Characters

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 340

This unusual novel, written by Sam Selvon, does not really portray characters in the conventional way one usually associates with western fiction. Rather, there seems to be a sort of carousel or revolving door of various characters, most of whom are West Indian immigrants who now live in London. The...

(The entire section contains 340 words.)

Unlock This Study Guide Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this The Lonely Londoners study guide. You'll get access to all of the The Lonely Londoners content, as well as access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

  • Summary
  • Themes
  • Characters
  • Critical Essays
  • Analysis
  • Quotes
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

This unusual novel, written by Sam Selvon, does not really portray characters in the conventional way one usually associates with western fiction. Rather, there seems to be a sort of carousel or revolving door of various characters, most of whom are West Indian immigrants who now live in London. The idea seems to be that, despite the disparate lives and apparent lack of connection of these characters to the novel's central plot or story arc, there is a larger "story" functioning here in terms of the common experiences of this community, divergent though their lives may be in this large city.

The first character introduced is Moses Aloetta, who is riding a bus to meet a man who will be arriving from Trinidad. The man is Henry Oliver, and Moses learns about him in a letter sent to him from a friend in Trinidad, who asks if Moses will meet Henry when he arrives. This scene apparently establishes the compassion and camaraderie that seems to exist within this immigrant community, wherein a stranger will help another, a newcomer who is undergoing a similar experience.

And yet, Moses is somewhat annoyed at being asked to perform this task; as he relates to his friend Harris: "I don’t know these people at all, yet they coming to me as if I is some liaison officer." Moses has been in London for a while and apparently is credited with "knowing the ropes" and being someone who can assist newcomers. Other characters, such as Cap, are not as steady and reliable as Moses. Cap's living situation is precarious, his finances unstable, and his relationships with women somewhat stormy.

The characters in The Lonely Londoners do not interact so much with each other as they do with the idea of what it means to be a West Indian immigrant in London, and in this way the city itself becomes a type of character, since navigating its vastness, its unfamiliar culture, and its challenges makes it the one common entity that each character engages with.

Illustration of PDF document

Download The Lonely Londoners Study Guide

Subscribe Now
Next

Characters