The Lonely Londoners

by Samuel Selvon

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Here are some important quotes from The Lonely Londoners:

He does look around as much as to say: "I here with these boys, but I not one of them, look at the colour of my skin."

This quote refers to Bart, who is West Indian, but because of the prejudice surrounding West Indians in London, he tries to distance himself from other West Indians. Instead, because he has lighter skin, he says he is Latin American.

Ma work in the back, in the kitchen, but she was near enough to the front to see what happening outside of the kitchen.

This quote refers to Tolroy's mother, who works in the kitchen of the Lyons Corner House. The quote encapsulates the way in which the characters in the novel can see what is going on around them but can not really participate directly in society in London, as they are excluded.

And Galahad watch the colour of his hand, and talk to it, saying, "Colour, is you that causing all this, you know. Why the hell you can’t be blue, or red or green, if you can’t be white? You know is you that cause a lot of misery in the world."

Galahad, or Henry Oliver, is a recent immigrant from Trinidad who comes to realize the ways in which his skin color defines his experience and his exclusion in London. He is determined to make a go of his new life despite these challenges.

To talk of all the episodes that Moses had with woman in London would take bags of ballad Moses move through all the nationalities in the world and then he start the circle again.

Moses, Henry, and the other West Indian immigrants feel largely cut out of society in London, but the only way they find to participate is to go out with white women. Behind their pursuit of white women lies an attempt to prove themselves and to connect with British society in any way they can.

"Boy," Moses say, "look how we sit down here happy, and things brown in general. I mean, sometimes when we oldtalking so I does wonder about the boys, how all of we come up to the old Brit’n to make a living, and how years go by and we still here in this country. Things like that does bother me."

Moses wonders to his West Indian friends how he could have spent so long in Britain, which he refers to familiarly as "old Brit'n" in an attempt to connect with his new country in some way, without really having made a life for himself. He wonders if life might have been better if he had stayed in the old country.

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