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50's

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Rebellious characters lead to various actions

The 1950's in Great Britain was a post-war era of vastly different experiences. For many, it was a time of hope, victory and promise. For others it was a time of depression and healing. And for some it was a time of rebellion. Various literary characters of the decade represented each of these emotions. Three of these characters, including Nancy Hawkins of Muriel Spark's A Far Cry from Kensington, Jim Dixon of Amis Kingsley's Lucky Jim, and Jimmy Porter of John Osborne's A Look Back in Anger, represent the rebellious side of civilization in the 1950's.

Each of these drastically different characters takes a different approach to their personal rebellion. Jim Dixon can arguably be considered an anarchist in many of the traits he exhibits throughout the text. Whether it be drinking the night away as a means of rebellion or burning the bed sheets of an over-night host, Dixon lacks certain social abilities that lead to a normal existence. Jimmy Porter on the other hand takes an extremely passive-aggressive approach to his personal rebellion. Though he complains frequently he is hard pressed to affect any kind of social evolution. In other words, he dreams of a better existence but strives to achieve none of it. Nancy Hawkins is much more active in her rebellion as she

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subconsciously works towards social change in terms of personal happiness in the 50's. She is free with advice and always willing to help another in need. Because of these traits, Nancy Hawkins is perhaps the best spokeswoman for her generation of these three characters.

Jim Dixon, the protagonist of Lucky Jim, is quite arguably an anarchist in the ways he acts towards others. He is considered a Cinderella in a Cinderella story as it relates to the various things that happen to him throughout the course of the text and yet he continues his private rebellion against certain aspects of life that are socially expected such as common courtesy when he burns the table and bed sheets of the Welsh's and hides them rather than owning up to his mistake. It seems that he always has the potential to break through the conventions of normal life. Yet, much like Jimmy Porter and unlike Nancy Hawkins, he is quite self-pitying and has trouble taking action to create positive change in his life. A perfect example of this inaction occurs when Jim remains resolute for much of the story to stay with Margaret rather than pursuing his true love Christine. His reasons are that Margaret makes more sense for his life, though it seems he has accepted to take the easy road. Throughout the book it becomes quite clear that Margaret and Jim have found a certain comfort zone with one another.

Another interesting aspect of Jim's life that keeps him from reaching his vast potential is the idea that he feels guilty because he has an education and has the ability to rise above his class. For this reason alone, it seems Jim is afraid of

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success. His relationships with people are quite unlike that of Nancy Hawkins as he is a sort of chameleon with each person he encounters. Jim has to become somebody completely different with the various characters that he interacts with in the story.

Jimmy Porter is quite similar to Jim Dixon in the respect that they are both self-pitying. Porter unlike Nancy Hawkins is always complaining about his misfortunes and the things that disagree with him, yet he is never taking action to solve those problems. "Oh heavens, how I long for a little ordinary human enthusiasm. Just enthusiasm-that's all. I want to hear a warm, thrilling voice cry out Hallelujah! Hallelujah! I'm alive! I've an idea," (Osborne, p. 15). Even after Jimmy makes these overtures he seems to only run away from his problems rather than embrace them the way Nancy Hawkins does. Jimmy's rebellion regarding the death of his unborn child constitutes him running away and creating a new life. Nancy's rebellion from the death of her husband and Wanda can be seen as her way of learning and growing as she provides positive anecdotes on the situation. When Jimmy begins a relationship with Helena, it is an escape from his flawed self and flawed relationships. Nancy on the other hand, accepts her flaws and embraces them. Her relationship with William is her transformation to the next step. "I wanted a flat to share with William. In fact, I was good and tired of being Mrs. Hawkins. I wanted to be Nancy with my good new shape," (Spark,

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