Vic Wilcox in David Lodge's Novel "Nice Work"

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Vic Wilcox in David Lodge's Novel "Nice Work"

In the opening chapter of "Nice Work" we are introduced to Vic Wilcox,

Managing Director of "J. Pringle & Sons Casting and General

Engineering". He lives in an upmarket house on the outskirts of

Rummage with his wife Marjorie and his three children. Raymond, Sandra

and Gary. Vic is man who is quintessentially British. So much so that

he refuses to buy goods made out of the country, the reason for his

annoyance at Marjorie wanting a microwave (96% manufactured in the

East) and for buying a Japanese clock radio. This is again shown in

his insistence on having a Jaguar as his company car, and the pleasure

he takes in beating a Toyota Celica away from a set of traffic lights.

Vic also holds some typically masculine ideals and perceptions, even

down to his dislike of female "gynaecological disclosures" and the

linear description of himself in the mirror, and the list like style

of his C.V.

The novel starts off with Vic Wilcox lying awake in bed worrying about

his career and the problems that will be facing him the next morning

when he arrives at work. "Worries streak towards him like enemy

spaceships in one of Gary's video games. He flinches, dodges, zaps

them with instant solutions." Interestingly Vic is not worrying about

his family at this time, which one might think he would. Perhaps

because his wife is on Valium in a response to the menopause, and one

of his teenage sons has recently dropped out of university, and his

daughter is more interested in a career in hairdressing than she is in

working for her final A-Levels. This early illustration of Vic's

anxiety shows that it is an important part of his character, as we are

introduced to it so early on in ...

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descriptions. There is also a lot of emphasis put upon his unease at

the female body and sex. This is shown by the fear of a discussion

about his daughter's sex life, both in what it could entail, and in

the probability that it would lead on to a discussion of Vic's own sex

life, which is presumably minimal. This unease is also shown at his

reaction to the pictures of his secretary's daughter who is trying to

become a glamour model. This is again masculine trait, along with the

list making, and the linear description of himself. This character is

built up by simply following the character around in his daily

routine, showing his reactions to everyday events. Subtle hints are

laid down, such as his views about politics, work, his family and

intellectuals. It is a very clever and concise as well as in depth

character construction illustrated here by Lodge.

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