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One Fat Englishman
1. One Fat English Man
2. The author of the novel is Kingsley Amis, copyright 1963.
3. Kingsley Amis was a British writer from England.
4. Major Characters
Roger Micheldene is the man the book focuses primarily upon. He is “a shortish fat Englishman of forty (6)” and a publisher. Of the seven deadly sins Roger considers himself to be gluttony, sloth and lust. He considers himself most qualified in the sin of anger (8). He is so fat that his hips have fused together and he is forced to wear a brace. He also drinks excessively and uses Snuff. His drink of preference is gin with water added and no ice. He has a wife in England, but still enjoys interludes with women.
His character does not change within the novel. He remains a selfish, fat, Englishman who is quick to anger, is willing to cheat on his wife whenever possible and drinks heavily. Thus he considered a round, fully developed, but static character. Through out the novel he seems to be drawn by a need to receive love from women, although he discounts their thoughts and general stature. Through all his encounters he seeks love from Helene far more than the others. He feels he is a great man when he conquerors her.
Helene Bang was born in Denmark, but her parents brought her to America when she was ten. She settles with her family in Idaho. When she was twenty-one, while on a visit in Denmark, she met Ernst Bang. She married Ernst and moved back to America with him. Although she was born in Denmark she considers herself an American. She is a very attractive woman; many of the male students at Budweiser find her attractive, too. She is a round character, but still static. She lives a life endeared to her husband and son through out the novel. Even in her affair at the end of the novel with Irving she still claims she cannot lie to her husband. However, she confirms she is not in love with Roger, “when I go to bed with you I [simply] feel less sorry for you (185).”
Irving Macher is a “brilliant young Jewish kid from New York” who attends Budweiser. (9). He is the author of a bizarre novel, Blikie Heaven, which Joe asked Roger to critique and publish. Physically he is described by Roger as “brown-haired…freckled, with a mild crew-cut…with nothing noticeable about him but a pair of restless grey eyes (11).” He is a round character; Amis develops him through various encounters with Roger, but static also. He is Roger’s antagonist. Every time Roget tries to win the love of Helene he steps in to mess things up. For example, he steals Roger’s lecture notes before Roger is to give a speech before a few hundred men, is apart of a trick that involves a young lady biting Roger’s neck and takes Helene to New York. He is a young who is ready to argue, but also willing to admit his weaknesses.
5. Minor Characters
Ernst Bang is a Germanic philologist, who was originally from Denmark. He moved to America after taking a leave from Copenhagen, a university he taught at in Denmark, and received a year’s appointment at Budweiser. He is married to Helene. In Roger’s mind Ernst is the only thing standing between him and Helene. He is young and attractive. He is also very trusting, and does not suspect Roger is having an affair with Helene.
Arthur Bang is the son of Helene and Ernst. He attends a farm school and has especially high aptitudes and study habits. He is important because he spoils a lot of Roger’s romantic plans. For example, on Halloween Helene uses the excuse that Arthur would be home too soon from school for the two to carry out a physical part of the affair (57).
Mollie Atkins is married to Strode Atkins, who considers himself an Englishman. The two seem happily married. However, she has numerous affairs, including one with Roger. She is drunk one of the last times that she sees Roger.
Father Colgate is a priest at Budweiser. He is a flamboyantly handsome and muscular man of thirty, dressed in well-tailored clerical garb (88). He has a serious concern for Roger’s current state
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Golders Green Crematorium, Kingsley Amis, Knights Bachelor, Sins, Literature, British literature, British people
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