance but a bad companion.13 Yet Amis h i m s e l f has to  double  as a c r i t i c .  shown a g r e a t d e a l of r e a d i n e s s A man  o f academic e x p e r i e n c e ,  taught E n g l i s h a t U n i v e r s i t y C o l l e g e i n Swansea and now  moved t o Cambridge;  and r e v i e w e r  he has a l s o s e r v e d as a  f o r v a r i o u s j o u r n a l s i n England.  keeps the Z e i t g e i s t b e f o r e him, of  contemporary r e l e v a n c e .  has  critic  Thus he,  too,  and does not a v o i d the i s s u e  There i s evidence  the n o v e l s , t h a t Amis i s a c r i t i c i s concerned  he  then,  outside  o f s o c i e t y , and what he  w i t h i s the i n s e c u r e p o s i t i o n of the  new  6 r o o t l e s s c l a s s i n modern B r i t i s h  society.  A l t h o u g h Amis f e e l s t h a t the  14  archetype o f the  writer  o f s o c i a l p r o t e s t wrote i n the n i n e t e e n - t h i r t i e s , and chooses, as examples, men Spender and  l i k e W.  George O r w e l l ,  there  between Amis i n the f i f t i e s and the  thirties;  H.  Auden, Stephen  i s a considerable  difference  the w r i t e r s o f p r o t e s t i n  the g r e a t e s t p a r t of t h i s d i f f e r e n c e i s  Amis's b e l i e f t h a t he social situation.  cannot do v e r y much to change  Undoubtedly such a b e l i e f has  s t r o n g i n s i s t e n c e t h a t h i s own t h e i r l i t e r a r y q u a l i t i e s and  n o v e l s be r e a d  the  l e d to h i s  only f o r  to h i s a v e r s i o n t o  being  r e g a r d e d as p a r t o f a movement h a v i n g s t r o n g s o c i a l i m p l i cations.  Moreover, he  d i s l i k e s the  i d e a o f the  n o v e l b e i n g used as p o l i t i c a l propaganda, and a t e s between the  s o c i a l concerns of the  o f the p r o p a g a n d i s t , s u g g e s t i n g  satirical  differenti-  satirist  and  those  F i e l d i n g as an example  of  15 the former and  S w i f t of the l a t t e r .  y  S i n c e Amis i s concerned w i t h m o r a l i t y , he,  like  F i e l d i n g , r e q u i r e s t h a t s a t i r e make a m o r a l c o n t r i b u t i o n . Therefore, own  i t i s n e c e s s a r y t o determine t e n t a t i v e l y Amis's  moral p o s i t i o n i n o r d e r  satire.  Once such a p o s i t i o n can be  i n f l u e n c e s upon i t and s h a l l be  t o examine the q u a l i t y of  the  the r e a s o n s f o r i t determined,  able t o see how  we  f a r i n h i s work Amis keeps t o h i s  apparent moral p o s i t i o n and how presentation  a r r i v e d at and  the  of m o r a l i t y through  s u c c e s s f u l he satire.  i s i n the  To a s s i s t i n e s t a b l i s h i n g Amis's moral p o s i t i o n ,  we  can l o o k a t c e r t a i n c l e a r p a r a l l e l s i n the m o r a l i t y d i s p l a y e d i n the n o v e l s of Amis and i n those o f F i e l d i n g . It  s h o u l d not be s u r p r i s i n g , s i n c e Amis p r o f e s s e s g r e a t  a d m i r a t i o n f o r F i e l d i n g , t h a t the s a t i r e o f b o t h s h o u l d d i s p l a y a common theme, the theme o f innocence  versus  e x p e r i e n c e , and the e x e m p l i f i c a t i o n o f t h i s theme  through  the o p p o s i t i o n o f the v a l u e s o f c o u n t r y and town.  Like  F i e l d i n g , Amis sees the moral v a l u e i n the innocence  of  the u n i n i t i a t e d , and he c o n t r a s t s the e s s e n t i a l m o r a l i t y of  h i s " c o u n t r y " heroes w i t h the decadence and  the e x p e r i -  16 ence of h i s s o p h i s t i c a t e d and c i t i f i e d a n t a g o n i s t s . Moreover, b o t h authors are i n c l i n e d t o condone mere s e n s u a l i t y while r e s e r v i n g t h e i r r e a l d i s a p p r o v a l f o r hypocrisy.  I n a d d i t i o n , Amis a c c e p t s F i e l d i n g ' s d o c t r i n e  t h a t the i n d i v i d u a l has p e r s o n a l d i g n i t y and t h a t humanity must be t r e a t e d w i t h compassion. The will  f o l l o w i n g two  e x c e r p t s from That U n c e r t a i n F e e l i n g  show how these themes are handled i n Amis's n o v e l s : The l i g h t was j u s t s t a r t i n g t o go and the p a r t y was warming up. . . . when the d e n t i s t ' s m i s t r e s s , c a l l i n g out: " T h i s i s the l i f e " i n a s t a g g e r i n g l y deep v o i c e , f e l l a c r o s s h e r l o v e r ' s knees and vomited, d e f t l y and w i t h o u t f u s s , on t o the sand. The d e n t i s t remained q u i t e immobile except f o r d r i n k i n g once from h i s g l a s s w i t h a gourmet's d e l i b e r a t i o n . He s a i d t o me i n an undertone: " I warned h e r , you see. She's got t o l e a r n . Well, i t ' s not s u r p r i s i n g i n a way. Knocking the f l i p p i n g s t u f f back as i f i t was g r i p e w a t e r . '  8 I n our s i t t i n g - r o o m we found the whole o f my f a m i l y assembled. The baby, h i s upper l i p h i d d e n b e h i n d h i s lower one, was s i t t i n g on the p o t , c r y i n g steadily; E i r a was c r o u c h i n g naked w i t h h e r f a c e i n Jean's l a p , s i n g i n g as b e s t she c o u l d ; Jean, h e r s e l f a p p a r e n t l y wearing o n l y a dressing-gown was vigorously towelling Eira's hair. They'd c l e a r l y a l l been h a v i n g a b a t h t o g e t h e r , a f a v o u r i t e e n t e r tainment of t h e i r s . Around them was a m u l t i t u d e of o b j e c t s , such as might, i n a memory-test, be shown to s p e c t a t o r s f o r one minute and then withdrawn. A p a r t from c l o t h e s , a d u l t and j u v e n i l e , male and female, i r o n e d , newly washed and f i t t o be washed, t h e r e were a h a l f - e a t e n , browning a p p l e , s e v e r a l broken b i s c u i t s , a p l a s t i c d o l l , the t o r s o of a rubber d o l l , some c h i l d r e n ' s books w i t h p i c t u r e s o f c l o t h e d animals on the c o v e r s , a cup, a c a r d o f b l u e s a f e t y - p i n s , an orange w i t h one of my p e n c i l s s t u c k i n t o i t , a b o t t l e o f codl i v e r o i l , a p a i r of p l a s t i c k n i c k e r s , a l o t of s t r i n g unwound from a b a l l , a t i n of powder, a spoon, a wooden l o c o m o t i v e , some n a p p i e s i n v a r y i n g s t a t e s , the d e f a c e d c o v e r of my A s t o u n d i n g S c i e n c e F i c t i o n ., g and a l o t of o t h e r t h i n g s . " W e l l , h u l l o , " Jean s a i d . I n the f i r s t  o f these e x c e r p t s , Amis conveys a f e e l i n g  of c o l d d i s a p p r o v a l .  H i s n a r r a t o r , who  l o o k s upon the  scene  as though from some d i s t a n c e , r e l a t e s h i s i m p r e s s i o n s i n a c o o l and o r d e r l y manner. statement  The humour i s the humour o f under-  and u n h u r r i e d a n a l y s i s o f a r a t h e r g r o s s  situation.  J u s t as the d e n t i s t d r i n k s once " w i t h a gourmet's d e l i b e r a t i o n , " the pace i s slow and the a c t i v i t y on the beach i s viewed w i t h g r e a t detachment. second  On the o t h e r hand, i n the  i n c i d e n t the pace i s r a p i d and the n a r r a t o r i s con-  c e r n e d w i t h the s i t u a t i o n .  The  dirt  i s real dirt,  c o n f u s i o n e n g u l f s the o b s e r v e r , p r e v e n t i n g him arranging h i s impressions.  and  from  The humour i s warm and i s a  p r o d u c t o f t h i s immediate c o n f u s i o n ; house and h i s h a l f - e a t e n a p p l e .  The  i t i s the n a r r a t o r ' s c o n t r a s t i n the  two  incidents i s clear: through val  i n the f i r s t ,  a carefully controlled irony;  i n the second,  i s e x p r e s s e d through the n a r r a t o r ' s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n  the s i t u a t i o n .  approwith  I n the f i r s t e p i s o d e , o r d e r i s imposed upon  a chaotic situation; at  d i s a p p r o v a l i s expressed  i n t h e second,  a s i t u a t i o n , which has  i t s h e a r t a l l t h a t i s warm and v a l u e d i n t h e u n i t y o f  f a m i l y l i f e , i s s u p e r f i c i a l l y d i s a r r a n g e d and c h a o t i c . There i s no doubt upon which s i d e Amis f i n d s h i m s e l f , and his  p e r c e p t i o n i s o b v i o u s l y sharpened  by h i s a l l e g i a n c e and  by h i s e x p e r i e n c e . There i s a m o r a l i t y i m p l i e d i n Amis's h a n d l i n g o f these episodes.  We c a n see t h a t he p l a c e s h i m s e l f c l o s e t o those  v a l u e s which he c o n s i d e r s r i g h t and detaches h i m s e l f from those he c o n s i d e r s wrong.  The f i r s t  episode, r e p r e s e n t i n g  the moral environment o f E l i z a b e t h G r u f f y d d - W i l l i a m s and h e r f r i e n d s , stands i n r e l a t i o n t o t h e second  i n the same  way t h a t "town" c o u n t e r s " c o u n t r y " i n t h e n o v e l s o f Fielding.  The innocence  o f John Lewis p a r a l l e l s t h a t o f  Joseph Andrews, and the e x p e r i e n c e o f t h e m i l i e u o f E l i z a b e t h Gruffydd-Williams that of the c i t i f i e d  and  s e x u a l l y a v a r i c i o u s atmosphere o f Lady Booby's house.  Like  F i e l d i n g , Amis p u t s h i s hero i n the way o f a woman o f s u p e r i o r s o c i a l s t a t u s , who wishes t o e n t e r i n t o a s e x u a l 19 r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h him. John Lewis succumbs;  7  U n l i k e F i e l d i n g ' s Joseph Andrews,  however, he i s n o t persuaded t o  permanently abandon the v a l u e s o f innocence  f o r those  10 of  "experience." B a r b a r a Bowen, i n I L i k e I t Here, makes the  distinction  between "town" and " c o u n t r y " i n a l e t t e r t o Bowen.  She  says, I do wish you d i d n ' t f e e l so t i e d t o London the whole time, what a g h a s t l y p l a c e i t i s , everyone l e a d i n g u n n a t u r a l l i v e s and a l l o f them p e r f e c t l y m i s e r a b l e , you can f e e l i t as soon as you a r r i v e i n the p l a c e , . . . .20 B a r b a r a suggests t h a t t h e y take a c o t t a g e i n the  country  f o r week-ends and l i s t s some p a s t o r a l p l e a s u r e s t o be enjoyed t h e r e .  I n h e r r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h h e r husband,  she  has what C. P. Snow c a l l s the "moral i n i t i a t i v e , " and  can  be r e g a r d e d as p r e s s u r i n g Bowen t o do good.  Hence, h e r  view o f London as an u n n a t u r a l p l a c e and as the p l a c e o f e x p e r i e n c e , which c o r r u p t s the i n n o c e n t and good B wens, 0  develops  t h i s theme.  Amis seems v e r y c l o s e t o F i e l d i n g i n h i s examination  of  s e x u a l m o r a l i t y as w e l l as i n h i s d i s t i n c t i o n between i n n o cence and e x p e r i e n c e .  I n That U n c e r t a i n F e e l i n g ,  Lewis i s not s e v e r e l y p u n i s h e d  f o r h i s adultery;  John indeed  he  resumes h i s f a m i l y l i f e which, a t the end o f the n o v e l , seems on a more s o l i d f o u n d a t i o n than i t was ning.  a t the b e g i n -  Ian Watt p o i n t s out t h a t F i e l d i n g does n o t s e v e r e l y  p u n i s h the s e x u a l t r a n s g r e s s i o n s of Tom  Jones or o f h i s  o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s , and suggests t h a t t h e r e i s c o n s i d e r a b l e j u s t i f i c a t i o n i n F o r d Madox F o r d ' s view t h a t . . . f e l l o w s l i k e F i e l d i n g , and t o some e x t e n t Thackeray, who p r e t e n d t h a t i f you are a gay  11 d r u n k a r d , l e c h e r , squanderer o f y o u r goods and fumbler i n p l a c k e t h o l e s y o u w i l l e v e n t u a l l y f i n d a benevolent u n c l e , c o n c e a l e d f a t h e r o r b e n e f a c t o r who w i l l shower on you bags o f t e n thousands o f guineas, e s t a t e s , and the hands o f adorable m i s t r e s s e s — these f e l l o w s a r e dangers t o t h e body p o l i t i c and h o r r i b l y bad c o n s t r u c t o r s o f plots.21 One  might p o s s i b l y a p p l y Ford's  statement t o Amis.  That U n c e r t a i n F e e l i n g , t h e r o l e o f "benevolent  In  uncle" i s  p l a y e d by the h e r o ' s f a t h e r , who, a l t h o u g h he does n o t p r o v i d e r i c h e s , o f f e r s t h e o p p o r t u n i t y o f peace and s e c u r i t y i n the r e t u r n t o t h e innocence o f " c o u n t r y " v a l u e s .  The  t r a n s g r e s s i o n s o f P a t r i c k S t a n d i s h i n Take a G i r l L i k e You a l s o go unpunished, and, a t the c o n c l u s i o n o f the n o v e l , his  p l a c e i n the a f f e c t i o n s o f Jenny Bunn i s s e c u r e .  Still,  d e s p i t e appearances, one would be m i s t a k e n i n i n f e r r i n g from the b e h a v i o u r  o f t h e h e r o e s i n the n o v e l s o f F i e l d i n g  and Amis t h a t t h e authors i s more important  approve o f s e x u a l i m m o r a l i t y .  t o see t h a t b o t h n o v e l i s t s suggest  It  very  s t r o n g l y t h a t h a t r e d , v i n d i c t i v e n e s s , m a l i c e and h y p o c r i s y are s i n s c o n s i d e r a b l y more s e r i o u s than s e x u a l  incontinence.  Amis f e e l s t h a t t h e i s s u e s were made c l e a r e r i n F i e l d i n g ' s n o v e l s than they a r e i n contemporary The  reality.  hero o f I L i k e I t Here, Garnet Bowen, muses, on t h e  o c c a s i o n o f a v i s i t t o F i e l d i n g ' s tomb: And how e n v i a b l e t o l i v e i n t h e world o f h i s n o v e l s , where d u t y was p l a i n , e v i l arose out o f malevolence and a s t a r v i n g w a y f a r e r c o u l d be i n v i t e d i n d o o r s without h e s i t a t i o n and without f e a r . D i d t h a t make i t a s i m p l i f i e d world? Perhaps, b u t t h a t h a r d l y m a t t e r e d b e s i d e t h e e x i s t e n c e o f a moral s e r i o u s n e s s  12 t h a t c o u l d he made apparent without the a i d o f e v a n g e l i c a l p u f f i n g and blowing.22 C l e a r l y , Amis approves o f a f i c t i o n a l w o r l d i n which d u t y i s p l a i n and v i r t u e rewarded, and he t r e a t s h i s own characters  w i t h t h e k i n d o f s i m p l i c i t y he here  admires;  J i m Dixon i s rewarded by t h e "benevolent u n c l e , " GoreU r q u h a r t , and John Lewis f i n d s some h a p p i n e s s i n homely values.  I n c o n s t r u c t i n g h i s n o v e l s i n t h i s way, Amis,  l i k e F i e l d i n g , has a l i g n e d h i m s e l f w i t h the v a l u e s o f innocence as opposed t o those o f e x p e r i e n c e .  When Amis  i s r e g a r d e d as a s o c i a l c r i t i c as w e l l as a n o v e l i s t , i t i s f a i r t o say that h i s innocent heroes represent the v i r t u e s and the d e f e c t s  o f t h e new r o o t l e s s c l a s s i n  B r i t i s h s o c i e t y , and the " e x p e r i e n c e d ,  11  t o whom t h e y a r e  opposed, those v a l u e s o f t h a t segment o f s o c i e t y which i s in control. Amis, t h e n , p u t s h i s s o c i a l c r i t i c i s m i n t o s a t i r e ;  he  f e e l s t h a t we a r e i n f o r a g o l d e n age o f s a t i r e and t h a t t h i s i s a good t h i n g . laughter"  He says t h a t we need "savage  and t h a t  S a t i r e o f f e r s a s o c i a l and moral c o n t r i b u t i o n . A c u l t u r e w i t h o u t s a t i r e i s a c u l t u r e without s e l f - c r i t i c i s m and t h u s , u l t i m a t e l y , without humanity•23 He d e f i n e s attacks  s a t i r e i n i t s modern form as " f i c t i o n  that  v i c e and f o l l y as m a n i f e s t e d i n t h e i n d i v i d u a l , "  24  and i n h i s a d m i r a t i o n o f F i e l d i n g he suggests t h a t we a r e i n the g r i p of a F i e l d i n g r e v i v a l .  Once a g a i n , w i t h t h i s  13 admiration his  as a c l u e , we  work and  can f i n d more p a r a l l e l s between  t h a t of F i e l d i n g .  L i k e F i e l d i n g ' s , Amis's m o r a l i t y i n s i s t s upon r e g a r d for  the  individual.  catalogues  Speaking of P e t e r de V r i e s , Amis  the areas which are the p r o p e r b u s i n e s s  s a t i r i s t and  those q u a l i t i e s i n s a t i r e which he  of  the  admires:  A f f e c t a t i o n and i r r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , s e l f - d r a m a t i z a t i o n and s e l f - p i t y are h i s t a r g e t s , and the g a i e t y o f the whole performance e v i n c e s a r a r e s k i l l and i n t e g r i t y . T h i s i s what the s a t i r i s t works toward and seldom achieves.25 H i s statement e x h i b i t s a s t r i k i n g s i m i l a r i t y of i d e a expression  and  to F i e l d i n g ' s d i c t u m t h a t  The o n l y source of the t r u e R i d i c u l o u s (as i t appears t o me) i s a f f e c t a t i o n . But though i t a r i s e s from one s p r i n g o n l y , when we c o n s i d e r the i n f i n i t e streams i n t o which t h i s one branches, we s h a l l p r e s e n t l y cease to admire at the c o p i o u s f i e l d i t a f f o r d s t o an o b s e r v e r . Now, a f f e c t a t i o n proceeds from one of these two causes, v a n i t y o r h y p o c r i s y : . . . .26 F i e l d i n g goes on to s t a t e t h a t . . . from a f f e c t a t i o n o n l y , the m i s f o r t u n e s and c a l a m i t i e s of l i f e , o r the i m p e r f e c t i o n s of n a t u r e , may become the o b j e c t s o f r i d i c u l e . S u r e l y he h a t h a v e r y i l l - f r a m e d mind who can l o o k on u g l i n e s s , i n f i r m i t y , o r p o v e r t y , as r i d i c u l o u s i n thems e l v e s : . . . .27 Amis l o o k s a t the b a s i s of s a t i r e i n the F i e l d i n g does;  same way  as  he r e q u i r e s a moral p o s i t i o n i n o r d e r  to  d e f i n e a f f e c t a t i o n and F i e l d i n g ' s Tom  irresponsibility.  