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

Essay on 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 ...


... middle of paper ...


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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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