The 'Outsider' in the Lonely Londoners and a Distant Shore.

Topics: United Kingdom, English people, England Pages: 4 (1164 words) Published: May 16, 2010
Caryl Philips and Sam Selvon are both writers of the Black British writer movement. Although they wrote during and about different time periods, in the English history, one might say that both Philips and Selvon tackled a similar theme in their books A Distant Shore and The Lonely Londoners. That theme being the phenomenon of the ‘outsider’ in the community. This essay will discuss this theme in relation to the previous mentioned books by comparing and contrasting the main protagonistswhile also looking at social and political issues during their respective time periods.

In the 1950’s, England was faced with a change in its social environment when people from the (former) British colonies started to move in large numbers to Britain in the search of a better future. Sam Selvon is one of the first writers to discuss this social and economic movement in his book The Lonely Londoners (1956). The story depicts the movement of the West-Indians in post-second world war London. Moses and his fellow-migrants are confronted with how the English city and its social structures overwhelms them and contradicts their initial assumption of finding financial success. Members of his (Caribbean) community are not welcomed, as they had anticipated, because it was during this “time when the English people starting to make rab about how too much West Indians coming to the country” , and he encounters great difficulty because of his ethnic background to settle amongst the white English community in London. Moses and his peers are faced with the challenge that in order for them to become accepted in this ‘new’ social structure they need to lose part of their individuality.

What happened during the time period as described in The Lonely Londoners was the beginning of political policies introduced in Britain, with regards to the amount of individuals migrating. These policies were based on the assumption and fear that too many people would come to Britain and take over the jobs...

Bibliography: Finney, N. & Peach, E. (2004) Attitudes towards asylum seekers, Refugees and Other Immigrants [internet]
Guptara, P. (1986) Black British Literature. Oxford: Dangaroo Press.
Migration Watch UK
Philips, C. (2003) A Distant Shore. London: Martin Secker & Warburg.
Selvon, S
Spencer, I.R.G. (1997) British Immigration policy since 1939: The making of Multi-Racial Britain. London: Routledge.
Section Two: Secondary Sources.
Brannigan, J. (2003) Orwell to the Present. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
English, J.F. (ed.) (2006) Contemporary British Fiction. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
Tew, P. (2007) [2004] The Contemporary British Novel. London: Continuum International Publishing Group.
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