Just  Jones i s a hero because he has  w i t h good i m p u l s e s ,  as been born  so Amis's h e r o e s depend upon t h e i r  good impulses f o r t h e i r moral s t a t u r e .  29 ?  Amis i n s i s t s  14 upon t h e d i g n i t y o f t h e i n d i v i d u a l and upon what c a n be called  "common decency."  A short s t o r y e n t i t l e d  F i b e r , " which i s n o t so much a r e j e c t e d c h a p t e r  "Moral as a  r e j e c t e d theme f o r That U n c e r t a i n F e e l i n g , p o i n t s values his  clearly.  I n i t the h e r o , John Lewis, demonstrates  sympathy f o r a young t r o l l o p .  C h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y , Amis  uses a domestic example t o i n t r o d u c e sonal  these  t h i s musing on p e r -  morality:  . . . I thought f i r s t how funny i t was t h a t a f a l l e n woman — r e a l l y f a l l e n now, r i g h t smack over f u l l l e n g t h — s h o u l d t a l k t o a c h i l d i n j u s t the same s t y l e as t h e p e r p e n d i c u l a r l y u p r i g h t went i n f o r . But t h e n presumably t h e r e were p a r t s o f t h e f a l l e n t h a t were bound t o remain u n f a l i e n , q u i t e important p a r t s too.30 The  s t o r y d e a l s w i t h t h e d i f f i c u l t y i n d e c i d i n g what i s  good f o r o t h e r p e o p l e and c o n c l u d e s t h a t imposing one's own moral s t a n d a r d s upon o t h e r s i s p r o b a b l y  immoral.  Amis f e e l s  t h a t what we s h o u l d do i s g i v e u n d e r s t a n d i n g and k i n d n e s s r a t h e r than t r y t o convert.  Dismissing  o f the s o c i a l worker t o c o n v e r t  the f u t i l e  the young g i r l  attempts  t o middle  c l a s s r e s p e c t a b i l i t y , a t the s t o r y ' s end the n a r r a t o r muses: What i f a n y t h i n g s h o u l d o r c o u i d be done about B e t t y , and who i f anyone s h o u l d o r c o u l d do i t and how — t h a t was t h e r e a l s t u f f . I was s o r r y to t h i n k how i m p o s s i b l e i t was f o r me t o t u r n up at the g a o l on the b i g day, h o l d i n g a bunch o f f l o w e r s and a new p l a s t i c u m b r e l l a . 3 1 I n h i s poem "Act o f K i n d n e s s , " Amis t r e a t s the same idea: To r e a l l y g i v e the r e a l l y v a l u a b l e , Or o f f e r the l a s t c i g a r e t t e ,  15  When shops a r e shut, t o the u n g r a t e f u l , Or p r a i s e o u r b e t t e r s — w i s h i n g , we f o r g e t That a n y t h i n g we own i s n e a r l y c a s h , And t o have l e s s o f i t i s dead l o s s , That unshared c i g a r e t t e s a r e smoke and a s h , That p r a i s e i s g r o s s . Not g i v i n g s h o u l d be n o t l i v i n g ; how t o l i v e , How t o d e a l w i t h any wish t o g i v e When the g i f t gets s t u c k t o our f i n g e r s ? We g i v e n o t h i n g we have, So s m i l i n g a t s t r a n g e r s Best s u i t s our book — t h e y cannot t e l l Our own from a n o t h e r ' s words; generous With common p r o p e r t y we seem a i m i a b l e ; Not t o draw a k n i f e Looks l i k e an a c t o f k i n d n e s s , And i s , a c t e d t o the l i f e . 3 2 J i m Dixon,  o f Lucky Jim, i s a b l e t o extend  k i n d n e s s t o Margaret  P e e l , b u t he f i n d s h i m s e l f i n a  r e l a t i o n s h i p i n which any g i f t , stood.  an a c t o f  any s h a r i n g , i s misunder-  Jim h i m s e l f d e s c r i b e s t h i s , e a r l y i n the n o v e l :  She had been known t o i n t e r p r e t some o f h i s l a z i e s t or most h u r t f u l a c t i o n s o r i n a c t i o n s i n t h i s l i g h t [as k i n d n e s s ] , though n o t , o f c o u r s e , as o f t e n as she'd i n t e r p r e t e d some g e s t u r e o f support as l a z y or h u r t f u l . 3 3 Margaret  i s t h e k i n d o f woman who l i v e s , as one o f the  c h a r a c t e r s i n t h e n o v e l s u g g e s t s , upon e m o t i o n a l t e n s i o n . J i m has been drawn i n t o the r e l a t i o n s h i p by . . . a combination o f v i r t u e s he hadn't known he possessed: politeness, f r i e n d l y interest, ordinary c o n c e r n , a good-natured w i l l i n g n e s s t o be imposed upon, a d e s i r e f o r u n e q u i v o c a l f r i e n d s h i p . He remains i n t h e d e s t r o y i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p because o f a combination  o f weakness and decency, and he v o l u n t a r i l y  renounces C h r i s t i n e , the a t t r a c t i v e g i r l who does  interest  16 him,  i n Margaret's favour;  y e t u l t i m a t e l y , he i s a b l e ,  by a c o m b i n a t i o n o f l u c k and d e s i g n , t o break f r e e o f h e r . I t does n o t s a y a g r e a t d e a l f o r h i s p e r s o n a l  morality  t h a t he jumps a t t h e chance t o j u s t i f y abandoning Margaret i n order t o p r o t e c t himself; he  l u c k has f r e e d him from what  c a l l s " p i t y ' s adhesive p l a s t e r . " Other Amis c h a r a c t e r s c a n be found who support  more s t r o n g l y the v a l u e s o f common decency.  even  Throughout t h e  n o v e l I L i k e I t Here we a r e t r e a t e d t o a good d e a l o f Garnet Bowen* s o b j e c t i o n s t o the c l a s s and economic system i n P o r t u g a l and by e x t e n s i o n t o t h a t i n E n g l a n d . conception  Such a  o f Bowen's c h a r a c t e r p a r a l l e l s t h a t o f John  Lewis o f That U n c e r t a i n F e e l i n g who a l i g n s h i m s e l f  firmly 55  w i t h the n a t u r a l decency o f h i s working c l a s s f r i e n d s . J u s t as o f t e n , however, a l l t h r e e h e r o e s f a i l s i v e l y according to t h e i r professed  to act deci-  allegiance.  Amis  appears t o d e f i n e decency i n terms o f t h e k i n d o f b e h a v i o u r and  the v a l u e s which he i s a g a i n s t r a t h e r t h a n showing  u n e q u i v o c a l l y through h i s h e r o e s ' b e h a v i o u r what he stands for. Thus i n I L i k e I t Here i t i s B a r b a r a Bowen who has t h e "moral i n i t i a t i v e " i n h e r r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h h e r husband and  i t i s she who i n s i s t s t h a t he keep common decency b e f o r e  him  as a guide t o h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h o t h e r s .  see, he i s n o t always i n c l i n e d t o do t h i s . the n o v e l , however, he s u p p o r t s  But as we  A t t h e end o f  h e r view and, i n s u p p o r t i n g  S t r e t h e r , does the r i g h t t h i n g though perhaps f o r t h e wrong  17 reasons;  t h e book c o n c l u d e s by a f f i r m i n g the v a l u e s o f  decency more o r l e s s  satisfactorily.  O f t e n t h e n i t i s Amis's h e r o i n e s who s e t t h e moral They, l i k e  line.  B a r b a r a Bowen, and Jean Lewis i n That U n c e r t a i n  F e e l i n g , have a c o n s i s t e n t moral view and t h e h e r o e s , i n a c c e p t i n g t h a t t h e i r women have the"moral eventually acquiesce.  initiative,"  Even C h r i s t i n e , o f Lucky  Jim.  p o o r l y c h a r a c t e r i z e d as she i s , d i s p l a y s human u n d e r s t a n d i n g and a p e r c e p t i o n o f f a i r n e s s , a f a i r n e s s which i s c l e a r l y p u t i n terms which J i m can u n d e r s t a n d . for  She p r e s s e s money  a t a x i f a r e upon him i n such a way as t o show t h a t she  i s c l e a r l y i n c o n t r o l o f the s i t u a t i o n : She pushed t h e money i n t o h i s o u t s i d e b r e a s t p o c k e t , f r o w n i n g , p u r s i n g h e r l i p s and waggling h e r l e f t hand t o s i l e n c e him i n a g e s t u r e t h a t reminded him o f one o f h i s aunts f o r c i n g sweets o r an apple on him i n h i s c h i l d h o o d . 'I've p r o b a b l y got more t h a n you have,' she s a i d . She p r o p e l l e d him t o t h e window, which t h e y reached j u s t as Welch's v o i c e , i n i t s h i g h - p i t c h e d , manic phase, became a u d i b l e not so f a r away. 'Quick. See y o u on Tuesday. Good-night.'36 I n Take A G i r l L i k e You i t i s Jenny Bunn, another o f Amis's women who have t h e "moral i n i t i a t i v e "  i n their  r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h o t h e r s , who sees l i f e i n terms o f decency  and human u n d e r s t a n d i n g and,  i n h e r treatment o f  o t h e r s , p l a c e s a h i g h v a l u e upon k i n d n e s s and c o n s i d e r a t i o n . We c a n t e n t a t i v e l y s u p p l y Amis's moral p o s i t i o n which depends upon t h e way i n which Amis p r e s e n t s h i s c h a r a c t e r s . I f we assume t h a t Amis s e t s the v a l u e s o f decency,  that i s ,  k i n d n e s s and c o n s i d e r a t i o n and t h e p r e s e r v a t i o n o f human  18 dignity,  above those o f opportunism, and i t does n o t seem  t o be a d i f f i c u l t  assumption t o make, we can t h e n see  where h i s heroes conform t o Amis's and where t h e y f a l l their falling  short of i t .  i d e a o f common decency I f Amis seems t o  s h o r t i n c e r t a i n s i t u a t i o n s , we  can  h i s i m p r e s s i o n o f decency and e s t a b l i s h h i s moral more  exactly.  justify re-define position  CHAPTER I I The Hero and the M o r a l Code  I f we know t h a t Amis f e e l s decency t o he connected w i t h the p e r c e p t i o n o f the needs o f o t h e r s and one's own d u t y towards them, we c a n show how f a r he p r e s e n t s each o f h i s heroes as a decent man and whether,  despite  o c c a s i o n a l abandonment o f common decency, each f o l l o w s some c o n s i s t e n t code.  B e g i n n i n g w i t h J i m Dixon, whose  b a s i c decency can be seen i n h i s t r e a t m e n t o f Margaret P e e l , one c a n attempt t o e s t a b l i s h the moral code  against  which Amis's heroes s h o u l d be judged. P r i m a r i l y , J i m Dixon is, an honest man who does t r y t o f o l l o w a c o n s i s t e n t moral code, a t the base o f which can be found F i e l d i n g ' s themes o f innocence v e r s u s e x p e r i e n c e . Amis i s c l e a r i n d i s s o c i a t i n g decent b e h a v i o u r from the code o f the gentleman and, as we have seen, i n s i s t s  that  common decency i s a v i r t u e t o be found i n the common man; •57 J i m D i x o n i s such a common man. '  Moreover, he i s an  example o f the " s c h o l a r s h i p boy" from a lower middle  class  background who f i n d s h i m s e l f i n a p o s i t i o n and i n an o c c u p a t i o n which, b e f o r e World War I I , was almost e x c l u s i v e l y t h e p r e s e r v e o f t h e gentleman.  In this  s i t u a t i o n Amis i s anxious t o e s t a b l i s h Dixon's  credentials  20  as an i n n o c e n t , as a " c o u n t r y boy" and as an honest man. Dixon i s i n s i s t e n t upon h i s " f l a t n o r t h e r n v o i c e " and he f e e l s c l o s e t o members o f the working c l a s s because here h i s n a t u r a l sympathy of c l a s s .  operates, r a t h e r than a consciousness  He says o f a barmaid:  He thought how much he l i k e d h e r and had i n common w i t h h e r , and how much she'd l i k e and have i n common w i t h him i f she o n l y knew him.  38  Even when s t r i p p e d o f t h e obvious s e x u a l innuendo,  this  passage demonstrates the same f e e l i n g o f k i n s h i p t h a t  John  Lewis u l t i m a t e l y f e e l s f o r Ken D a v i s i n That U n c e r t a i n Feeling.  Moreover, J i m Dixon r e j e c t s h i g h c u l t u r e ;  he  speaks o f a p i e c e o f music as "some s k e i n o f u n t i r i n g f a c e t i o u s n e s s by f i l t h y Mozart," hence s t a n d i n g opposed t o B e r t r a n d Welch, the a r t i s t . emphasize  The c o n t r a s t s e r v e s t o  the moral d i f f e r e n c e between B e r t r a n d and J i m .  B e r t r a n d Welch i s out t o grab those t h i n g s which he wants; e x p l a i n i n g h i s own moral p o s i t i o n , he s a y s : 'I'm h a v i n g C h r i s t i n e because i t ' s my r i g h t . Do you understand that? I f I'm a f t e r something, I don't care what I do t o make sure t h a t I get i t . That's the o n l y law I abide by: i t ' s t h e o n l y way t o g e t things i n t h i s world.'39 The f a c t t h a t J i m Dixon d i s a p p r o v e s o f t h i s moral p o s i t i o n does n o t make him a paragon o f m o r a l i t y , even though h i s s t r o n g e s t p o i n t o f d i s a p p r o v a l i s B e r t r a n d ' s hypocrisy.  He does demonstrate, however, h i s simple  decency, by s a y i n g : 'And you're so d i s h o n e s t t h a t you can t e l l me how important C h r i s t i n e i s t o y o u w i t h o u t i t e n t e r i n g  21 your head t h a t you're c a r r y i n g on w i t h some o t h e r chap's w i f e a l l the t i m e . I t ' s not j u s t t h a t t h a t I o b j e c t t o ; i t ' s the way you never seem t o r e f l e c t how i n s i n c e r e . ...'4-0 Thus i n s i n c e r i t y and w i l l i n g n e s s to harm o t h e r s are what Jim o b j e c t s t o most s t r o n g l y i n B e r t r a n d ' s b e h a v i o u r , Amis i n d i c a t e s t h a t no one  s h o u l d take the p o s i t i o n t h a t  the w o r l d i s o r g a n i z e d e n t i r e l y f o r h i s own arrange h i s own  life  and  accordingly.  benefit,  Consequently  h i s hero t o r e a c t v i o l e n t l y a g a i n s t t h i s s o r t o f  he  and  allows  behaviour  41 when he f i n d s i t , him  and Dixon f i g h t s w i t h B e r t r a n d , b e a t i n g  thoroughly. D e s p i t e h i s g r o p i n g towards a l t r u i s m , Jim remains a  c h i l d i s h f o o l w i t h s p e c i a l needs, who exceed  f e e l s t h a t he  the bounds of c o n v e n t i o n a l b e h a v i o u r ,  s a t i s f y those needs.  can  i n order to  H i s c h i l d i s h n e s s i s demonstrated by  the f a c e s he makes i n times o f i n s e c u r i t y or  stress,  a p p a r e n t l y r e l i e v i n g h i s f r u s t r a t i o n and annoyance i n t h i s 4-2 immature f a s h i o n . Trapped i n t o an unwelcome s o c i a l engagement by h i s p r o f e s s o r , Jim, r e s p o n d i n g t o a j o k e , . . . t r i e d t o f l a i l h i s f e a t u r e s i n t o some s o r t of response t o humour. M e n t a l l y , however, he was making a d i f f e r e n t f a c e and p r o m i s i n g h i m s e l f he'd make i t a c t u a l l y when next a l o n e . He'd draw h i s lower l i p i n under h i s t o p t e e t h and by degrees r e t r a c t h i s c h i n as f a r as p o s s i b l e , a l l t h i s w h i l e d i l a t i n g h i s eyes and n o s t r i l s . By these means he would, he was c o n f i d e n t , cause a deep and dangerous f l u s h t o s u f f u s e h i s face.43 Viewed a l o n g w i t h Jim's c o n s c i o u s n e s s t h a t h i s motives w i l l be m i s i n t e r p r e t e d , such f a c e s r e f l e c t h i s i n s e c u r i t y  22 about h i s p e r s o n a l i t y , about t h e f a c e he p r e s e n t s world. the  t o the  These f a c e s a r e , i n a sense, s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e i n  same way t h a t a good d e a l o f h i s b o o r i s h  behaviour i s s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e .  social  Jim's l a c k o f c o n f i d e n c e  about h i s p l a c e i n s o c i e t y l e a d s him i n t o a p a t t e r n o f b e h a v i o u r which i s o u t s i d e the bounds o f c o n v e n t i o n a l s o c i a l behaviour; hole  f o r i n s t a n c e , when drunk, he burns a  i n Welch's guest-room b e d d i n g and attempts t o cover  up the damage by an e l a b o r a t e and t r a n s p a r e n t t h a n t o make a c o n v e n t i o n a l  ruse  rather  and s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d a p o l o g y .  T h i s a c t i o n l e a d s him i n t o a web o f d e c e p t i o n which works to  h i s s o c i a l disadvantage.  H i s shyness and s o c i a l  i n e p t i t u d e make him c h r o n i c a l l y unable t o a p o l o g i z e ; example, a f t e r i n a d v e r t e n t l y k i c k i n g a stone  for  at a colleague,  he r e a l i z e s t h a t As always on such o c c a s i o n s , he'd wanted t o a p o l o g i z e but had found, when i t came t o i t , t h a t he was t o o frightened t o . 