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Tutor profile: Stephanie L.

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Stephanie L.
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Subject: Literature

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Question:

With reference to specific examples, consider what the language and form of The Lonely Londoners contribute to Selvon’s construction of London.

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Stephanie L.
Answer:

‘The Lonely Londoners’ by Sam Selvon cleverly uses language and form in order to create and maintain a structure of London that is simultaneously both familiar and unfamiliar. Selvon uses syntax and tone alongside narration in order to create a London that is unfamiliar to the reader. Due to this ‘The Lonely Londoner’s’ is valued highly as a text that is representative of the Caribbean immigrants throughout the 1950’s. It is evident that Selvon is trying to invoke a sense of sympathy in the reader by introducing them to a world in which they have very limited knowledge on. The opening of the novel creates an unfamiliar sense of the construction within London, through the use of defamiliarization, this allows the reader to see London in a way that they have never previously viewed it. Alongside this the unconventional sentence structure strongly creates a significant tone of unfamiliarity. ‘One grim winter evening when it had a kind of unrealness about London’ The unconventional form used through the missing words creates a sense of unfamiliarity to the reader and therefore in turn illustrates the way in which Selvon has constructed London in a way that it is not recognised. In addition, the use of the word choice ‘unrealness’ adds to the unfamiliarity as it suggests that London is a place that is viewed differently by everyone across society, this illustrates that from the onset of the novel, Selvon is able to capture the reader’s attention through his use of language and form constructing a London that is unknown to most people. The critical reception of ‘The Lonely Londoners’ has been significant in creating an unfamiliar London to the reader ‘I argue that Selvon’s novel projects a dual model of anticipated readership: first, the Caribbean subcultural groups that were beginning to establish a distinct black British identity in the late 1950s; and second, a mainstream white audience that receives the text as a kind of reportage novel, recording an essentially alien experience through the articulation of otherness.’ Nick Bentley, the literary critic uses his article ‘Language and Form in the Lonely Londoners’ to illustrate the critical reception of the public toward the unconventional form within the book. Bentley shows that the use of various ethnic groups creates a London that would have been unfamiliar to London at the time as previously the ethnic diversity of the British capital had not been as prevalent. The use of the narrative voice impacts upon the white community as they are viewing London through the eyes of an immigrant who finds the area unfamiliar. This also allows for the black British community to gain a stronger sense of independence. The mixed tones of focalisation also impact upon a sense of unfamiliarity to the reader. The use of free-indirect speech creates a sense of unfamiliarisation and constructs a new London as it as if a mixture of third person and first- person speech is being used by Selvon. It could be said that the context of this unconventional writing structure allows for the representation of the characters within the novel as the readers are experiencing something that is new and untraditional, this allows London to become place that is unrecognisable to even those people who know it. ‘He had was to get up from a nice warm bed and dress and come out in this nasty weather to go and meet a fellar that he didn’t even know. That was the hurtful part of it – is not as if this faller is his brother or cousin or even friend; he don’t know the man from Adam.’3 This constructs a sense of unfamiliarity through the language and form that is used throughout the novel, despite the fact that much of the story is written through a third person fixed point of view in narration. There is still a quality to it that is comparable to that of first-person narration as much of the inner feelings and frustrations of the characters are revealed. This use of language and form allows for a construction of London that is unfamiliar to the reader as they are able to envision a sense of the experience that the immigrants may have had when they first arrived in London. The use of setting in ‘The Lonely Londoners’ also creates a sense of unfamiliarity and the use of syntax within the setting adds to the mystery that Selvon has created surrounding London. The use of words such as ‘fog’ invoke a sense of unfamiliarity and ambiguity to the reader as is similar to the way in which Selvon creates a London that is unfamiliar through his use of language including that of narrative voice. ‘People in this world don't know how other people does affect their lives.”4 The use of the Caribbean dialect creates a London that is unrecognisable to most, as it is a tone that many people would never have heard previously. However, the message behind this quote is particularly significant as there is a message being revealed to the British public regarding the treatment of other, this has a direct correlation to racism and directly tackles the topic by stating that the people of London do not know how their actions are affecting the Immigrant community who have left their own countries behind in a search for a better life. The impact upon language and form is also evident through his use of relationships between the characters and the city of London itself ‘Subsequently his lyrical evocations of a love-hate relationship with the city of London have acted as a model for the writers who were to succeed him, for Selvon changed the fictional landscape of