Changing Places - How Zapp Morris and Philip Swallow's Life Changed

Topics: Small World: An Academic Romance Pages: 14 (4869 words) Published: February 11, 2013
Table of Contents

Table of Contents1
1 Morris Zapp2
1.1 Morris Zapp at the beginning of ‘Changing places’2 1.2 Morris Zapp’s first few weeks in England3
1.3 The rest of Morris Zapp’s stay in England6
2. Philip Swallow9
2.1 Philip Swallow at the beginning of ‘Changing places’9 2.2 Philip Swallow’s first few weeks in England10
2.3 The rest of Philip Swallow’s stay in America13
3 Literature16

1 Morris Zapp

1.1 Morris Zapp at the beginning of ‘Changing places’

At the beginning of the novel Morris Zapp is extremely self-confident even arrogant, sarcastic, vain and feels superior when it comes to his work. He has a certain killer instinct that allows him to get what he wants and is a highly successful Professor at the Euphoric State University, whose career began very early as he already started publishing articles when he was still in graduate school. (Cf. Lodge 1975, p. 15)

‘Zapp was the man who had published articles in PMLA while still in graduate school; who, enviably offered his first job by Euphoric State, had stuck out for twice the going salary, and got it; who had published five fiendishly clever books (four of them on Jane Austen) by the time he was thirty and achieved the rank of a full professor at the same precocious age.’ (Lodge 1975, p. 15)

Though because of his great achievements when it comes to his career he has no aim anymore and is in a way depressed and also starts questioning the meaning of his life, as he feels that he has achieved everything he could achieve already. (Ibis p. 43f)

He could only significantly increase his salary either by moving to some god-awful place in Texas or the Mid-West where no one in his right mind would go for a thousand dollars a day, or by switching to administration, looking for a college Presidents job somewhere, which in the present state of the nation’s campuses was a through ticket to an early grave. At the age of forty, in short, Morris Zapp could think of nothing he wanted to achieve that he hadn’t achieved already, and this depressed him. (Lodge 1975, p. 44)

His reputation is already so well established that he believes he could only damage it with further research instead of adding to it. On top of that he is unsatisfied with his body as well as his sex life. (Cf. Lodge 1075, p. 44)

His life begins to change however when he is more or less forced to partake in the exchange program by his wife Désirée who wants a divorce. While Zapp would not mind parting ways with Désirée, he does not want to lose his children because of that and he is sure that Désirée would get custody of them. Zapp, who has already been through a divorce before, knows what that would mean for him in regards to his children. He would see them only sporadically and it would take a lot of money, especially since Désirée considers moving to New York, a town he doesn’t like. He begs her to reconsider and in the end she agrees to a compromise. He will move out for half a year and she wouldn’t file the divorce papers yet. As such he ends up on his flight to Rummidge, even though he expects he will not enjoy it in the least. (Cf. Lodge 1975, p. 39ff)

‘He felt it in his bones that he wasn’t going to enjoy England: he would be lonely and bored, all the more so because he had taken a vow not to be unfaithful to Désirée, just to annoy her; and it was the worst possible place to carry on his research.’ (Lodge 1975, p. 47)

1.2 Morris Zapp’s first few weeks in England

Zapp certainly does not enjoy his stay in England at first. He is not able to find a room that comes up to his standard and as such he has to make do with the apartment he finds in the house of Dr O’Shea, which he takes because of its central heating, which ends up in further disappointment. (Cf. lodge, p. 57)

When he visits the Rummidge English Department for the first time he leaves a bad first impression as he is first seen laughing so hard at...
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