4 4  F r u s t r a t e d and incompetent, J i m f i n d s l i f e  little  better  t h a n " p r e d i c t e d boredom" and, i n a r a t h e r c h i l d i s h way, wants t o d e c l i n e h i s s o c i a l o b l i g a t i o n s . appears l i t t l e  I n t h i s he  l e s s c y n i c a l and s e l f - c e n t r e d than  Bertrand  as he wishes f o r a . . . f i e r c e p u r g i n g draught o f f u r y o r contempt, a r e a l l y e f f i c i e n t worming from the sense o f responsibility. 5 4  A l t h o u g h J i m i s b a s i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t from B e r t r a n d he f e e l s h i m s e l f h o l l o w  i n that  and wishes f o r a change whereas  23Bertrand  presumably does n o t ,  such b e h a v i o u r and such an  a t t i t u d e have l e d c r i t i c s l i k e Somerset Maugham t o see and  the  o t h e r h e r o e s o f h i s k i n d as men  Jim  who  . . . have no manners and are w o e f u l l y unable t o d e a l w i t h any s o c i a l p r e d i c a m e n t . T h e i r i d e a of c e l e b r a t i o n i s to go t o a p u b l i c house and d r i n k s i x b e e r s . They are mean, m a l i c i o u s and e n v i o u s . . . . C h a r i t y , k i n d l i n e s s , g e n e r o s i t y , are q u a l i t i e s which t h e y h o l d i n contempt. They are scum.4-6 The  case f o r s e e i n g Jim Dixon's e g o c e n t r i c i t y as more  i n t e n s e t h a n t h a t of any i s strong.  of the men  o f whom he  When opposed i n h i s d e s i r e s , he  disapproves  can be  bitterly  v i n d i c t i v e as i s shown by such a c t i o n s as h i s m a l i c i o u s burning  of Evan Johns's i n s u r a n c e  policies.  Perhaps  one  can suggest i n m i t i g a t i o n t h a t h i s b e h a v i o u r i s m o t i v a t e d by h i s awareness t h a t s o c i e t y cannot p u n i s h Johns's k i n d malice  and  t h a t Jim i s t a k i n g j u s t i c e i n t o h i s own  Indeed, Jim f e e l s t h a t he  a great d e a l of  47  '  hands.  i s alone a g a i n s t the world, t h a t  h i s m o t i v e s are m i s i n t e r p r e t e d , excess of h i s crimes;  of  t h a t he  i s punished i n  c o n s e q u e n t l y he manages t o generate  self-pity:  I t was a b i t rough t o be r e p r o a c h e d f o r h a n k e r i n g a f t e r what he'd v o l u n t a r i l y t u r n e d down. H i s s p i r i t s were so low t h a t he wanted t o l i e down and pant l i k e a dog: j o b l e s s , C h r i s t i n e l e s s , and now grand-slammed i n the Margaret game.^8 Yet  Jim l o n g s f o r m a t e r i a l s u c c e s s and  i n d i v i d u a l s who,  u n l i k e h i m s e l f , can manipulate the  system and manoeuver w i t h i n i t i n o r d e r own  ends.  admires those  His admiration  to achieve  f o r Gore-Urquhart, the  social their  forceful  24  and s u c c e s s f u l b u s i n e s s man,  i s c l e a r , as i s h i s a d m i r a t i o n  f o r A t k i n s o n , h i s c y n i c a l and detached  fellow-boarder.  What J i m admires i s j u s t t h i s c y n i c i s m and detachment, the f a c t t h a t A t k i n s o n has been s u c c e s s f u l l y wormed from r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and can be u n i q u e l y h i m s e l f : There was a l o n g pause w h i l e A t k i n s o n l o o k e d c e n s o r i o u s l y round the room, a f a m i l i a r e x e r c i s e . Dixon l i k e d and r e v e r e d him f o r h i s a i r o f d e t e s t i n g everything that presented i t s e l f to h i s senses, and of not meaning to l e t t h i s d e t e s t a t i o n become s t a l e d by custom.4-9 Success  and s e l f - s a t i s f a c t i o n d i c t a t e Jim's a c t i o n s t o a  g r e a t e r degree than i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h the moral code which Amis s e t s up f o r him, behaviour Bertrand s 1  a m o r a l code r e p r e s e n t e d by h i s  towards Margaret selfishness.  and by h i s o p p o s i t i o n t o  Amis p r e s e n t s Jim as a s o r t  homme moyen s e n s u e l . but i n p e r m i t t i n g excesses  of  of  selfish-  n e s s , he i s i n danger of f a i l i n g t o convince us of Jim's b a s i c decency. He  i s more s u c c e s s f u l w i t h the c h a r a c t e r o f John Lewis  i n That U n c e r t a i n F e e l i n g .  Lewis,  l i k e Jim, assumes such  r o l e s as s p e a k i n g w i t h the v o i c e and accent o f a C a r d i f f r a d i o announcer i n o r d e r t o d i s g u i s e h i s i n s e c u r i t y i n society.  D u r i n g a few minutes' i n c o n s e q u e n t i a l f l i r t i n g a t  the n o v e l ' s end, he admits says: He  " I t was  t o t h i s r o l e - p l a y i n g when he  l i k e o l d t i m e s , back w i t h my r o l e s a g a i n . "  i n d u l g e s i n a n t i c s over the t e l e p h o n e , and l e a d s a  h i g h l y developed  fantasy l i f e  j u s t as J i m Dixon  does.  25 In  a d d i t i o n , he r e v e a l s h i s i n s e c u r i t y i n h i s extreme  dislike  of b e i n g out alone a t n i g h t .  demonstrates  However, John  Lewis  a considerable step forward i n character  development. A l t h o u g h Amis's c h a r a c t e r s do n o t seem t o d e v e l o p v e r y much w i t h i n each n o v e l , m a i n t a i n i n g the same b a s i c  attitude  to m o r a l i t y and t o s o c i e t y a t each n o v e l ' s end as a t i t s b e g i n n i n g , t h e y do, however, develop from n o v e l t o n o v e l . At  the end o f That U n c e r t a i n F e e l i n g , John Lewis, l i k e  Dixon, f a i l s  t o show unaided any e x p l i c i t  Jim  awareness of h i s  moral p o s i t i o n , a l t h o u g h he i s much more capable than Jim of  w r e s t l i n g w i t h moral i s s u e s and Amis makes those  more e x p l i c i t  f o r him.  issues  Amis's treatment of John Lewis  a c h a r a c t e r i s more c l e a r , t h e n , i n i t s moral t h a n i s h i s treatment o f J i m Dixon.  as  orientation  John Lewis i s f o r c e d ,  and i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g t o see t h a t he i s f o r c e d by p r e s s u r e from h i s w i f e , Jean, i n t o some awareness of the difficulties  p r e s e n t e d by h i s b e h a v i o u r .  the "moral i n i t i a t i v e , "  moral  His wife, having  u l t i m a t e l y f o r c e s him i n t o a p o s i -  t i o n where he senses t h a t h i s a d u l t e r y i s wrong and i n t o s t a t e o f mind which enables him,  a  at the n o v e l ' s end, t o  r e j e c t f i r m l y the advances o f y e t a n o t h e r woman.  At the  same time he r e t u r n s t o the i n n o c e n t " c o u n t r y " v a l u e s as he s t a t e s h i s p r e f e r e n c e f o r beer over d r y s h e r r y , a beverage  which he seems t o c o n s i d e r e f f e t e and u p p e r - c l a s s :  26' "That woman. I had t o g e t away from t h a t woman. So I got away from h e r . Crude h u t e f f e c t i v e , you know. W e ' l l have a couple a t t h e F o r e s t e r s on t h e way home. Not d r y s h e r r y , though. I t i s n ' t my d r i n k a t a l l . " 5 0 E a r l i e r i n t h e n o v e l , John Lewis i s shown t o be b a s i c a l l y a decent man who l i k e s t h e working f e e l s t h a t i t s members c a n p o s s e s s which h i s "smart" f r i e n d s  c l a s s and  an i n t r i n s i c  virtue  lack:  I thought how much I l i k e d him, [ a working c l a s s a c q u a i n t a n c e ] as he s t o o d t h e r e i n h i s mucked-up f i n e r y , n o t i n q u i r i n g why I had these o r any c i g a r e t t e s on me, n o t wondering how I ' d happened to be out a t t h i s t i m e , n o t t h i n k i n g t h e r e was a n y t h i n g odd about a n y t h i n g , n o t above a l l , knowing o r c a r i n g a n y t h i n g whatsoever about E l i z a b e t h o r G r u f f y d d - W i l l i a m s o r Whetstone o r Theo James o r P r o b e r t o r G l o r i a n a o r S t a n Johns or Margot Johns o r t h e d e n t i s t o r t h e d e n t i s t ' s mistress or B i l l Evans.51 Amis t a k e s p r e d i c t a b l e c a r e t o a l i g n Lewis w i t h t h e v a l u e s o f " c o u n t r y " and innocence e x p e r i e n c e , t h u s conforming b a s i c theme. virtue  over those  of "town" and  t o h i s acceptance  That John Lewis equates  of Fielding's  "country" values with  i s seen as he comments upon t h e p u b l i c a n who s e r v e s  d r i n k " w i t h c o u r t e s y and a s t r o n g A b e r d a r c y  accent,  twin  52  stars of v i r t u e .  n y  L i k e J i m Dixon, he r e a c t s s t r o n g l y  a g a i n s t t h e phoney, and, i n G a r e t h P r o b e r t , Amis has c r e a t e d a f o i l whose resemblance t o B e r t r a n d Welch i s clear.  P r o b e r t i s t h e d i s h o n e s t a r t i s t who d i s p e n s e s  p s e u d o - l o c a l - c u l t u r e and t a k e s from t h e w o r l d what he c a n get. his  John Lewis,  like  Jim, i s a n t i - c u l t u r a l ,  preferring  S c i e n c e F i c t i o n and sex magazines t o t h e meagre s t o c k  o f books t h a t he has r e t a i n e d from h i s s t u d e n t days o r those a v a i l a b l e a t the l i b r a r y where he works. point strongly;  Amis makes t h i s  speaking of an i l l u s t r a t e d weekly which  f e a t u r e s a sensuous p i c t u r e of a g i r l , Lewis says: I f o n l y t h i s paper and i t s two c o m p e t i t o r s came out once an hour i n s t e a d of once o r t w i c e a week, without i m p a i r i n g the r i g o u r o f t h e i r s t a n d a r d s , s o l i t a r y evenings, and many o t h e r t h i n g s , would be q u i t e endurable. But John Lewis's alignment  w i t h decent v a l u e s i s not  founded o n l y on h i s awareness of h i s s o c i a l and position.  cultural  He makes l e s s attempt than Jim Dixon t o a v o i d  the moral problems which f a c e him.  H i s s t r o n g e s t moral  s t a n d i s on the i n i q u i t y of " l o g - r o l l i n g . " G r u f f y d d - W i l l i a m s , w i t h whom he  Elizabeth  i s h a v i n g an a f f a i r , uses  h e r i n f l u e n c e and t h a t o f h e r husband t o o b t a i n a p r o m o t i o n f o r him.  H i s acquiescence  o b t a i n s the promotion, he  i s v e r y uneasy and,  although  he  l a t e r t u r n s the j o b down.  Throughout, he expresses h i s d i s a p p r o v a l of the methods used, i n such e x p r e s s i o n s as ". . . but t o get i t by  a  54-  d i r t y p i e c e of j o b b e r y l i k e t h a t . . . ." o b j e c t s t o " l o g - r o l l i n g " because he  John Lewis  sees i t as the  unfair  e x e r c i s e o f power which d e p r i v e s the i n d i v i d u a l o f the r i g h t t o be judged John Lewis has  on h i s i n d i v i d u a l m e r i t s . a positive dislike  o f power;  speaking  o f h i s c o l l e a g u e J e n k i n s , he s a y s : Somewhere i n him t h e r e was a man who admired and wanted power, the one aspect of him I had a n y t h i n g l e s s than a f f e c t i o n f o r . 5 5  28 In Amis's view, one it  w i t h power i s t h a t  i m p l i e s the u s i n g o f people f o r one's own  and,  as such, i s o u t s i d e  t o be he  o f the d i f f i c u l t i e s  common decency.  sends two  of l i f e , "  Lascar  advantage,  the hounds of what he  John Lewis makes use  understands  o f people when  seamen, l o o k i n g f o r a "piano and  to the bar where E l i z a b e t h i s d r i n k i n g  i n s t r u c t s them t o ask f o r " L i z z i e ; "  a bit  and  T h i s s t r i k e s one  as  a  crude and unnecessary method of avenging a h u m i l i a t i o n . The  explanation  between two  of t h i s b e h a v i o u r i s t h a t John Lewis f a l l s  stools morally;  t h a t he  problem does not make i t any  i s aware o f  the  the l e s s a c u t e :  S i n c e I seemed t o have p i l o t e d m y s e l f i n t o the p o s i t i o n of b e i n g immoral and moral a t the same time, the t h i n g was t o keep t r y i n g not t o be immoral, and then t o keep t r y i n g might t u r n i n t o a h a b i t . . . . Not g i v i n g up was the important t h i n g . 56 John Lewis i s bored and direction;  f i n d s that h i s l i f e  he d e s c r i b e s h i s d e p r e s s i o n s  as  combining  " r o o t l e s s apprehension, i n d e f i n i t e r e s t l e s s n e s s i n a c t i v a t i n g boredom,'' and nerable  t o the  and  i n t h i s c o n d i t i o n , he  charms of E l i z a b e t h , t e n d i n g  moral c o n s i d e r a t i o n s  lacks  of i n f i d e l i t y  is vul-  to p l a c e  the  i n the background.  he does s l e e p w i t h E l i z a b e t h and he does l o v e h i s  But  wife.  H i s a t t i t u d e up t o t h i s p o i n t i n d i c a t e s t h a t he p r e f e r s remain i n a p o s i t i o n where he choice; him, and  i s not f o r c e d t o make a moral  however, p h y s i c a l l y the d e c i s i o n i s f o r c e d upon  c h i e f l y by E l i z a b e t h ' s husband, and he gets  to  out.  cuts h i s  losses  29-  The framework o f m o r a l i t y i s p r e s e n t e d i n the same way as i n Lucky Jim;  i t i s i m p o s s i b l e f o r t h e hero t o  remain i n an a t t i t u d e of i n d e c i s i o n , because  circumstance,  l u c k , and f o r t u i t o u s events f o r c e a c h o i c e .  But John  Lewis s t i l l  l o v e s h i s w i f e and h e r d i s g u s t w i t h h i s  b e h a v i o u r and h e r d e t a i l i n g o f h i s r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s make him uneasy about h i s moral p o s i t i o n .  U l t i m a t e l y the p r o -  blem c a n be reduced t o h i s a p p r e c i a t i o n o f human d i g n i t y and t o h i s l i m i t e d awareness t h a t he has v i o l a t e d t h e code o f decent b e h a v i o u r .  Here Jean has the "moral  initiative,"  as she t e l l s him "I don't care what happens now, because i t ' s a l l over as f a r . a s I'm concerned, whatever you t o l d me c o u l d n ' t be as bad as what I f e l t when I r e a l i z e d what you were t h i n k i n g about t h a t E l i z a b e t h and p r e f e r r i n g h e r t o me."  "What do you t h i n k i t ' s a l l about, anyway? Why do you t h i n k we got married? I know your r i c h p a l s t h i n k d i f f e r e n t , b u t I d i d n ' t know you d i d . Not then, n o t when we got m a r r i e d . Or I s h o u l d n ' t have m a r r i e d you, see? Yes, I know a b i t o f c h a s i n g round a f t e r o t h e r women now and t h e n doesn't m a t t e r , a c c o r d i n g t o you. As l o n g as t h e r e i s n ' t t o o much of i t . W e l l , a c c o r d i n g t o me a b i t does matter, a b i t ' s t o o much. Any a t a l l ' s t o o much, so i t ' s over, t h e r e ' s n o t h i n g l e f t o f t h e whole b l o o d y i s s u e . " She began c r y i n g . "Anything a t a l l o f t h a t s o r t m a t t e r s . A c c o r d i n g t o me."57 Jean, l i k e C h r i s t i n e i n Lucky Jim, i s capable o f transl a t i n g t h e problem o f decent b e h a v i o u r i n t o terms which an Amis hero can understand, and, s e i z i n g the advantage, t o h e r husband, s a y i n g t h a t she has had an a f f a i r w i t h  lies  30Probert.  The l i e ,  power o f good."  John Lewis l a t e r admits,  " d i d him a  Thus, a t t h e n o v e l ' s end he can r e t u r n t o  the " c o u n t r y " v a l u e s i n the c o a l town and embrace v i r t u e while s t i l l has  l e a v i n g the r e a d e r unsure whether o r n o t Lewis  seen the problem c l e a r l y .  Amis h i m s e l f does n o t  d e s c r i b e c l e a r l y the good l i f e .  In the f i n a l  chapter of  That U n c e r t a i n F e e l i n g we c a n see t h a t John Lewis i s as bored as ever and t h a t h i s l i f e ,  although morally  satis-  f a c t o r y , i s n o t r e a l l y an A r c a d i a . In moral  I L i k e I t Here Amis takes some p a i n s t o d e f i n e t h e i s s u e s more c l e a r l y ;  still,  t h e r e i s a good d e a l i n  common between Garnet  Bowen, the h e r o , and the heroes o f  the p r e v i o u s n o v e l s .  The same themes o f "town" v e r s u s  " c o u n t r y " and e x p e r i e n c e v e r s u s innocence is  o c c u r , and l u c k  a l l o w e d t o p l a y some p a r t i n i n f l u e n c i n g moral  choice.  Bowen i s saved from a d u l t e r y by the s t i n g o f a wasp and h i s comment upon t h e s i t u a t i o n i s t y p i c a l : And, s i n c e he c o u l d now remember t h a t he had a w i f e , i t was an enormous r e l i e f n o t t o have done a n y t h i n g much t o E m i l i a . But he had wanted t o do a g r e a t d e a l and had been g o i n g t o . I t was s a d t o no l o n g e r have h i s cake, i n a way, and y e t n o t have e a t e n i t . On t h e o t h e r hand, though, B a r b a r a was never g o i n g to know a n y t h i n g about t h i s , so t h e r e was no need whatever t o worry.58 Garnet  Bo\^en, l i k e J i m Dixon and John Lewis,  k i n d o f double his  life  double p o s i t i o n .  leads a  and, l i k e John Lewis, he i s aware o f On t h e one hand he i s the s e l f i s h  o p p o r t u n i s t and on t h e o t h e r he attempts  t o accept an  31 u p r i g h t and s l i g h t l y p r i s s y m o r a l i t y which c a n be seen i n h i s d e s c r i p t i o n o f two o f h i s own p a s s p o r t photographs taken t e n years apart.  