How are shattered illusions presented in Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners? What points could I make in an essay?

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This is a wonderful topic for an essay about this particular novel:  The Lonely Londoners .  There are many shattered illusions in this book, which focuses on the loneliness felt by the immigrants from West India who moved to London, England in order to find a better life.  In regards...

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This is a wonderful topic for an essay about this particular novel:  The Lonely Londoners.  There are many shattered illusions in this book, which focuses on the loneliness felt by the immigrants from West India who moved to London, England in order to find a better life.  In regards to writing an essay on this topic, I would suggest body paragraphs designed to highlight each particular main character.

In regards to the introduction, I would begin by discussing immigrants in general and how they tend to have an unrealistic expectation of the place where they are moving.  If you live in the United States, perhaps you would like to talk a little bit about the “streets paved in gold” and the “land of opportunity.” Then you could compare this to the similar ideas presented by the West Indian immigrants to London in The Lonely Londoners and end with your thesis statement.  An appropriate thesis statement would be as follows:  Shattered illusions are present in The Lonely Londoners through the characters of Moses, Galahad, and Cap. 

The body paragraphs would then focus on Moses, Galahad, and Cap respectively.  Moses Aloetta is the main character of the novel and has the most to say about these shattered illusions.  As our narrator he asserts the following:

I want only a little work, a little food, a little place to sleep … I only want to get by … I don't even want to get on.

Moses speaks about the hardship in every aspect of their lives.  They expected abundance, but they found poverty.  They do not have adequate jobs, nourishment, or shelter. 

[We live] in seedy furnished rooms in run-down areas and have to scramble for what jobs there are or go on the dole.

They resort to simply “existing” in their new environment.  Happiness is illusory.  Other characters focus on other hardships, such as social hardships.  Galahad has a very specific illusion that he is going to be successful in dating many white women in England.  You can give the example of Galahad’s date with Dolly to suggest the reality is far from the illusion.  Dolly is certainly not an upper class girl, and Galahad’s West Indian hospitality (although beautiful) is not appreciated by Dolly.  Finally, your last body paragraph could focus on Cap.  Cap’s way of dealing with the loneliness is both by supporting anarchy and improvisation.  He is the one character that seems to be the least affected by his shattered illusions of London “perfection.”

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