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Discuss the construction of the character of Vic Wilcox in the opening chapter of

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Discuss the construction of the character of Vic Wilcox in the opening chapter of "Nice Work" David Newsome 23/6/03 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. ...read more.


This is again a very masculine trait, as shown in High Fidelity by Nick Hornby, in which lists are very prominent in a novel about the male self. Lodge give us further insight into the unsuitability of his house with the use of the "en suite" bathroom and how it was a major selling point to his wife. Marjorie seems to be a woman whose taste is mocked and who is pleased by things that pretend to be something they aren't, such as the imitation fire-irons she desires, and the supposed grandeur associated with a house with four bathrooms, with gold plated taps. Marjorie is in fact so obsessed by "en suite" that "If they made a perfume called "En Suite" she would wear it." In these bathrooms even the toilets are not suited to Vic. "Vic pees, a task requiring considerable care and accuracy since the toilet bowl is low-slung and tapered in shape." This is another example of how Vic might want a very utilitarian house, where things suit him and where they work well. It seems that Marjorie is the dominant member of their relationship, despite her played up intellectual inferiority. This is shown by the way that the house is obviously furnished to her needs and tastes, and how the children don't seem to view him as a figure of authority. ...read more.


Lodge has created a detailed character profile of Vic Wilcox in the opening chapter by using lists of his achievements, as well as following him through some of the most personal parts of his day, which give the deepest insights into character. He is often thinking about machinery, such as the burglar alarm. The job he is in, and his education at the Technical College provide the background for the sometimes detailed mechanical knowledge often needed in these 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. WORDS: 1,740 ...read more.

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