They suggest the extremes o f m o r a l  c h o i c e a v a i l a b l e t o him: The l a d i n the 194-6 one had l o o k e d back a t Bowen w i t h a p e t u l a n t , head-on-one-side s e n s i t i v i t y . Wearing a n a s t y s u i t , he had seemed on the p o i n t o f a s k i n g Bowen why he wasn't a p a c i f i s t o r what he thought o f Aaron's Rod. The 1956 Bowen was twice as wide and had something o f t h e a i r o f a t e l e v i s i o n p a n e l i s t . H i s q u e s t i o n about Aaron's Rod would have concerned how much money whoever wrote i t had made out o f i t . I t was odd how the two o f them c o u l d d i f f e r so much and y e t b o t h l o o k e x a c t l y the k i n d o f man he would most d i s l i k e t o meet o r be.59 Bowen i s v e r y dependent upon h i s w i f e ;  he, l i k e J i m  Dixon and John Lewis, f i n d s i t d i f f i c u l t t o cope i n the modern w o r l d w i t h o u t support from some q u a r t e r .  His  xenophobia i s extreme and he o n l y manages t o cope w i t h the arrangements f o r h i s t r i p t o P o r t u g a l t h r o u g h a haze of f e a r and incompetence.  The moral c h o i c e s t h a t he makes  are l a r g e l y determined by Barbara's a t t i t u d e s , f o r i t i s she who pushes him back towards the 1946 f a c e w i t h h e r way o f " v i e w i n g r e g u l a r s a l a r i e d employment as somehow i n i m i c a l 60 to i n t e g r i t y . "  Still,  i n the f i n a l a n a l y s i s i t i s Bowen  h i m s e l f who i s most l i k e l y t o excuse p e o p l e ' s b e h a v i o u r , on the grounds t h a t t h e y are b a s i c a l l y d e c e n t .  The f o l -  l o w i n g d i a l o g u e c o n c e r n i n g t h e Bowen's Portuguese l a n d l o r d illustrates this.  Note t h a t i t i s B a r b a r a who sees money  as the r o o t o f e v i l and Bowen who excuses the l a n d l o r d , f e e l i n g t h a t he i s ,  on the whole, a decent man.  Barbara  32 i s the f i r s t  speaker:  "Perhaps she's sent one t o Oates's p l a c e . " "Well i f she has h e ' l l f o r w a r d i t . " She d i d h e r v i g o r o u s head-shake, i n h a l i n g and s h u t t i n g h e r eyes. " I wouldn't he t o o sure o f t h a t . " "Oh, nonsense, he wouldn't do a n y t h i n g he thought was n a s t y . " "What about the e x t r a cash he took o f f u s ? " "He d i d n ' t t h i n k t h a t was n a s t y . He thought he was e n t i t l e d t o t h a t . " "But i t was n a s t y , whatever he thought about i t . " "That doesn't make any d i f f e r e n c e ; he d i d n ' t t h i n k i t was n a s t y . " " I t h i n k i t makes a l l the d i f f e r e n c e , " she s a i d stoutly.61 Here, i t seems, i s the c r u x o f the s i t u a t i o n :  Bowen,  as l'homme moyen s e n s u e l . i s w i l l i n g t o take motives consideration;  B a r b a r a , more r i g i d ,  i s not.  into  No doubt  Bowen wants h i s own motives t o be u n d e r s t o o d when he hims e l f i s judged and f o r t h i s r e a s o n he i s w i l l i n g t o a l l o w t h i s much c o n s i d e r a t i o n t o those o f o t h e r s .  Here a g a i n we  have the echo o f F i e l d i n g , whose Tom Jones was "a hero because he had good impulses.'' B a r b a r a i s v e r y i n s i s t e n t t h a t i t i s wrong t o spy on Strether;  she a p p l i e s a r i g i d moral code and Bowen i s  u l t i m a t e l y f o r c e d t o agree w i t h h e r : "What a r e v o l t i n g i d e a , s p y i n g on the o l d chap l i k e t h a t . . . . I s h o u l d have thought you'd have had a b i t more i n t e g r i t y . I know you always l a u g h a t me when I go on about i n t e g r i t y . Yes you do. But t h i s time I'm r i g h t , and you know i t . Don't you?" "I suppose I do."62 B a r b a r a i n s i s t s t h a t Bowen g i v e up h i s espionage  which  was t o determine whether or n o t an e l d e r l y man l i v i n g i n r e t i r e m e n t i n P o r t u g a l was, as he c l a i m e d , t h e famous  33  n o v e l i s t , Wulfstan S t r e t h e r .  T y p i c a l l y , Bowen, l i k e a l l  of Amis's h e r o e s , f i n d s h i m s e l f w i t h a d i f f i c u l t choice  moral  and t y p i c a l l y he i s unable t o r e s o l v e h i s dilemma.  He d e s c r i b e s h i s problem i n the f o l l o w i n g passage: He h a t e d o p p o s i t i o n , n o t , he b e l i e v e d , because he l i k e d h i s own way more than the next man, h u t because i t made him f e e l so t e r r i b l e , t o o t e r r i b l e t o s o r t out what he r e a l l y thought. To decide whether, and i f so how f a r , s e l f - i n t e r e s t c o n f l i c t e d w i t h decency over t h i s i s s u e meant u s i n g h i s conscience' as a p r e c i s i o n i n s t r u m e n t . How c o u l d he do t h a t w i t h B a r b a r a j o g g i n g his. arm about i n t e g r i t y ? Perhaps he'd f e e l b e t t e r a f t e r l u n c h — . . . .63 Bowen then i s i n c a p a b l e w i t h the problem and l e a v e s  o f immediately coming t o terms i t i n abeyance.  L i k e most o f  Amis's h e r o e s , he wallows i n i n d e c i s i o n u n t i l the i s s u e i s decided  f o r him.  To some e x t e n t  Amis begs the q u e s t i o n and  a l l o w s Bowen t o make the d e c i s i o n which c o r r e s p o n d s his  with  i d e a o f decency without i n any way d e l i b e r a t e l y compro-  mising h i s self-interest; or h i s i n t e g r i t y . fact t e l l  Bowen does i n  the p u b l i s h e r t h a t the o l d man i s S t r e t h e r and  seems t o have enough r e a l evidence t o do s o . However, i n a d i s p l a y o f honesty, he admits t o h i m s e l f t h a t he d i d n o t make t h e d e c i s i o n on the b a s i s o f the evidence  alone;  i n s t e a d he made i t on the b a s i s o f h i s judgement o f the character of a g i r l sexual  w i t h whom he had had an i n c o n c l u s i v e  encounter:  He r e a l i s e d he had^not been q u i t e s t r a i g h t w i t h Bennie Hyman [ t h e p u b l i s h e r ] , o r w i t h h i m s e l f , about why he had come t o the c o n c l u s i o n t h a t Lopes c o u l d n ' t be b l a c k m a i l i n g S t r e t h e r . I t was simply because he had d e c i d e d t h a t E m i l i a c o u l d n ' t be a  34 "blackmailer's g i r l . And he had d e c i d e d t h a t because he had l i k e d E m i l i a . But o f course i n s p i t e of t h a t she c o u l d be a b l a c k m a i l e r ' s g i r l . So perhaps i t was t r u e t h a t he l e t p e o p l e he l i k e d get away w i t h murder. But what d i d t h a t matter?64T h i s passage comes a t the n o v e l ' s end  and  i s at l e a s t  a c l u e t o the grounds upon which Bowen makes moral decisions. and  Once a g a i n  decency, as he  t h a t he  i t i s the  question  of p e r s o n a l i t y  sees i t , which i n f l u e n c e s him;  we  find  i s w i l l i n g to s u b o r d i n a t e the r e a l evidence i n  order  to make what he f e e l s i s the human and decent  As we  have seen, however, Amis does s i d e s t e p the r e a l  to some extent  by a s s u r i n g us t h a t , s i n c e i t i s f o r  r e a s o n s t h a t Bowen does not  other  c o n f l i c t with h i s  Furthermore, Amis i m p l i e s t h a t the r e a l  Bowen's d e c i s i o n , made on the b a s i s o f p e r s o n a l i t y  moral c h o i c e  sacrifice  occurs;  Amis a l l o w s  decency and weights the represents  no  of p r i n c i p l e .  Therefore,  the  selfevidence  c o u l d , i n f a c t , have supported S t r e t h e r ' s c l a i m , and  decency, i s no  issue  get the e x p e c t e d j o b w i t h  p u b l i s h e r s * h i s d e c i s i o n does not interest.  choice.  thus and  no  real  h i s hero t o a c t from  i s s u e i n such a way  d e n i a l of p r i n c i p l e nor  of  t h a t the  action  self-interest.  Before examining the moral problem Amis r a i s e s i n h i s l a t e s t n o v e l , Take A G i r l L i k e You, his now,  we  p o s i t i o n as i t i s d i s c e r n i b l e up we  have had  can u s e f u l l y d e f i n e  to t h i s point.  a s e r i e s of heroes who  f i n e l i n e between c r a s s s e l f - i n t e r e s t seem t o have e v o l v e d  t r y to tread  and  v i r t u e , and  a moral code which assumes t h a t  Until a who the  35  '  w o r l d sees them as t h e y see t h e m s e l v e s .  C o m p l e t e l y con-  s i s t e n t w i t h t h i s a t t i t u d e i s t h e i r i n s i s t e n c e upon j u d g i n g the a c t i o n s o f o t h e r s as t h e y would wish t h e i r own  a c t i o n s t o he judged, t h a t i s , by t h e i r m o t i v e s . N e v e r t h e l e s s , Amis cannot s o l v e the problems  his  which  hero,'as a k i n d o f H o g g a r t i a n s c h o l a r s h i p boy, meets  in  h i s s o c i e t y n o r can he p r o v i d e any adequate  to  the problem of how  a decent man  solution  i s to f i n d a p l a c e i n  s o c i e t y and m a i n t a i n h i s l o y a l t y t o h i s code.  Amis's  f a i l u r e t o s o l v e the problem i s shown by the way he tends to beg the moral q u e s t i o n s .  i n which  F i r s t , he a l l o w s  l u c k t o p l a y a p a r t i n the r e s o l u t i o n , as i n Lucky Jim, where J i m s a y s : To w r i t e t h i n g s down as l u c k wasn't the same as w r i t i n g them o f f as n o n - e x i s t e n t o r i n some way beneath c o n s i d e r a t i o n . C h r i s t i n e was s t i l l n i c e r and p r e t t i e r t h a n M a r g a r e t , and a l l the d e d u c t i o n s t h a t c o u l d be drawn from t h a t f a c t s h o u l d be drawn: t h e r e was no end t o the ways i n which n i c e t h i n g s are n i c e r t h a n n a s t y ones. I t had been l u c k , t o o , t h a t had f r e e d him from p i t y ' s adhesive p l a s t e r ; i f C a t c h p o l e had been a d i f f e r e n t s o r t o f man, he, Dixon, would s t i l l be wrapped up as f i r m l y as e v e r .  ?  Second; Amis c o n s i s t e n t l y a l l o w s the hero t o square h i s moral code w i t h h i s s e l f - i n t e r e s t ;  Garnet Bowen does n o t  harm h i m s e l f by b e i n g d e c e n t , nor does J i m Dixon l o s e out because o f h i s r i d i c u l o u s , drunken and h a l f - i n t e n d e d protests against hypocrisy. first  The f i n a l r e s o l u t i o n o f the  t h r e e n o v e l s makes no attempt t o meet the problem  head-on, and Amis goes a l o n g way  t o a d m i t t i n g t h i s by the  36 k i n d o f r e s o l u t i o n he g i v e s . at  ;  J i m Dixon r e c e i v e s h i s j o b  the hands o f t h a t f i g u r e o f a u t h o r i t y ,  Gore-Urquhart,  hut i t i s a c u r i o u s l y n e g a t i v e k i n d o f employment: 'Sort o f p r i v a t e s e c r e t a r i a l work. Not much correspondence, though; a young woman does most of t h a t . I t ' l l he m a i n l y meeting people o r t e l l i n g people I can't meet them.  'I t h i n k y o u ' l l do the j o b a l l r i g h t , Dixon. I t ' s not t h a t you've got the q u a l i f i c a t i o n s , f o r t h i s o r any other.work, b u t t h e r e are p l e n t y who have. You haven't got t h e d i s q u a l i f i c a t i o n s , though, and t h a t ' s much r a r e r . ' 6 6 S i m i l a r l y Garnet Bowen n e i t h e r makes the p r o g r e s s i o n i n s o c i e t y t h a t he wishes n o r does he break from i t i n the way t h a t Barbara d e s i r e s him t o , and John Lewis, who  chooses  v a l u e over m a t e r i a l g a i n , knows t h a t t h e same k i n d o f b o r e dom t h a t he l e f t behind i n A b e r d a r c y awaits him i n h i s new s  life  i n the c o l l i e r y town. Thus i t i s t h a t none o f these h e r o e s , a l t h o u g h they  w r e s t l e m i g h t i l y w i t h moral c h o i c e , can be s a i d t o have developed i n c h a r a c t e r d u r i n g the course o f a s i n g l e n o v e l . S i n c e the c h o i c e s o f the heroes have been guided by events and p r e s s u r e s extraneous t o what can be seen as the r e a l moral i s s u e , and s i n c e the heroes.themselves to not  a r e n o t able  l e a r n from these c h o i c e s , i t f o l l o w s t h a t the n o v e l s do f u l f i l l , t h e i r apparent moral i n t e n t i o n o f i l l u s t r a t i n g  a v i a b l e code o f b e h a v i o u r f o r t h e decent man i n the twentieth century.  Thus Amis's heroes are d e f i n e d by what  37 t h e y are ..against r a t h e r t h a n what t h e y are f o r ; t h e y are a n t i - c u l t u r a l and p o s i t i o n of t h e i r own.  do not p r e s e n t  I t can he  i n the  twentieth  a s o c i e t y i n which i t i s d i f f i c u l t t o  i n s p e c t s t r i c t l y moral c o n s i d e r a t i o n s .  three n o v e l s  describe  boredom and  o f modern>life and  . . .  these  a boredom,  as a c o n d i t i o n  which, he d e s c r i b e s , r e f e r r i n g t o  grave, i n h i s poem "The  his  isolate  Instead,  stagnation,  John L e w i s ' S j which Amis seems t o see  like  clouding  w i t h i n t h e . s o r t of s o c i e t y i n which Amis p l a c e s  characters, and  a c l e a r moral  argued t h a t such  o f moral i s s u e s i s a p a r t o f l i v i n g century  that i s ,  the  S i l e n t Room":  the corpse must keep Permanently awake, And w a i t f o r an earthquake.  Earthquakes are few, b r i e f t h e i r e f f e c t . But wood soon r o t s : he can expect A f a r less rare r e l i e f From boredom, and l e s s b r i e f ; At l a s t , maddened but merry, he F i n d s n e v e r - t i r i n g company: S l u g , w i t h f o u l rhymes t o t e l l ; g Worm, w i t h s m a l l t a l k from h e l l . '  •  7  Amis's f i r s t and  three novels  t e n d t o s o l v e them i n the  with h i s l a t e s t novel, v i s i o n considerably. plete man, and  a l l present  the  same problems  same i n c o n c l u s i v e way,  Take A G i r l L i k e You, A l t h o u g h he  does not  s o l u t i o n to the problem o f how  the  extends h i s  present  a com-  average decent  Amis's v e r s i o n of l'homme moyen s e n s u e l , t o choose i n h i s s o c i e t y , he  he  but  i s to  act  does, however, go a good  d e a l f a r t h e r t o broaden the base o f t h a t  choice.  38 Take A G i r l L i k e You r e p r e s e n t s a determined to  come t o terms w i t h the moral r a t h e r t h a n the  problems of l i f e , f o r w a r d way  and d e a l s i n a more o r l e s s  practical  straight-  w i t h the problem of m a i n t a i n i n g some k i n d of  standards i n modern l i f e .  Amis i n t r o d u c e s h i s h e r o i n e ,  Jenny Bunn, as a b e a u t i f u l , educated^working his  effort  class  main n a r r a t i v e l i n e i s o c c u p i e d by P a t r i c k  r e p e a t e d attempts  Standish's  upon h e r v i r t u e , and the m o r a l i s s u e  a r i s e s from h e r d e s i r e t o s a f e g u a r d t h a t v i r t u e . comes equipped  girl;  Jenny  w i t h as r i g i d a code o f m o r a l i t y as t h a t of  B a r b a r a Bowen, but u n l i k e B a r b a r a she i s not impervious  to  p r e s s u r e and, r a t h e r than s i m p l y i n s i s t i n g upon what i s right,  she f e e l s she must make h e r m o r a l i t y work i n h e r  r e l a t i o n s w i t h the people  around h e r .  i n m a t u r a t i o n , h e r v a l u e s change.  During t h i s e x e r c i s e  T h i s , t o o , marks a p r o -  g r e s s i o n i n Amis's t e c h n i q u e , f o r Take A G i r l L i k e You i s the o n l y n o v e l i n which the c h a r a c t e r s develop w i t h i n the novel i t s e l f .  Up to now,  any development of Amis's moral  v i s i o n and any evidence o f h i s c o n s o l i d a t i n g h i s moral knowledge i s o f n e c e s s i t y a c q u i r e d by our comparing the hero o f one n o v e l t o t h a t o f  another.  U n f o r t u n a t e l y the f o c u s o f the n o v e l becomes d i s t u r b e d and Amis does n o t m a i n t a i n Jenny as the c e n t r a l  figure;  i n s t e a d , about mid-way through, he c o n c e n t r a t e s h i s a t t e n t i o n upon P a t r i c k who  i s foolish, self-centred  much g i v e n t o p a i n f u l s c r u t i n y " of h i s m o t i v e s .  and  m C h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y , h i s a c t u a l b e h a v i o u r changes v e r y little.  N e v e r t h e l e s s the n o v e l becomes o c c u p i e d w i t h  P a t r i c k ' s problems and a t t i t u d e s , most of which c e n t r e about the s e x u a l a c t . obsessed;  P a t r i c k c o u l d be r e g a r d e d as  sex-  a l a r g e p a r t o f h i s time and energy i s concen-  t r a t e d upon sex i n some way,  and h i s mind tends t o  approach  the s u b j e c t at e v e r y o p p o r t u n i t y . However, P a t r i c k i s not without h i s agony and h i s g u i l t . D i s a p p o i n t e d i n Jenny's m i s s i n g an a s s i g n a t i o n w i t h him, s l e e p s w i t h h i s headmaster's pregnant  daughter i n s t e a d ,  immediately t h e r e a f t e r a r r a n g e s an appointment  a t an  he and  abor-  t i o n i s t ' s f o r h e r , advancing h e r the n e c e s s a r y money.  This  he does out o f k i n d n e s s , as the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i n the case i s not h i s .  L a t e r he muses:  The commercial a s p e c t of S h e i l a ' s d e a l i n g w i t h him was t r i f l i n g ; . . . . What got him down was what he had a c t u a l l y done to S h e i l a . I t was h i s worst t h i n g so f a r , he thought as he phoned f o r a t a x i , but p l e n t y o f time, no doubt, f o r worse yet.68 :  L i k e a s p o i l e d c h i l d he l a t e r r e p r o a c h e s Jenny f o r m i s s i n g the a s s i g n a t i o n and p l e a d s t h a t he has been e x t r e m e l y  fair r  i n not t r y i n g t o i n f l u e n c e h e r by s o f t l i g h t s and sweet music.  I n r e t o r t i n g , Jenny g i v e s him a p i e c e of p r a c t i c a l  a d v i c e , s u g g e s t i n g t h a t , i f he d i d want t o seduce h e r , the most e x p e d i e n t way unfair.  t o go about  T h i s he becomes.  o b j e c t s t o the way  i t would have been t o be  I t i s J u l i a n Ormerod  who  i n which P a t r i c k f i n a l l y seduces  Jenny.  Ormerod p u t s h i s o b j e c t i o n s i n t o a p l e a f o r f a i r n e s s :  40 "Not too drunk f o r you, anyway." "Had t o get i t done somehow." "And i t d i d n ' t much matter how, eh?" " L i f e was becoming a b s o l u t e l y i m p o s s i b l e "Do you know what I'd sooner do?" "Oh, f o r C h r i s t ' s sake."  as i t was.".  "I thought you were supposed to be i n f a v o u r t h i s k i n d of t h i n g . " "Most o f i t , P a t t y , y e s . But f a i r n e s s . " "I'm t i r e d of f a i r n e s s . " "Clearly."69 P a t r i c k has h i s values  of a l l  never r e a l l y admitted f a i r n e s s as one  and he has p e r s i s t e n t l y r e f u s e d to r e g a r d  as h a v i n g any r i g h t s or d i g n i t y .  of others  This, i s demonstrated  h i s treatment of a complete s t r a n g e r who  had  the  by  misfortune  to be u s i n g the p u b l i c pavement while P a t r i c k was  driving  by: T u r n i n g o f f at the e l e c t r i c i t y showrooms, he was l u c k y enough to send the g r e a t e r p a r t o f a puddle over a sod i n ragged c l o t h e s who was d o i n g h i s l e v e l best t o blow h i s nose i n t o the g u t t e r .  70  P a t r i c k seems t o enjoy t h i s k i n d of b e h a v i o u r , and tainly, The has  at no time does he r a i s e any moral o b j e c t i o n t o i t . p o i n t i s t h a t J u l i a n Ormerod, d e s p i t e h i s b e h a v i o u r ,  some k i n d of code, a code which r e c o g n i z e s  consenting  i n d i v i d u a l s , and P a t r i c k S t a n d i s h ,  s c r u t i n y of m o t i v e s , has none. s t r o n g and t o her  cer-  accurate  seduction,  people  for a l l his  Jenny i s able t o make a  moral judgement o f P a t r i c k .  she  says:  as  Referring  41  " I t ' s n o t what you d i d t h a t I o b j e c t t o ; i t would p r o b a b l y have happened anyway, sooner or l a t e r . But t o do i t l i k e t h a t . " ". . . Yes, t h a t was bad." ". . . I've got another name f o r you. . . . Mr. E a t - A l l - S u p - A l l - P a y - N o w t . " 7 1 Thus Jenny has c l a s s i f i e d P a t r i c k S t a n d i s h w i t h t h e B e r t r a n d Welches of t h i s world, the p e o p l e who w i l l  take  whatever t h e y can g e t and do n o t s c r u p l e about means, t a k i n g as though i t were t h e i r r i g h t .  P a t r i c k , at the  c l o s e o f the n o v e l , p r o t e s t s t h a t he has had a moral lesson;  h i s p r o t e s t a t i o n sounds h o l l o w , but c e r t a i n l y  Jenny has made P a t r i c k aware o f t h e v a l u e o f decency and i n h i s f u t u r e b e h a v i o u r he w i l l no l o n g e r have t h e excuse that the issue i s not c l e a r .  This i s a considerable  widening o f Amis's u n d e r s t a n d i n g .  The b e h a v i o u r o f J i m  Dixon i n Lucky J i m i s shown as a c o n t r a s t t o the b e h a v i o u r of B e r t r a n d Welch, a l t h o u g h they emerge as h a v i n g ness i n common.  selfish-  I n Take A G i r l L i k e You. P a t r i c k S t a n d i s h  i s seen much more o b j e c t i v e l y by Amis. But the n o v e l s u f f e r s from i t s s h i f t i n f o c u s .  It i s  more c o n s i s t e n t t o r e g a r d Jenny as the h e r o i n e and P a t r i c k as a k i n d o f f o i l .  Jenny i s the c h a r a c t e r who i s t r y i n g  t o p r e s e r v e moral standards i n a s o c i e t y which c o n s i d e r s them o l d - f a s h i o n e d , and h e r moral development p a r a l l e l s h e r a c q u i s i t i o n o f s o p h i s t i c a t i o n , i n t h a t , a t the n o v e l ' s end, she i s w i l l i n g t o make allowances f o r v a r i o u s - k i n d s of b e h a v i o u r and n o t t o judge them a g a i n s t a f i x e d She  scale.  i s n o t , however, h e r s e l f p r e p a r e d t o abandon a code o f  42 b e h a v i o u r by which one i s obliged, t o do the decent t h i n g . Her  f i n a l interview with Miss S i n c l a i r concerning  accident  t o one o f h e r charges makes t h i s c l e a r .  an On the  one  hand, a l t h o u g h Jenny i s made t o f e e l g u i l t y because  she  c o u l d n o t v i s i t the c h i l d when he wanted h e r ,  i t is  obvious t h a t she c o u l d n o t be expected t o s a c r i f i c e h e r entire l i f e  t o the g r a t i f i c a t i o n o f the needs o f o t h e r s  when t h e y a r e unreasonable o r p i c a y u n e .  On the o t h e r  hand, i n h e r condemnation of P a t r i c k ' s b e h a v i o u r over h i s shooting  o f D i c k Thompson, she c l e a r l y b e l i e v e s t h a t one  cannot i n d u l g e  oneself  a t the expense o f o t h e r s .  Jenny stands f o r Amis's own p e r c e p t i o n and P a t r i c k i s the s t u d e n t . he  of morality  A l t h o u g h he r e f u s e s t o a c t ,  i s f o r c e d t o concede, through Jenny's i n s i s t e n c e , t h a t  decency i s a moral o b l i g a t i o n and t h a t must be subjugated t o i t . t h a t the f o c u s  self-indulgence  I t i s a f l a w i n the t e c h n i q u e  o f i n t e r e s t cannot be m a i n t a i n e d upon t h i s  r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n c e Amis's c o n c e r n w i t h P a t r i c k S t a n d i s h and his  skill  i n p o r t r a y i n g him s h i f t s t h e r e a d e r ' s a t t e n t i o n  t o P a t r i c k ' s problems and motives r a t h e r t h a n a l l o w i n g i t to remain on Jenny.  Moreover, P a t r i c k ' s g r a p p l i n g i s con-  cerned l a r g e l y w i t h pseudo-problems i n t h a t he t r i e s t o i g n o r e , even a f t e r , the S h e i l a e p i s o d e , t h e problem o f decency  altogether.  Thus i t i s p o s s i b l e t o see J i m Dixon, John Lewis o r even Garnet Bowen as men who s t r u g g l e w i t h t h i s c e n t r a l  43 problem — t h e  problem o f how  the p r e s s u r e . o f  t o be  modern s o c i e t y —  Amis "non-hero," s i d e s t e p s the the n o v e l ' s end, throughout, the  a decent man  but  despite  Standish,  a s o r t of  issue completely u n t i l ,  i t i s f o r c e d upon him "moral i n i t i a t i v e . "  by Jenny who  Standish,  from Amis a hero's p l a c e w i t h o u t b e i n g  at  has,  then,  receives  g i v e n a hero's p r o -  blems. J u s t a f t e r the p u b l i c a t i o n of Take A G i r l L i k e You. published called  a Science  F i c t i o n s t o r y i n the New  Amis  Statesman  "Something S t r a n g e , " a s p e c t s of which demonstrate  t h a t h i s h o r i z o n has  expanded.  A l t h o u g h the ~story i s no  r e a l advance over Take A G i r l L i k e You,  i t does i n d i c a t e  Amis's d e s i r e t o f o c u s upon c e r t a i n a s p e c t s o f m o r a l i t y and t o make them more r e a l ;  i n a d d i t i o n t o t h i s , he  f a r t h e r towards f i n d i n g a s o l u t i o n t o . t h e The  moral dilemma.  s t o r y concerns a group o f p e o p l e , the  a psychological  goes  subjects  experiment,.who are c o n d i t i o n e d  to  of  believe  t h a t t h e y are i n a space s t a t i o n and have been abandoned f o r e v e r by t h e i r base.  'Their r o u t i n e i s d i s r u p t e d  various" h o r r i f y i n g ways I n o r d e r r e a c t t o the p r e s s u r e . official file is  The  to determine how  in they  experiment i s d e s c r i b e d  as "Fear E l i m i n a t i o n , " but  such t h a t , when l i b e r a t e d by the new  s u b j e c t s , an a t t r a c t i v e g i r l ,  cannot be  withdraws i n t o a c a t a t o n i c s t a t e .  Her  the  will  i n the  conditioning  regime, one  of  deconditioned  the and  cure i s begun by  d e c l a r a t i o n of l o v e by a n o t h e r memver o f the  group who  a has  '  44 been p r e v i o u s l y removed from the experiment because he b e g i n n i n g t o understand  i t s intent.  was  The members o f the  l i b e r a t i n g f o r c e s make i t q u i t e c l e a r t h a t t h e y c o n s i d e r t h i s experiment, and be immoral.  We  o t h e r s t h a t t h e y have d i s c o v e r e d , t o  are f o r c e d to agree.  The  o b j e c t i o n to the  experiments i s not o n l y t h a t t h e y d e s t r o y p e r s o n a l i t y but t h a t t h e y make use  of people,  and t h i s , as we  have seen, i s  something o f which Amis s t r o n g l y d i s a p p r o v e s . S i n c e the c h a r a c t e r s i n the s t o r y are not f i n e l y drawn, Amis i s f r e e from the c o n f u s i o n o f p o r t r a y i n g h i s homme moyen s e n s u e l and i s thus a b l e t o c o n c e n t r a t e h i s a t t e n t i o n on the s o l u t i o n of a moral problem. love.  I t i s t r u e t h a t Amis concerned  This solution involves himself with love i n  That U n c e r t a i n F e e l i n g and Take A G i r l L i k e You,  but  nowhere i n the n o v e l s was  he a b s o l u t e l y c l e a r about h i s  heroes'  The  d i r e c t concerns.  b e i n g w r i t t e n by one  f o l l o w i n g passage from a n o v e l  o f the c h a r a c t e r s i n the  Science  F i c t i o n s t o r y c l a r i f i e s Amis's p e r c e p t i o n of the v a l u e  of  love: Irmy l o o k e d from one man t o the o t h e r . There was so much d i f f e r e n c e between them t h a t she c o u l d h a r d l y b e g i n to choose: the one more p l e a s a n t , the o t h e r b e t t e r a t t h i n k i n g , the one s l i m , the o t h e r plump. She d e c i d e d b e i n g p l e a s a n t was b e t t e r . I t was more important and more s i g n i f i c a n t - n ^ h e t t e r i n e v e r y way t h a t made a r e a l d i f f e r e n c e . ' The  v a l u e s embraced by the f i c t i o n a l  passage need not be commented upon t o be but i t i s s i g n i f i c a n t  author o f seen as  t o see t h a t the power which  this  false, finally  45 b r i n g s h e r back t o r e a l i t y i s the power o f l o v e , a l o v e expressed  by t h e o n l y member o f t h e group who never com-  p l e t e l y l o s e s touch with r e a l i t y . t h a t i t i s l o v e which enables h o r r o r s o f the world  Thus Amis i s a r g u i n g  us t o f a c e r e a l i t y and t h e  i n which we f i n d  ourselves.  Perhaps  Amis i s on the way by h i s emphasis on the element o f l o v e to  s o l v i n g the problem which has b e s e t him i n h i s n o v e l s .  I f , i n t h e f u t u r e , he c a n d e a l w i t h t h e q u e s t i o n o f l o v e and  the decent man's a p p r e c i a t i o n o f i t , he may be a b l e  to provide  the needed s o l u t i o n t o t h e problem o f how a  decent man i s t o f i n d h i s p l a c e i n s o c i e t y .  CHAPTER I I I Amis's Technique:  I t s E f f e c t i v e n e s s and  Limitations  If,  through h i s work, Amis i s t r y i n g t o show the way  i n w h i c h t h e d e c e n t man c a n f i n d h i s p l a c e i n s o c i e t y , his  technique  s h o u l d he examined i n o r d e r t o see whether  it  goes any d i s t a n c e toward showing where t h a t p l a c e i s ,  or  whether i t i s r e s p o n s i b l e f o r t h e d i f f i c u l t y  t h a t the  r e a d e r o f t e n f i n d s i n s e e i n g Amis's homme moyen sensue1 as decent  at a l l .  Now, s i n c e Amis i s a s a t i r i s t r a t h e r than  j u s t a comic n o v e l i s t , he uses h i s comic technique t o r e i n f o r c e and t o complement the p r e s e n t a t i o n o f m o r a l i t y i n h i s novels;  hence, f a r c e i s o f t e n i n t e n d e d t o support  d i r e c t l y the moral p o s i t i o n .  Note the f i g h t scene i n  Lucky J i m which stands f o r the triumph  o f decency over  wickedness as J i m d e f e a t s the poseur B e r t r a n d i n a w i l d l y comic scene  of violence:  They f a c e d each o t h e r on the f l o r a l r u g , f e e t a p a r t and elbows crooked i n u n c e r t a i n a t t i t u d e s , as i f about t o b e g i n some r i t u a l of which n e i t h e r had l e a r n t the cues. ' I ' l l show,' B e r t r a n d chimed, and jabbed a t Dixon's f a c e . Dixon stepped a s i d e , but h i s f e e t s l i p p e d and b e f o r e he c o u l d r e c o v e r B e r t r a n d ' s f i s t had l a n d e d w i t h some f o r c e h i g h up on h i s r i g h t cheekbone. A l i t t l e shaken, but undismayed, Dixon stood s t i l l and, w h i l e B e r t r a n d was s t i l l o f f h i s balance a f t e r d e l i v e r i n g h i s "blow,  47; h i t him v e r y h a r d indeed on the l a r g e r and more c o n v o l u t e d of h i s e a r s . B e r t r a n d f e l l down, . . . Amis d e s c r i b e s o f the  the f i g h t as a r i t u a l ,  i n c i d e n t i s c a r e f u l and  observed.  I t i s meant t o be  the triumph o f decency. opponent, who,  the  a ritual,  Bertrand  an a c t i n g out  i s the  stereotype  as the a r t i s t , poseur and  hypocrite,  h o n e s t exponent o f decency. seeking  as the b l u f f  of the  corrupt  he  and  "town," and  t o the way him  of v i o l e n c e as a comic d e v i c e  provides  i n which Amis uses comedy and f a r c e t o  i n presenting  the m o r a l i t y .  admiring  i s , i n Fielding's,  language even c o n t r a s t s w i t h Jim's " f l a t n o r t h e r n use  of  stands  Bertrand i s c i t i f i e d ,  t h e i r patronage;  terms, a r e p r e s e n t a t i v e  The  tempo  slow, w i t h e v e r y move  opposed t o Jim's p i c t u r e o f h i m s e l f  the r i c h and  and  his voice." a clue assist  I t i s u s e f u l t o go back  t o the p a r a l l e l s w i t h F i e l d i n g and  to see  Amis's s a t i r e t h e r e  l i k e the d i c t u m of  i s a r u l e very  F i e l d i n g t h a t o n l y an  that  " i l l - f r a m e d mind" can  guiding  see  ugliness,  i n f i r m i t y or p o v e r t y as r i d i c u l o u s i n themselves and  that 74  a f f e c t a t i o n can be  the  only true object of  ridicule.'  Such an a t t i t u d e d i s p l a y s a b a s i c decency and ness t o acknowledge the Watt examines the way  .'^  s a n c t i t y of the  a willing-  individual.  Ian  i n which t h i s decency i s d i s p l a y e d  i n the comic t e c h n i q u e of F i e l d i n g ; he s t a t e s t h a t The s p e c t a c l e of a v i l l a g e mob a s s a u l t i n g a pregnant g i r l a f t e r c h u r c h s e r v i c e i s i n i t s e l f a n y t h i n g but amusing, and o n l y F i e l d i n g ' s b u r l e s q u e manner, h i s 'Homerican s t y l e ' , enables.him t o m a i n t a i n the  48 comie n o t e . I t i s c e r t a i n t h a t t h i s and some o t h e r e p i s o d e s would be q u i t e u n a c c e p t a b l e i f F i e l d i n g d i r e c t e d our a t t e n t i o n w h o l l y t o t h e a c t i o n s and f e e l i n g s o f t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s ; . . . .75 Although  Amis f r e q u e n t l y uses t h i s method t o produce  comedy, i t cannot be suggested i n a search f o r epic p a r a l l e l s ;  t h a t he f o l l o w s F i e l d i n g he does, however, f o l l o w  F i e l d i n g i n d i v e r t i n g the r e a d e r ' s a t t e n t i o n from t h e f e e l i n g s o f t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s i n the s i t u a t i o n i n o r d e r t o  produce comedy, r e c a l l i n g , p e r h a p s , F i e l d i n g ' s that misfortune  i n i t s e l f i s n o t humorous.  l a r g e e x t e n t t h e scenes utilize  t h i s method.  statement  To a v e r y  o f v i o l e n c e i n Amis's n o v e l s  F o r i n s t a n c e , i n t h e f o l l o w i n g scene  from Take A G i r l L i k e You,  the h o s t , J u l i a n Ormerod,  d e s c r i b e s one o f the h i g h p o i n t s o f h i s p a r t y : " W e l l , d u r i n g the f i r e f i g h t i n g some anonymous j e s t e r wandered i n t o my gun-room, which I blame m y s e l f f o r h a v i n g omitted t o l o c k , and p i c k e d up a f o w l i n g p i e c e , which he proceeded to d i s c h a r g e i n t h e g e n e r a l d i r e c t i o n o f the Thompson a r s e . Nearly missed him, b u t n o t q u i t e . Must have got him out of one o f t h e gun-room windows; they r u n j u s t r ; a l o n g t h e r e . J o l l y mordant b i t o f w i t , what?"' 6  Thompson, t h e v i c t i m , i s a m i l d man, though not a t a l l the s o r t o f man o f whom we c a n approve, b u t n e v e r t h e l e s s not d e s e r v i n g o f q u i t e so much v i o l e n c e . r a t h e r than u n p l e a s a n t ,  and Jenny, t h e h e r o i n e , t o whom  the above d e s c r i p t i o n i s addressed, for  him.^  can a t times f e e l  sorry  The language i n t h e e x c e r p t i s i n d i c a t i v e o f the  absence o f f e e l i n g . wit,  He i s p a t h e t i c  Julian's ironic  " J o l l y mordant b i t o f  what?;" seems t o d e p e r s o n a l i z e t h e whole e p i s o d e ; i t  49; r e i n f o r c e s the detached  o b j e c t i v e p o i n t o f view produced  by r e l a t i n g the i n c i d e n t i n p a s t time it  as i t happened.  and was h u r t .  instead ofdescribing  We f o r g e t t h a t Thompson had f e e l i n g  Through t h i s scene Amis a l l o w s h i s h e r o i n e ,  Jenny Bunn, t o r e v e a l h e r awareness o f P a t r i c k S t a n d i s h * s character. no  shot,'  She knows t h a t i t i s P a t r i c k who has f i r e d the  and t h e knowledge a i d s h e r i n p a s s i n g a moral  judgement on him. Amis i s a b l e t o m a i n t a i n t h i s impersonal his  h a n d l i n g o f J u l i a n Ormerod.  l i k e t h a t o f Dicken's  Mrs.  attitude i n  Ormerod*s c o n v e r s a t i o n ,  Gamp, i s l i m i t e d t o t h e  r e p e t i t i o n o f a s o r t of l e i t  m o t i f expressed  i n cuttingly  apt parody o f f a s h i o n a b l e M a y f a i r s l a n g , what P a t r i c k S t a n d i s h r e f e r s t o as h i s "Raf-and-Jaguar d i a l e c t . " f o l l o w i n g sentiments is  a r e expressed  i n what Amis  The  suggests  "a deep and c o n f i d e n t v o i c e w i t h a BBC a c c e n t " : He paused and s t a r e d h a r d a c r o s s t h e room t o where a woman w i t h heavy make-up and f i e r c e blonde h a i r was d r i n k i n g an e l a b o r a t e l y d e c o r a t e d d r i n k , h e r nose b u r i e d i n a l i t t l e clump o f m i n t . "Well, there's something a d m i r a b l y s u i t e d f o r a spot o f hoo-ha, I s h o u l d have thought. Now what about the o l d faggeroo? Eh? L e t ' s t r y the o l d f a g - o ' - m y - f i r k i n . " With t h i s he brought out c i g a r e t t e s and o f f e r e d them round.79  Ormerod i s one o f those f i g u r e s o f a u t h o r i t y o f whom Amis seems t o approve, and the r e a d e r i s n e v e r q u i t e sure what  fin k i n d o f judgement Amis makes c o n c e r n i n g h i s He  behaviour.  i s , however, t h e c h a r a c t e r who p o i n t s out P a t r i c k ' s  l a c k o f moral standards  and i n so d o i n g s e r v e s a u s e f u l  5Q  f u n c t i o n i n the p r e s e n t a t i o n of m o r a l i t y . T h i s use o f l e i t m o t i f p a r a l l e l s i n i t s u t i l i t y F i e l d i n g ' s "Homerican s t y l e . "  U n f o r t u n a t e l y , however,  Amis has r e l i e d t o o much upon i t ,  with the r e s u l t that  even b e f o r e t h e p u b l i c a t i o n o f Take A G i r l L i k e You t h e hero h i m s e l f has become s t e r e o t y p e d . Garnet  Thus we r e a d t h a t  Bowen's " l a r g e and well-made frame blended w i t h an  a i r o f i n e f f i c i e n c y , " o r t h a t Bowen s w i f e was "a p r e t t y 1  l i t t l e dark woman w i t h s t r o n g hands and b i g wondering eyes,  [who] was p u t t i n g a p r o t e s t i n g c h i l d i n t o i t s coat  to the accompaniment o f a song b e i n g sung v e r y l o u d l y and 81 b a d l y by Frank  Sinatra."  S i m i l a r l y the r e a c t i o n s o f t h e heroes t o the women t h e y meet a r e remarkably  dead and s t e r i l e .  When he f i r s t  meets C h r i s t i n e , a g i r l who seems t o impress him and w i t h whom he l a t e r f a l l s i n l o v e , J i m Dixon,  i n a few seconds,  notices . . . a l l he needed t o n o t i c e about t h i s g i r l : the combination o f f a i r h a i r , s t r a i g h t and c u t s h o r t , w i t h brown eyes and no l i p s t i c k , the s t r i c t s e t o f the mouth and the square s h o u l d e r s , t h e l a r g e b r e a s t s and t h e narrow w a i s t , t h e p r e m e d i t a t e d s i m p l i c i t y o f t h e w i n e - c o l o r e d c o r d u r o y s k i r t and the unornamented white l i n e n blouse.82 Perhaps t h e f l a t n e s s of Jim's response  c a n be excused on  the grounds t h a t t h i s i n c i d e n t i s o n l y meant t o be the b r i e f e s t and c o l d e s t d e s c r i p t i o n o f C h r i s t i n e and t h a t i t i s i n t e n d e d t o i n d i c a t e both Jim's d e t e r m i n a t i o n n o t t o become i n v o l v e d and h i s f e e l i n g t h a t she i s i n a c c e s s i b l e  51 t o him,  hut the r e a d e r has no way  of b e i n g  sure.  A l t h o u g h i n h i s l a s t n o v e l , Take A G i r l L i k e You. i s more i n t e r e s t e d i n l o v e and men  i n the r e l a t i o n s h i p s between  and women, when Jenny f i r s t  i s described  i n the  sees P a t r i c k S t a n d i s h ,  same r a t h e r f l a t  t o p e r s i s t throughout the  Amis  he  language which tends  novel:  He was handsome i n a r a t h e r s i s s y way, and was p r e t e n d i n g to have f o r g o t t e n he s t i l l had h i s hand on the open door. She c o u l d t e l l t h a t i f he had been s m o k i n g a c i g a r e t t e he  h i s mouth and off her. 3  w o u l d h a v e t a k e n i t out  of  thrown i t away without t a k i n g h i s eyes  8  A l l t h i s e v e n t u a l l y r e s u l t s i n a l a c k of r e l i e f , f l a t n e s s of d e t a i l which i s i n t e n s i f i e d by the l a p s e s i n s t y l e and  a  unfortunate  the l a c k of c l a r i t y as i s shown i n  P a t r i c k ' s comment about  girls:  And, f a r more important, he knew t h a t i f he d i d manage t o f i n d a specimen of the r e a l s t u f f — a g i g a n t i c p r o v i s o *~ he would i n a l l p r o b a b i l i t y be nervous of i t . I r r i t a t i n g , t h a t . What was i t t h a t had l o n g ago set" M s t a s t e at v a r i a n c e w i t h h i s temperament, w i t h the r e s u l t t h a t the ones he l i k e d were n e v e r the r e a l s t u f f and, i n cases where t h e i r t r a n s m u t a t i o n i n t o something n e a r e r the r e a l s t u f f became p o s s i b l e , he was apt t o f i n d h i m s e l f conf r o n t e d w i t h something o t h e r than what he had o r i g i n a l l y l i k e d ? A b i t more t h a n i r r i t a t i n g , t h a t . There was a l s o the p o i n t t h a t t o keep on t r a n s m u t i n g n o n - r e a l i n t o q u a s i - r e a l s t u f f was a procedure o f dubious moral tendency. But screw a l l t h a t from here t o e t e r n i t y . T r y i n g not t o be a bad man took up f a r more energy than he c o u l d , o r was p r e p a r e d t o , spare from t r y i n g not t o be a n a s t y man, a f a r more p r e s s i n g t a s k , e s p e c i a l l y t h i s l a s t y e a r o r two. Not o n l y that: a l l t h i s moral b u s i n e s s was poor equipment f o r one b a r e l y i n t o h i s s t r i d e on the huge t r e k t o satiety. " 8 q  The  passage above i s i n t e n d e d  t o make an  explicit  52 moral comment c e n t e r i n g on some p e r c e p t i o n of the o f decency, an i d e a which has  i t s foundation  d i s t i n c t i o n between "bad"  "nasty"  and  i n Patrick's  and which  takes  i n t o account Amis's n o t i o n t h a t „sexual i m m o r a l i t y the g r a v e s t  of s i n s .  Nevertheless,  t h a t i t i s n e v e r v e r y c l e a r how made,  idea  i s not  the s t y l e i s so. obscure  t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n i s to  be  whatever d i s t i n c t i o n can be made seems to hinge  upon Amis's p e r c e p t i o n o f decency as the p r e s e r v a t i o n o f human d i g n i t y , but, because o f the d i f f i c u l t y of c u t t i n g through obscure.prose and  of f i n d i n g a c o n s i s t e n t a t t i t u d e  t o take to P a t r i c k , t h i s i s n e v e r c l e a r . f o c u s i n Take A G i r l L i k e You,  shift  of  (the above q u o t a t i o n i s  t a k e n f r o m t h a t p o r t i o n which f o c u s s e s nothing  The  o n P a t r i c k ) , does  to make t h i s t a s k e a s i e r .  Yet Amis can sometimes use  f l a t and  inexpressive  language, c o n c e n t r a t i n g upon an elementary but emphasized l o g i c which has  over-  a comic i n t e n t but which goes  f a r t h e r t h a n comedy t o l e a d d i r e c t l y to q u e s t i o n s  of t r u t h  and v a l u e s , as i n Garnet Bowen s comments on a d v e r t i s i n g : 1  He thought t o h i m s e l f now t h a t i f ever he went i n t o the brewing b u s i n e s s h i s p o s t e r s would have w r i t t e n a c r o s s the top "Bowen's Beer", and t h e n underneath t h a t i n the middle a p i c t u r e . o f Mrs. Knowles d r i n k i n g a l o t of i t and f a l l i n g about, and then a c r o s s the bottom i n b o l d o r s a l i e n t l e t t e r i n g the words "Makes You D r u n k " . 5 8  Here Amis t r i e s t o r e a c h d i r e c t l y what h i s homme moyen s e n s u e l t h i n k s , and i n t h i s he as he  i s by and  large successful,  i s i n the f o l l o w i n g passage i n which he  tries  to  53 strip  John Lewis's thought o f i t s p e r i p h e r a l and a b s t r a c t  tags: Why d i d I l i k e women s b r e a s t s so much? I was c l e a r on why I l i k e d them, thanks, but why d i d I l i k e them so much?.86 1  In the above example, the t e c h n i q u e does n o t r e i n f o r c e the hero's a l l e g i a n c e t o decency;  i t i s o n l y the a c c u r a t e ,  though r e a l i s t i c , p i c t u r e o f a somewhat crude thought. Amis o f t e n uses c r u d i t y f o r comic e f f e c t , but i n a d d i t i o n he t r i e s t o make the c r u d i t y r e i n f o r c e point i s at issue.  whatever  Jim's d i f f e r e n c e from and h a t r e d of  the  Welch f a m i l y come out s t r o n g l y when he e x h o r t s  their  cat  t o " S c r a t c h 'em,  The  . . . pee on the c a r p e t s . " ^ 8  i n c i d e n t i s funny because i t suggests a l u d i c r o u s cons p i r a c y between Jim and the c a t . Jim's f a c e s which r e f l e c t  The c o n s p i r a c y ,  like  h i s i n s e c u r i t y and c h i l d i s h n e s s ,  i l l u s t r a t e s h i s impotence i n the f a c e o f s o c i e t y , as does the  d e l i b e r a t e l y m i s s p e l l e d and crude phrase "Ned  i s a Soppy F o o l w i t h a Fase l i k e a P i g s Bum" s c r a w l s on Welch's s h a v i n g m i r r o r .  Welch  which he  S i m i l a r l y , both Jim  and John Lewis i n d u l g e i n v a r i o u s a n t i c s on the t e l e p h o n e . The telephone i s one of those i n s t r u m e n t s o f modern s o c i e t y which seems to d e f e a t these men;  they e i t h e r  c o m i c a l l y misuse i t or demonstrate a s i n g u l a r  incompetence  w i t h i t because t h e y are o u t s i d e t h a t group t o whom the telephone b e l o n g s by r i g h t and t h e y are n o t a t ease u s i n g it.  Amis a l l o w s h i s comic t a l e n t f u l l r e i g n i n these  54 scenes  and t h e y are e f f e c t i v e i n d e m o n s t r a t i n g the p o s i -  t i o n o f h i s heroes i n r e l a t i o n t o the s o c i e t y i n which t h e y f i n d themselves c l u s i o n of one  f o r c e d to o p e r a t e .  At the  con-  of these comic scenes, d u r i n g which John  Lewis f o r g e t s t o push the "A" b u t t o n and wastes h i s t e l e p h o n e d i n s u l t s , he d e l i v e r s h i m s e l f o f the  following  sentiments: The way t o get through, o r r a t h e r round, t h e i r defences was t o come c a r t w h e e l i n g i n t o the u p s t a i r s lounge i n f r o n t of them a l l and do a can-can wearing the Welsh woman's o u t f i t , m o d i f i e d i n advance by h a v i n g SOD THE WHOLE LOT OF YOU worked i n gamboge a c r o s s the s h o u l d e r - b l a d e s . That would be more the s o r t of t h i n g . 8 8  Here the dichotomy between "we" Lewis i s the man  who  and  "they" i s used.  i s o u t s i d e the s o c i a l system  John  i n which  he i s t r y i n g t o operate and i m p l i c i t  i n the dichotomy i s  the thought  "they" are n o t .  that  "we"  are decent and  sentiment here i s uncouth,  The  but as always i n the n o v e l s  t h e r e i s the i n t e n t i o n t o make mere c r u d i t y serve some purpose.  The problem  lies  i n d e t e r m i n i n g whether or not  Amis i s s u c c e s s f u l i n p r e s e n t i n g m o r a l i t y through  this  method. U l t i m a t e l y , Amis's technique tends t o be c o n f u s i n g . At it.si b e s t i t a l l o w s him to be impersonal and  detached;  h i s d e s c r i p t i o n s of b e h a v i o u r e s p e c i a l l y , produce detachment.  such  However, c o n s t a n t l y r e p e a t e d d e v i c e s and  u n i f o r m i t y of the responses t h e y produce  tend f i n a l l y  b l u r the p r e s e n t a t i o n o f m o r a l i t y , r e s u l t i n g i n an  to  55,  o v e r s i m p l i f i c a t i o n of the moral problems i n v o l v e d i n anygiven s i t u a t i o n .  When b e h a v i o u r i s t o o o f t e n  when d e s c r i p t i o n of c h a r a c t e r s i s too and  sterile,  and  when d i a l o g u e  ritual,  often sparse,  i s too o f t e n r e d u c e d t o  r e p e t i t i o n o f c a t c h p h r a s e s , then the f i n e b a l a n c e d e t a i l required to present available.  flat the  of  complex human problems i s not  Take f o r example the d e s c r i p t i o n o f  Jenny Bunn d i v i d e s p e o p l e i n t o two  classes:  character.  stooges,  and  others. He had put h i s papers down and was e v i d e n t l y r e p a i r i n g a c i g a r e t t e , one of the s m a l l s o r t , w i t h a p i e c e of stamp-paper. T h i s put i t a b s o l u t e l y beyond a l l p o s s i b l e doubt t h a t he was a s t o o g e . . . . . . Stooges were e a s i e s t t o p i c k out as c h i l d r e n , . . . but Jenny had got so good a t r e c o g n i s i n g the grown-up ones t h a t j u s t c a t c h i n g s i g h t of them at a d i s t a n c e was sometimes a l l she needed. They had t o be w a l k i n g then, because a p a r t from t h i n g s l i k e t h e i r always h a v i n g the l a t e s t b u s - t i m e t a b l e and w r i t i n g i n t h e i r p e r s o n a l memoranda on the page f o r i t i n d i a r i e s and l o o k i n g a t times a l i t t l e l i k e a l a d y , the most r e l i a b l e way of t e l l i n g one was i f he had one o f the two k i n d s of stooge walk: . . . . so f a r she had n e v e r r u n i n t o a stooge w i t h i d e a s about h e r who had s t a r t e d anything. They j u s t l o o k e d , i n a sad, f i x e d way, like someone w a t c h i n g a f t e r a s t r e e t a c c i d e n t . ° 9 But  the w o r l d i s n o t  adequate c r i t e r i o n to use nevertheless,  l i k e t h i s and  i n complex r e l a t i o n s w i t h  Jenny i s guided by  A l t h o u g h Graham M c C l i n t o c h , ness i s one is,  o f the few  t o h e r , not  such  an others;  classifications.  whose d i s c o u r s e  on u n a t t r a c t i v e -  t r u l y moving p o r t i o n s o f the  q u i t e a stooge, " b e i n g  movements and not  t h i s i s not  too  novel,  slow i n h i s  l o o k i n g anxious enough," he  is  "certainly  56 a dud." and  90  As much as Jenny seems t o l e a r n about p e o p l e  d i f f e r i n g standards,  tags.  At the n o v e l ' s  such a way  Amis p e r s i s t s i n u s i n g  end,  as t o make him  Mr.  these  Vhittaker i s described i n  seem t o be  a stooge.  He  shakes  91 hands w i t h  "a q u i c k up-ahd^down movement,"  and  leaves,  " g l a n c i n g a t her i n an a p o l o g e t i c wondering w a y . " ^ All  t h i s i s c o n f u s i n g , as i s the n o v e l ' s r e s o l u t i o n .  Jenny c o n t i n u e s  w i t h what seems t o be  a most u n p r o m i s i n g  and u n s a t i s f a c t o r y l o v e a f f a i r , d e s p i t e h e r e x p e r i e n c e ,  and  Amis p e r s i s t s i n u s i n g t a g s which, i n terms of t h a t e x p e r i ence, s h o u l d be o b s o l e t e . effect  Thus he  tends to n u l l i f y  of J e n n y s moral development and d i s t r a c t s 1  r e a d e r from s e e i n g t h a t she has Amis's technique  the  the  become more s o p h i s t i c a t e d .  i s l i m i t i n g and p r e v e n t s  development i n the p r e s e n t a t i o n of m o r a l i t y .  a consistent The  limit-  a t i o n s of h i s technique  are p a r a l l e l e d by the f l a w i n h i s  v i s i o n through which he  too o f t e n a l l o w s h i s c e n t r a l f i g u r e s  t o exceed the bounds o f common decency. of the comic e p i s o d e s  permit  A l t h o u g h the  g r e a t detachment, and  best  contribute  to the c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of the hero as l'homme moyen s e n s u e l , the r e p e t i t i o n o f the same d e v i c e s and the of f l a t  or s t e r i l e  the c o m p l e x i t i e s  excessive  use  language prevent.. Amis from r e v e a l i n g  of s i t u a t i o n and  emotion which i n e v i t a b l y  a r i s e when such a c h a r a c t e r f a c e s the  world.  CHAPTER IV Conclusion  In  o r d e r t o e v a l u a t e f i n a l l y Amis's success i n h i s  p r e s e n t a t i o n of m o r a l i t y , we not  Amis o f f e r s  s h o u l d determine  an a c c e p t a b l e moral  whether or  code and whether or  not t h a t code i s c o n s i s t e n t l y p r e s e n t e d throughout novels.  We  s h o u l d f u r t h e r determine  the  whether o r not  d e f e c t s i n the m o r a l i t y , as i t appears, are a r e s u l t  any of  e r r o r s i n Amis's technique or whether t h e y r e p r e s e n t a flaw i n h i s v i s i o n .  U l t i m a t e l y the q u e s t i o n can he  put  i n terms o f Amis's success w i t h the c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of his  hero.  Does he p r e s e n t h i s h e r o as a decent man  i s put upon by s o c i e t y and who a c t i o n , a man  who  who  has no r e a l c h o i c e of  i s t r a p p e d , o r does the  and w i t h i t the moral p o s i t i o n ,  characterization,  fail?  Amis, as we have seen, i s a t g r e a t p a i n s t o e s t a b l i s h his  heroes  as decent men.  He  d i s t i n c t i o n between innocence s e n s u a l i t y and h y p o c r i s y .  observes c a r e f u l l y the and e x p e r i e n c e and between  H i s h e r o e s , as we have  seen,  are the i n n o c e n t s i n a w o r l d i n which s o c i e t y i s c o r r u p t , and each attempts  t o a c t d e c e n t l y and s u r v i v e , i n the f a c e  of the h y p o c r i s y and m a l i c e which he f i n d s i n the w o r l d  58 around him.  The m o r a l i t y o f h i s heroes c e n t e r s upon t h e i r  behaving w i t h s i n c e r i t y and i n t e g r i t y ,  and  as an u n d e r l y i n g a d m i s s i o n , the moral f a c t  acknowledges, t h a t the  harming o f o t h e r s i s a f a r worse s i n than t h a t o f s i m p l y gratifying  one's senses.  Thus i t i s t h a t Amis can adopt a  p e r m i s s i v e a t t i t u d e to drunkenness and  lasciviousness,  p r o v i d e d t h a t ho r e a l harm t o o t h e r s i s done. I t i s i n the r e s o l u t i o n o f the moral c o n f l i c t s the  that  d i f f i c u l t i e s i n the a p p r e c i a t i o n o f m o r a l i t y o c c u r .  We have seen t h a t the t y p i c a l Amis hero i s a man r e c e i v e s punishment  who  f o r s i n s o f which he i s not g u i l t y  and  does not appear t o be p u n i s h e d f o r those o f which he i s guilty.  Amis i s most i n t e r e s t e d i n the way  i n which some  people appear t o be p u n i s h e d f a r i n excess of the crimes t h e y commit, w h i l e o t h e r s are a l l o w e d t o go r e l a t i v e l y unpunished f o r crimes o f a f a r more s e r i o u s n a t u r e . Consequently, i n h i s n o v e l s Amis wants t o c o r r e c t  this  moral imbalance, and i n o r d e r t o do so he I n t r o d u c e s the element o f l u c k .  C e r t a i n l y i f we a c c e p t Amis's view o f  h i s hero as the average decent man, we  h i s homme moyen s e n s u e l .  are g r a t i f i e d when l u c k p l a y s i t s p a r t and a l l o w s him t o  emerge f r o m h i s t r i b u l a t i o n s  r e l a t i v e l y unscathed.  But, as  we have seen, the k i n d o f r e s o l u t i o n o f the moral c o n f l i c t which Amis seems t o f a v o u r i s r e a l l y an e v a s i o n o f the r e a l moral i s s u e and, a l t h o u g h our sympathy i s w i t h the h e r o , we  cannot i g n o r e the f a c t t h a t he has made no  real  §9  moral c h o i c e hut s i m p l y has heen a b s o l v e d by b e i n g g i v e n  94 an "easy o u t ; " ^  Such a compromise cannot  reinforce  the  moral p o s i t i o n p r e s e n t e d i n any o f the n o v e l s , however a t t r a c t i v e t h a t p o s i t i o n , as i t a b d i c a t e s the s t r u g g l e w i t h the moral i s s u e . the f i r s t  Thus the r e s o l u t i o n o f the c o n f l i c t i n  t h r e e n o v e l s , at l e a s t , i s u n s a t i s f a c t o r y so f a r  as the p r e s e n t a t i o n of m o r a l i t y i s Ill  o f Amis's n o v e l s are s a t i r i c  must have a moral p o s i t i o n .  concerned. i n i n t e n t and  thus  I n t a k i n g the view t h a t the  p r o p e r b u s i n e s s of s a t i r e i s to d e a l w i t h a f f e c t a t i o n ,  he  i s r u t h l e s s i n d e e d w i t h those c h a r a c t e r s whom he c o n s i d e r s dangerously  affected.  The danger o f a f f e c t a t i o n l i e s i n  the harm i t can do t o o t h e r s . i s the i d e a t h a t no one  Concomitant w i t h t h i s theme  i s i n a p o s i t i o n t o d i c t a t e what  i s good f o r o t h e r people  and t h a t one must t r e a t  w i t h the awareness t h a t t h e y are f u l l y individuals.  Amis i s extremely  consenting  c o n s c i o u s of these  and h i s work seldom f a i l s t o take cognizance  worker i n the s t o r y "Moral F i b e r \" throughout  ideas  of them.  as he o b j e c t s t o the "do-good" a t t i t u d e of the  o f S c i e n c e F i c t i o n i n Hew  others  Just  socialhis analysis  Maps o f H e l l t h e r e i s i m p l i c i t  a g r e a t d e a l of concern w i t h the i m m o r a l i t y of l e g i s l a t i n g what i s good f o r o t h e r s . Thus Amis i m p l i e s a code o f b e h a v i o u r f o r the decent man  average  which p e r m i t s him t o g r a t i f y h i s s e l f - i n t e r e s t  and h i s s e n s u a l i t y o n l y i f he c a n do so without  harming  60 others;  he  of others  i s a l s o hound to r e c o g n i z e  t o go t o h e l l i n t h e i r own  developing  c h a r a c t e r s who  subscribe  the  way.  However i n  t o such a moral code,  Amis does p e r m i t them to do harm t o o t h e r s j u s t i c e i n t o t h e i r own  sacred r i g h t  by  taking  hands, w i t h t h e . r e s u l t t h a t some  o f h i s heroes appear to exceed the bounds of t h a t common decency which f o r Amis l i e s at the b a s i s o f m o r a l i t y . p o s s i b l e argument t h a t these heroes are t r a p p e d by s o c i e t y and t o get  The  their  f o r c e d to engage i n immoral b e h a v i o u r i n  order  some k i n d of j u s t i c e , i s l a r g e l y s e l f - d e f e a t i n g ,  f o r what Amis must show i s how  the  average decent man  t o behave i n h i s s o c i e t y w i t h o u t s a c r i f i c i n g h i s  is  own  standards o f decency. Amis f a i l s t o s o l v e the problem i n t h a t the o f the n o v e l s f a i l  to make the  u n t i l Take A G i r l L i k e You,  he  issue c l e a r . can  show no  resolutions  The one  fact  that,  of h i s  heroes as h a v i n g p r o g r e s s e d i n h i s s o c i a l or moral b e h a v i o u r i n d i c a t e s t h a t he in society.  As  cannot see  can  see no  end  F o r example, i n the case of  i f not  His ultimate  to act outside  issue altogether.  i s permitted T h i s i s no  and  the bounds  employment i s c u r i o u s l y  a c t u a l l y d e s t r u c t i v e , and  m a t e r i a l s u c c e s s he  Jim  to the p r o c e s s o f s e l f i s h n e s s  s e l f - d e l u s i o n which causes him of decency.  t o make h i s m o r a l i t y work  a r e s u l t , the p o s i t i o n o f the i n d i v i d u a l  hero remains ambiguous. Dixon we  a way  negative,  by a c h i e v i n g a modicum o f to r e s i g n from the  moral  s o l u t i o n to the problem of  61 m o r a l i t y i n everyday In o r d e r  life.  t o make any k i n d o f c r i t i c a l judgement upon  Amis as a n o v e l i s t , we must determine why i s l e d to r e s o l v e the moral c o n f l i c t u n s a t i s f a c t o r y way. o f m o r a l i t y as we capable of b e i n g  i t i s t h a t Amis  i n h i s novels i n t h i s  I t would appear t h a t the  perception  f i n d i t i n the n o v e l s i s p e r f e c t l y extended as a code of b e h a v i o u r f o r the  average decent man,  but  i t i s i n the p r e s e n t a t i o n  of  this  m o r a l i t y t h a t Amis makes h i s e r r o r s . Underlying  the  e r r o r s there  a rather d u l l perception  i s , on the p a r t of Amis,  of values,  Lehman suggests, b a l a n c e has  so t h a t , as John  gone awry. ^  In the most  s e r i o u s c a s e , t h i s apparent l o s s of balance can be upon a f a u l t i n t e c h n i q u e . P a t r i c k Standish hero and has  appeared to some r e a d e r s ,  L i k e You No  o c c u p i e s the  and  among them Lehman, t h a t same p o s i t i o n i n Take A  as does Jim D i x o n i n Lucky Jim.  average decent man;  had  permitted  and  upon her  the f o c u s  the  consequently i t  Now  amount o f s o p h i s t r y can make P a t r i c k  i n t o the  You.  appears to d i s p l a c e Jenny Bunn as  c e n t r a l f i g u r e i n the n o v e l ,  P a t r i c k Standish  so.  In Take A G i r l L i k e  blamed  he  t h i s i s not Standish  i s not d e c e n t .  of the n o v e l  s t r u g g l e to p r e s e r v e h e r  Girl  I f Amis  t o remain upon Jenny standards i n a  s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n which i s opposed t o t h e i r maintenance, he would have been w e l l able t o m a i n t a i n the moral b a l a n c e of h i s  novel.  62 The are  shorteomings o f J u l i a n Ormerod or L a r r y Bannion  n o t judged t o he as s e r i o u s as e i t h e r the p o s i n g and  a f f e c t a t i o n of the Welch f a m i l y o r the v u l g a r i t y o f John Lewis's "smart" f r i e n d s because n e i t h e r Ormerod n o r Bannion i s m a l i c i o u s .  Yet i t i s t o o much to ask o f a  reader to discount t h e i r behaviour f o r t h i s reason, or to p e r c e i v e the moral b e h i n d the c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n s when almost no n o t i c e o f i n t e n t i o n i s g i v e n by t h e a u t h o r , p a r t i c u l a r l y so  s i n c e Amis elsewhere has i n d i c a t e d an a d m i r a t i o n o f t h e  s o r t o f man are  who  has d i s c o v e r e d t h a t "the more r u l e s t h e r e  the e a s i e r and s a f e r itr i s to b r e a k them."  c o u r s e , he i s i l l u s t r a t i n g  y  Here, o f  the hero a g a i n s t s o c i e t y ,  approach o f which he seems q u i t e f o n d , but which he h a n d l e s i n such a way  an often  as to confuse the moral i s s u e .  It  i s c a r e l e s s i n d e e d t o a l l o w such s i t u a t i o n s t o creep i n t o the  n o v e l s w i t h o u t a f u l l e r e x p l a n a t i o n o f the moral  d i s t i n c t i o n s t o be observed. G e n e r a l l y s p e a k i n g , however, the t e c h n i q u e of the n o v e l s a d m i r a b l y s u p p o r t s the moral i n t e n t .  The  dialogue  and language u n d e r l i n e the decent and matey g o o d - f e l l o w s h i p of  the heroes and remind us c o n t i n u a l l y o f an a l l e g i a n c e  between decent men.  I t s h o u l d be observed t h a t the use o f  common speech i s i n no way  s a t i r i c a l and, as M a r t i n Green  p o i n t s out, Amis, u n l i k e Waugh, i s committed  to rather  97 than c r i t i c a l of i t s u s e r s .  J (  S i m i l a r l y , the a c t u a l  s a t i r e i s always d i r e c t e d a t i t s t a r g e t which i s  €3a f f e c t a t i o n , and Therefore,  few  i f any  excesses o c c u r .  the i s s u e i s not  so much whether or  Amis i s on h i s t a r g e t hut whether o r not the c o r r e c t one, attacks  and,  i f i t can be  the t a r g e t i s  shown t h a t Amis's  are worthwhile, i t goes a l o n g way  h i s performance.  Not  not  to  justifying  a l l c r i t i c s , however, would agree  t h a t Amis i s f i r i n g a t the  correct target.  summarizes the argument a g a i n s t  D.  J. Enright  him:  ... i t appears to be f e l t i n some q u a r t e r s t h a t these n o v e l s have a more d i r e c t , more s i g n i f i c a n t c o n n e c t i o n w i t h the r e a l i t i e s o f contemporary l i f e t h a n i s the case, t h a t Mr. Amis i s t e l l i n g some important u n i v e r s a l t r u t h s r a t h e r t h a n e x p o s i n g some c o m p a r a t i v e l y minor l i e s — and making o d d l y heavy and ambiguous weather over that.98 Such a view i s s e n s i b l e ;  however, i t i s l i m i t e d i n t h a t  i t depends upon s e e i n g Amis's performance as a and  as a m o r a l i s t as b e i n g  solely destructive.  satirist The  " u n i v e r s a l t r u t h " t o be found i n h i s work i s a f u n c t i o n o f his presentation decent men,  o f the d i f f i c u l t y of h i s h e r o e s , average  i n acting decently  s t a n d a r d s of decency i n the  or i n maintaining  their  s o c i a l system i n which t h e y  operate. Amis i s to some e x t e n t p r e s e n t i n g outsider. man  I t may  as b e i n g  such.  He  seem odd  to d e s c r i b e  the case of  the  the average decent  an o u t s i d e r , but Amis c l e a r l y r e g a r d s him  i s an o u t s i d e r because he  i s t r y i n g to apply  code, a s e t of s t a n d a r d s , to a s o c i e t y which does not recognize  them as v a l i d or v i a b l e .  Jenny Bunn, f o r  as a  64 example, i s such an o u t s i d e r ; set  she t r i e s t o c l i n g t o a  of s t a n d a r d s which the s o c i a l system i n which she  operates r e f u s e s to r e c o g n i z e . a difficult  Needless t o say, t h i s i s  and c o n f u s i n g p o s i t i o n t o he i n and  l i k e the o t h e r Amis p r o t a g o n i s t s , f i n d s h e r s e l f  Jenny, confused  and t o r n , hut she, the most s u c c e s s f u l of Amis's c e n t r a l c h a r a c t e r s i n t h i s , does m a i n t a i n h e r s t a n d a r d s i n the f a c e of o p p o s i t i o n .  T h i s i s the problem which Amis i s  t r y i n g t o examine and i t seems c a r p i n g o f E n r i g h t t o suggest t h a t Amis i s s o l e l y concerned w i t h e x p o s i n g minor l i e s i n the f a c e of h i s determined, s u c c e s s f u l , attempts  i f not a l t o g e t h e r  t o d e a l w i t h the l a r g e r  issue.  There i s a s e r i o u s s t r u g g l e i m p l i e d i n Amis's n o v e l s and the c h a r a c t e r s are drawn up i n two w i t h the hero, and those people who one  opposing  forces,  are decent, on the  s i d e , and the a f f e c t e d , the m a l i c i o u s and the  on the o t h e r .  Those who  poseurs  are on the s i d e of decency  p e r m i t t e d by Amis t o engage i n conduct which cannot  are be  r e g a r d e d as a l t o g e t h e r decent, p r o v i d e d t h a t t h e y never d e v i a t e from s i n c e r i t y and h o n e s t y .  S i n c e honesty and  c o n c e r n f o r o t h e r s i s the s i g n of decency  a  i n these n o v e l s ,  t h e r e must be, on the p a r t o f the h e r o , a v i o l e n t  reaction  a g a i n s t the poseur and the phoney, as i s seen i n J i m Dixon's  c o n f l i c t w i t h B e r t r a n d Welch.  On the o t h e r hand, the l i v e s of the h e r o e s , Jenny Bunn excepted, are d i s t i n g u i s h e d by a p e r v a d i n g boredom.  This  65 t o o seems t o be a c o n d i t i o n o f b e i n g an o u t s i d e r . can h a r d l y be e x p e c t e d t o be happy and s o c i a l a c t i v i t y i f one i s engaging i n i t . t h r e e n o v e l s , was  The  stands  One  interested i n a  o u t s i d e the s o c i e t y which  boredom o f the h e r o , i n the  first  a v e r y g r e a t o b s t a c l e t o Amis i n p r e -  s e n t i n g the case f o r t h e average d e c e n t man, p e r v a d i n g boredom does n o t make t h e h e r o a  s i n c e such a sympathetic  c h a r a c t e r , n o r does i t engender an i n t e r e s t i n h i s p r o b l e m s . I n Take A G i r l L i k e You. meeting these o b j e c t i o n s . stands  Amis has  Although  gone a l o n g way  as an i n d i v i d u a l  o u t s i d e h e r s o c i e t y , J e n n y i s n o t b o r e d and  to she  indeed  t h e r e seems t o be an e q u a l amount o f g i v e and t a k e i n h e r dealings with that society. o f an Amis n o v e l who  J e n n y , as t h e o n l y p r o t a g o n i s t  c o n s p i c u o u s l y matures d u r i n g t h e  course  of t h e n o v e l , r e p r e s e n t s a r e a l advance i n c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n . W i t h Take A G i r l L i k e You Amis goes f a r t h e r towards r e s o l v i n g the m o r a l q u e s t i o n s r a i s e d i n h i s  preceding  n o v e l s , f o r a l t h o u g h Jenny l o s e s h e r p h y s i c a l v i r g i n i t y , she r e t a i n s h e r m o r a l i t y and c o n s e q u e n t l y  comes c l o s e r t o  s o l v i n g the p r o b l e m of m a i n t a i n i n g s t a n d a r d s  of decency  m o r a l i t y i n an a n t i p a t h e t i c s o c i e t y t h a n does any o t h e r  and of  Amis's c e n t r a l f i g u r e s . Amis a l s o seems on the way d i s c u s s i o n of l o v e .  t o i n t r o d u c i n g some s e r i o u s  U n t i l h i s most r e c e n t s h o r t s t o r y he  has l a r g e l y i g n o r e d any s e r i o u s d i s c u s s i o n of t h e v a l u e love.  John L e w i s l o v e s h i s w i f e and G a r n e t Bowen s a y s  of  66  repeatedly  t h a t he  l o v e s h i s , hut  t h a t i s j u s t about  as  c l o s e as any r e a d e r can get t o a s e r i o u s e x a m i n a t i o n of the problem.  "Something S t r a n g e " i n d i c a t e s t h a t Amis i s  aware of the r e l a t i o n between l o v e and i n which he  i s i n t e r e s t e d , but we  the k i n d of  have not  morality  as y e t seen  any  attempt to d e a l a d e q u a t e l y w i t h t h a t r e l a t i o n s h i p i n a novel. F i n a l l y , i t i s s a f e t o say t h a t i n h i s n o v e l s Amis presents  a tenable  moral p o s i t i o n , t h a t of behaving i n a  way  which t a k e s i n t o account the r i g h t s o f o t h e r s  way  which i n v o l v e s one's own  y e t , due  to flaws  l a c k of f o c u s  sincerity.  i n t e c h n i q u e and  on moral v a l u e s ,  r e a d e r s c o m p l e t e l y of the v a l u e  in a  But he has not  as  a r a t h e r more s e r i o u s  succeeded i n c o n v i n c i n g of t h a t moral p o s i t i o n  of the p o s s i b i l i t y of i t s a p p l i c a t i o n t o the his society.  and  his and  individual in  FOOTNOTES 1 Kenneth Tynan, "The Men of Anger," H o l i d a y . XXII ( A p r i l 1958), 92. John Holloway, ("Tank i n the S t a l l s : Notes on the •School o f Anger'," Hudson Review. X [Autumn 1957], 424-) suggests t h a t the term"Angry Young Man"is t a k e n from L e s l i e P a u l ' s Angry Young Man (1951) which i s concerned w i t h youth i n p o l i t i c s d u r i n g the n i n e t e e n - t h i r t i e s . But the f i a t which gave the e x p r e s s i o n c u r r e n c y i s undoubtedly Osborne's p r o d u c t i o n . 2  Tynan, op. c i t . , p .  93.  3 W i l l i a m E s t y , "The O l d i n H e a r t , " N a t i o n . A p r i l 1958, p . 373.  26,  4- L e s l i e F i e d l e r i n a more c a r e f u l a r t i c l e ("Class War i n B r i t i s h L i t e r a t u r e , " E s q u i r e . XLIX [ A p r i l 1958], 79-81) f a l l s i n t o the e r r o r and attempts t o e x p l a i n the movement i n terms of s o c i e t y and c l a s s w i t h o u t c o n s i d e r i n g c a r e f u l l y enough.the performance o f i n d i v i d u a l a r t i s t s and i n d i v i d u a l n o v e l s . L i k e Tynan, he s u g g e s t s t h a t "what we are b e h o l d i n g i s the c r e a t i o n o f a myth o f a g e n e r a t i o n . " 5 Tom M a s c h l e r , ed., I n t r o d u c t i o n t o D e c l a r a t i o n (London, 1957), p . 8. (London, 1958), P»  7*  6  The Angry Decade  7  C i t e d i n D e c l a r a t i o n , ed. M a s c h l e r , p . 8.  8 K i n g s l e y Amis, "Lone V o i c e s : Views o f the F i f t i e s , " E n c o u n t e r . XV ( J u l y I960), 10. 9 10  I b i d . , p . 11. S p e c t a t o r , Oct. 2, 1959,  p . 431.  11 K i n g s l e y Amis, " S o c i a l i s m and the I n t e l l e c t u a l s , " The Beat G e n e r a t i o n and the Angry Young Men, eds. G. Feldman and M. G a r t e n b e r g (New York, 1959), p . 34-3. 12 K i n g s l e y Amis, New Maps o f H e l l I960), p. 77.  (New York,  68 13 K i n g s l e y Amis, "Yanks and Limeys," S p e c t a t o r , Feb. 8 , p.  1957,  179.  14- S i n c e World War I I t h e r e have been i n England a number of working c l a s s men who have r e c e i v e d a u n i v e r s i t y e d u c a t i o n , have done w e l l , and y e t are unable to q u a l i f y s o c i a l l y f o r the c l a s s i n which t h e y c o u l d s u c c e s s f u l l y a p p l y such an e d u c a t i o n . The complete background of the new r o o t l e s s c l a s s i n B r i t i s h s o c i e t y i s g i v e n i n R i c h a r d Boggart's The Uses of L i t e r a c y (London, Hoggart d e s c r i b e s the p r e s s u r e s which are p l a c e d upon the working c l a s s i n modern B r i t a i n and the s o c i a l f l u x which t h e s e p r e s s u r e s have caused. Of p a r t i c u l a r i n t e r e s t i s h i s s e c t i o n on the S c h o l a r s h i p Boy i n which he p o i n t s out some of the d i f f i c u l t i e s which the working c l a s s man who o b t a i n s a u n i v e r s i t y e d u c a t i o n w i l l f a c e i n the p r o c e s s o f a d a p t i n g h i m s e l f to h i s new l e v e l . At the same time as t h i s tendency of the new r o o t l e s s c l a s s t o move up i n s o c i e t y i s o c c u r r i n g , the middle c l a s s e s are h a v i n g d i f f i c u l t y i n maintaining t h e i r s o c i a l d i s t i n c t i v e n e s s . These d i f f i c u l t i e s are examined by Lewis and Maude i n t h e i r book, The E n g l i s h Middle C l a s s e s (London, 1 9 5 3 ) , and i n the Manchester Guardian pamphlet on middle c l a s s budgets, The Middle C l a s s Way of L i f e ( 1 9 5 4 ) .  1957).  15 K i n g s l e y Amis, "Laughter's t o be Taken S e r i o u s l y , " Hew York Times Book Review. J u l y 7, 1 9 5 7 , p. 1. 16 Maynard Mack, ed., " I n t r o d u c t i o n " to Henry F i e l d i n g , Joseph Andrews ( T o r o n t o , 1 9 5 4 ) , p. x i i . 17  I960),  18  K i n g s l e y Amis, That U n c e r t a i n F e e l i n g (London, p.  171.  I b i d . , p. 5 6 .  19 G e o f f r e y Gorer w r i t e s of t h i s i n h i s a r t i c l e "The P e r i l s of Hypergamy," (New Statesman. May 4 , 1 9 5 7 , pp. 5 6 6 - 5 6 8 . ) Gorer d e f i n e s hypergamy as the m a r r y i n g upwards t o a h i g h e r s o c i a l c l a s s , and he p o i n t s out t h a t i n E n g l i s h s o c i e t y i t i s more u s u a l f o r the p a r t n e r w i t h h i g h e r s t a t u s to become d e c l a s s e , but s i n c e the s t a t u s of the p a r t n e r s h i p i s u s u a l l y a c q u i r e d from the male, female hypergamy i s not u n u s u a l . However, he sees male hypergamy as i l l u s t r a t e d by n o v e l s l i k e K i n g s l e y Amis's Lucky Jim and That U n c e r t a i n F e e l i n g , or John B r a i n e ' s Room a t The Top where . . . the hero, of w o r k i n g - c l a s s o r i g i n , i s m a r r i e d t o , or i n v o l v e d i n a p u b l i c l i a i s o n w i t h , a middle to u p p e r - m i d d l e - c l a s s woman"  %  69 and doesn't r e a l l y e n j o y i t a t a l l , i n the l o n g r u n . . He t h i n k s he i s 'destroyed' by h e r , o r would be 'destroyed' by h e r i f he d i d n ' t r e t u r n t o h i s p r o p e r w o r k i n g - c l a s s environment, or b o t h are reduced t o mutual m i s e r y and recrimination. These c r o s s - c l a s s u n i o n s , w i t h male hypergamy, don't work out, we are t o l d w i t h humour and anger ..and p a s s i o n and s e n t i mentality; and y e t i t i s i m p l i e d , i f n o t s t a t e d , t h a t i t i s o n l y among women o f t h i s h i g h e r s o c i a l c l a s s t h a t these b r i g h t young men can expect t o f i n d wives o r m i s t r e s s e s . Gorer, c i t i n g Hoggart, f o l l o w s w i t h a p r o f e s s i o n a l a n a l y s i s o f the reasons why male hypergamy i s now p o s s i b l e i n B r i t i s h S o c i e t y . He suggests t h a t , a l t h o u g h he i s a n a l y s i n g f i c t i o n , the p a r a l l e l e x i s t s i n contemporary E n g l i s h l i f e . 20 P. p.  K i n g s l e y Amis, I L i k e I t Here (London,  1958),  177. 21 Ian Watt, The R i s e o f the H o v e l 281.  (London,  1957),  22  Amis, I L i k e I t Here, p.  185.  23  Amis, "Laughter's t o be Taken S e r i o u s l y , " p.  24-  Loc. c i t .  25  Amis, "Laughter's t o be Taken S e r i o u s l y , " p.  1.  13.  26 Henry F i e l d i n g , P r e f a c e t o Joseph Andrews, (Toronto, 1954), p. x x i . 27  I b i d . , p.  xxii.  28 W i l l i a m Empson, "Tom ( S p r i n g 1958), 227. 29  Jones," Kenyon Review, XX  See Chapter I I below.  30 K i n g s l e y Amis, "Moral F i b e r , " E s q u i r e , L I (March 1959), 121. 31  I b i d . . p . 127.  See a l s o Chapter I I below.  32  K i n g s l e y Amis, A Case o f Samples (Hew  York,  1957), p. 46. 33  K i n g s l e y Amis, Lucky Jim (London,  1959), p.  19.  70 34  Amis, Lucky Jim, p. 8.  35 M a r t i n Green (A M i r r o r f o r Anglo-Saxons [New York, I 9 6 0 ] , p. 122) suggests t h a t Amis s e t s the decency o f h i s hero a g a i n s t the r e s t r i c t i v e v a l u e s of what might be c a l l e d E s t a b l i s h m e n t c o n f o r m i t y . Green sees Amis as an "anti-Gentleman" who has . . . an amazing g i f t f o r the d e t a i l t h a t d i s t i n g u i s h e s the gentleman from the decent man, not s o c i o l o g i c a l l y , but v i t a l l y , magnif y i n g , t h a t i s , the decent man i n t o the f i g u r e of l i f e and dehumanizing the o t h e r i n t o simple n a s t i n e s s ; d e t a i l s o f o p i n i o n , t a s t e , manners, language, morals, knowledge, e v e r y t h i n g . 36  Amis, Lucky Jim, p. 135«  37  Green, op. c i t . ,  38  Amis, Lucky Jim, p . 21.  39  I b i d . . p. 184-.  40  Loc. c i t .  pp. 95-124-.  . 41 W a l t e r A l l e n , i n h i s r e v i e w o f Lucky Jim (New Statesman, J a n . 30, 1954, p. 136), a t t r i b u t e s the v i o l e n c e of h i s r e a c t i o n t o h i s d i s l i k e o f h y p o c r i s y . D i s c u s s i n g the new concept o f the h e r o , A l l e n a s k s : Is he the i n t e l l e c t u a l tough, or the tough intellectual? He i s c o n s c i o u s l y , even cons c i e n t i o u s l y , g r a c e l e s s . H i s f a c e , when n o t dead pan, i s s e t i n a s n a r l of e x a s p e r a t i o n . He has one s k i n too few, but h i s i s not the s e n s i t i v e n e s s of the young man i n e a r l i e r t w e n t i e t h - c e n t u r y f i c t i o n : i t i s the phoney to which h i s nerve-ends are t r e m b l i n g l y exposed, and a t the l e a s t s u s p i c i o n of the phoney he goes tough. He i s a t odds w i t h h i s convent i o n a l u n i v e r s i t y e d u c a t i o n , though he comes g e n e r a l l y from a famous u n i v e r s i t y : He has seen t h r o u g h the academic r a c k e t as he sees through a l l the o t h e r s . A r a c k e t i s phoneyness o r g a n i s e d , and i n c o n t a c t w i t h phoneyness he t u r n s r e d j u s t as l i t m u s paper does i n c o n t a c t w i t h an a c i d . In l i f e he has been among us f o r some l i t t l e t i m e . One may s p e c u l a t e whence he derives. The S e r v i c e s , c e r t a i n l y , h e l p e d t o make him; but George O r w e l l , Dr. L e a v i s and the L o g i c a l P o s i t i v i s t s — o r , r a t h e r , the a t t i t u d e s these r e p r e s e n t — a l l c o n t r i b u t e d t o h i s  71 genesis. In f i c t i o n I t h i n k he f i r s t a r r i v e d l a s t y e a r , as the c e n t r a l c h a r a c t e r of Mr. John Wain's n o v e l Hurry Qn Down. He t u r n s up a g a i n i n Mr. Amis's Lucky Jim. 42 The a p p l i c a t i o n of face-making i n more s o p h i s t i c a t e d r o l e - p l a y i n g i s d i s c u s s e d by E r v i n g Goffman (The P r e s e n t a t i o n o f S e l f i n Everyday L i f e [New York, I n t r o d u c t i o n and p a s s i m ) . He suggests t h a t i t i s a c o n s c i o u s o r semi-conscious attempt to convince an observer of one's r o l e . Note a l s o Edgar A l l a n Poe's s h o r t s t o r y "The P u r l o i n e d L e t t e r , " (Great Tales, and Poems of Edgar A l l a n Poe [New York, 1951), p. 210) where Dupin uses face-making i n o r d e r to p r o j e c t h i m s e l f i n t o the p e r s o n a l i t y of another so t h a t he may d i v i n e t h a t person's t h o u g h t s . N e i t h e r o f these e x p l a n a t i o n s i s a p p l i c a b l e t o Jim Dixon and t h i s w r i t e r m a i n t a i n s t h a t Dixon's face-making i s caused by h i s c h i l d i s h attempt t o escape from the p r e s s u r e s o f h i s i n s e c u r i t y . In h i s l a s t n o v e l , (Take A G i r l L i k e You [London, I960], p. 302), Amis c a s t s f u r t h e r l i g h t on t h i s when one of h i s c h a r a c t e r s i s made t o comment on h e r r o l e - p l a y i n g : " P l a y i n g a p a r t ' s the o n l y t h i n g l e f t these days, i t shows you won't d e a l w i t h . s o c i e t y i n the way i t wants you t o . "  19593,  4-3  Amis, Lucky Jim, p.  44  Ibid..., p. 1 3 .  45  I b i d . , p.  6.  21.  46 L e t t e r to the E d i t o r , Sunday Times, Dec. 25, 1955. On Jan. 8, 1956, C. P. Snow r e p l i e d t o t h i s l e t t e r and attempted to account f o r the f e e l i n g s and b e h a v i o u r of these "scum." Both l e t t e r s are c i t e d i n W i l l i a m Van O'Connor, "Two Types o f 'Heroes' i n Post-war B r i t i s h F i c t i o n , " PMLA. LXXVII,(March 1962), 171-172. 47 In h i s s h o r t s t o r y "Moral F i b e r " (p. 122), Amis t u r n s t o the n o t i o n of the c h a r a c t e r who r e c e i v e s extreme punishment f o r s m a l l s i n s . D e s c r i b i n g the p s y c h i c d e g e n e r a t i o n t h a t a p r o s t i t u t e can expect, h i s hero observes: That was a n a s t y p r o s p e c t a l l r i g h t , and resembled a k i n d r e d n a s t i n e s s thought up by the Godhead i n seeming a d i s p r o p o r t i o n a t e p e n a l t y f o r r a t h e r obscure o f f e n s e s . Still, t h a t l i t t l e c a v i l about the grand d e s i g n had been answered l o n g ago, . . . •  72 48  Amis, Lucky Jim, p. 194.  49  I b i d . , p . 29.  50  Amis, That U n c e r t a i n F e e l i n g ,  51  I b i d . , p . 208.  52  I b i d . . p . 28.  53  I b i d . , p . 87.  54  I b i d . , p . 198.  55  I b i d . , P-  56  I b i d . , p. 209.  57  I b i d . , p.  58  Amis, I L i k e I t Here, p .  59  I b i d . , p. 35.  60  I b i d . , p. 13.  61  I b i d . , p.  62  I b i d . , p . 90.  63  I b i d . , p.  64  I b i d . , p . 208.  65  Amis, Lucky Jim, p .  66  I b i d . . p . 207.  67  Amis, A Case o f Samples, p . 29.  p . 222.  See a l s o Chapter I above.  122.  199. 170.  153.  91.  215.  68 K i n g s l e y Amis, Take A G i r l L i k e You (London, I960), p. 282. 69  I b i d . , p . 306.  70  I b i d . , p . 148.  71  I b i d . , p.  313.  72 K i n g s l e y Amis, "Something S t r a n g e , " S p e c t a t o r , Nov. 25, I960, p . 822. '  73 73  Amis, Lucky Jim, p . 185.  74  See Chapter I above.  75  Watt, The R i s e o f the N o v e l ,  76  Amis, Take A G i r l L i k e You, p. 3 1 0 .  77  I b i d . . p. 260.  78  I b i d . . p. 3 1 3 .  79  I b i d . , p. 4-5.  p. 2 5 3 .  80 John Lehman ("King o f S h a f t , " S p e c t a t o r . Sept. 23, 1960, p. 44-5) suggests t h a t Amis i s sometimes " u n n e r v i n g l y q u i r k y i n h i s endorsement o f c h a r a c t e r " and c i t e s Ormerod, and Bannion o f I L i k e I t Here as examples: ". . . i t came l i k e a s l a p i n the f a c e when Bowen c l a i m e d 'only an u n u s u a l l y n a s t y man c o u l d have r e s e n t e d Bannion's approaches.'" 81  Amis, I L i k e I t Here, p . 5»  82  Amis, Lucky Jim, p . 33»  83 Amis, Take A G i r l L i k e You, p. 1 3 . R. B. P a r k e r ("Farce and S o c i e t y : The Range o f K i n g s l e y Amis," W i s c o n s i n S t u d i e s i n Contemporary L i t e r a t u r e . I I [ F a l l 1 9 6 1 ] , 27-38) c i t e s t h i s q u o t a t i o n as an example of what he c a l l s a c t i n g a c l i c h e . 84  Amis, Take A G i r l L i k e You, p . 134.  85  Amis, I L i k e I t Here, pi. 80.  86  Amis, That U n c e r t a i n F e e l i n g , p. 53•  87 Amis, Lucky Jim, p. 160. I n a l e t t e r t o the S p e c t a t o r ( " E n g l i s h Pubs," Sept. 22, 1 9 6 1 , p . 384) Amis demonstrates t h a t t h e t e c h n i q u e o f u s i n g c r u d i t y t o r e i n f o r c e argument i s a p p l i c a b l e t o h i s n o n - f i c t i o n , when he w r i t e s The l i c e n s e e , then, d e s e r v e s , and w i l l I hope i n c r e a s i n g l y be g i v e n , most o f the blame. But i t i s worth r e p e a t i n g t h a t the d r i n k e r i s not guiltless. I f he d r i n k s t e p i d u r i n e w i t h o u t complaint, t e p i d u r i n e i s what he w i l l go on • getting. 88  Amis, That U n c e r t a i n F e e l i n g , p. 143.  74 89  Amis, Take A G i r l L i k e You, p . 102.  90  I b i d . , p. 120.  91  I b i d . , p . 315.  92  I b i d . , p . 317.  93  See Chapter I I above.  94 L e s l i e F i e d l e r ( o p . c i t . . p . 80) suggests t h a t : The newer B r i t i s h f i c t i o n i s p l a g u e d by knowing much b e t t e r where t o b e g i n t h a n where t o end; i t s heroes f l i r t w i t h s e l f - d e s t r u c t i o n , s u i c i d e o r u t t e r d e c l a s s i n g , but i n the l a s t c h a p t e r s t h e y t e n d t o be bundled s h a m e l e s s l y i n t o some s e n t i m e n t a l compromise. He c i t e s the r e s o l u t i o n o f That U n c e r t a i n F e e l i n g as an example. 95  See Chapter I I I above.  See a l s o f o o t n o t e 80.  96 K i n g s l e y Amis, "How t o Get Away w i t h I t , " N a t i o n , June 16, 1956, p . 515. 97 M a r t i n Green, "Amis and S a l i n g e r : The L a t i t u d e o f P r i v a t e C o n s c i e n c e , " Chicago Review, XI (Winter 1958), 20. 98 D. J . E n r i g h t , "New P a s t o r a l C o m i c a l , " S p e c t a t o r . Feb. 3, 1961, p . 155. -  BIBLIOGRAPHY I.  P r i m a r y Sources A.  Books Amis, K i n g s l e y . A Case o f Samples. New  1957.  ~~  . I L i k e I t Here. London, . Lucky J i m . London, . New  1959  Maps o f H e l l . New  York.  1958. [ 1 s t ed.  1954]  York, I960.  , and Robert Conquest. Spectrum: A S c i e n c e F i c t i o n A n t h o l o g y . London,  1961.  Amis, K i n g s l e y . Take A G i r l L i k e You. London, That1955]. U n c e r t a i n F e e l i n g . London, [1st. ed. B.  I960,  I960  Short S t o r i e s Amis, K i n g s l e y . "Court o f I n q u i r y . " S p e c t a t o r .  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