London, ‘liberating the city from the bounds of standard English’ while at the same time reducing it to his characters’5 The critic, Msiska Mpalive-Hangson, suggests that Selvon created a literary movement within the writing community of Britain, ‘liberating’ creates a sense that Selvon had an impact upon the way in which people began to view London after the publication of his book. It is evident that Hangson is correct in Selvon’s methods to enlarge the cultural diverseness of London whilst also limiting it solely to his characters, as we as readers are only able to view the perspectives of the Caribbean people asides from that of the character of Cap who is from Nigeria, and not those of other races. However, at the time of publication this would have been a completely different form of writing style as a large majority of people would not have read a book in which all of the main characters were not white. The fragmented narration of the novel offers’ traditions similar to that of a calypso which is traditional music of the Caribbean, this allows for the narration to be viewed as unconventional to the eyes of the reader, in addition the Calypso, was also commonly associated with strong political satire, it is evident throughout the novel that Selvon uses language and form in order to both demonstrate the negative experience that the characters have whilst being in London whilst also adding to the comedic affect within the novel. “It have people living in London who don’t know what happening in the room next to them, far more the street, or how other people living. London is a place like that. It divide up in little worlds, and you stay in the world you belong to and you don’t know anything about what happening in the other ones except what you read in the papers.” 6 Selvon suggests through this quote, that London has a strong sense of family dynamic yet at the same time a sense of division as most people do not communicate with those who are not from their surrounding area. This removes a sense of belonging especially for the immigrant population and suggests to the reader that London was not as diverse and forwardly progressing as it claimed to be. Throughout the novel, the character of Bart is seen to be attempting to separate himself from the rest of community, he often chooses to state that he is Latin American in order to not be associated with his own community. ‘I here with these boys, but I not one of them, look at the colour of my skin’ 7 This tone may appear to be humorous however it is clear that Selvon is trying to illustrate a sense of racial prejudice within the novel. ‘He must comb the whole of London, looking in the millions of white faces down Oxford Street’8 The use of the word choice ‘millions’ has a strong impact on the cultural tone of the novel and helps construct a sense of London being both familiar and unfamiliar. The idea that a white face could be unfamiliar to a person would have been comparable to a black person being unfamiliar to a white person. Selvon suggests that both nationalities experience this and that it is common ground amongst society. Selvon also additionally uses language and form in order to illustrate the experience of woman with the novel. Immigration was uncommon of woman at the time and derogatory language was often used against them, the character of Ma helps the reader see the traditional gender roles that woman had to experience. ‘Ma work in the back, in the kitchen, but she was near enough the front to see what happen outside the kitchen’9 This invokes a feeling of underrepresentation of woman. Ma, has been assigned to the traditional domestic role of working in the kitchen. This constructs a sense of London being discriminatory towards woman, in addition stating that ‘she was near enough the front’ suggests that there is a barrier between Ma and the rest of the society and because she is a woman she is not able to experience everything that she would want. Throughout ‘The Lonely Londoners’ Selvon uses language and form in order to construct a London that is unfamiliar to most, the use of fragmented and non-linear narrative adds to the construction of London being significantly unfamiliar, the unconventional form along with the missing words creates images of a London that is unknown to most. In addition, the use of an omniscient narrative voice and free indirect speech which adds to the way in which the characters are represented through an unconventional writing style. In addition, the use of word choice in the setting also contributes to a sense of unfamiliarity and the Caribbean dialect used within the novel constructs a London that is unrecognised by most. Overall Selvon cleverly uses language and form in order to create the sense of London being a place that is becoming more ethnically diverse as time progresses.

Subject: US History

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Question:

Was Free and Forced Migration the most important component in the development of the English Colonies of Northern America?

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Stephanie L.
Answer:

Prior to the first settlement of English colonists in Jamestown, Virginia during 1607, the Indigenous of North America had spent centuries developing a diverse culture with many different customs, it can be said that to this day the presence of the indigenous has had a significant impact upon the development of United States and Canada. When the English first arrived within America, they felt there was little shared identity between them and the natives, thus slight difference in opinion eventually led to the English essentially erasing the Indigenous identity and claiming the land as their own. Throughout the 17th century migration to America rapidly increased and by the close of the century there would be more than 234,000 settlers across the colonies. Between 1620 and 1640 there was a surge in settlement from the English particularly those following the Puritan faith, many emigrants left England of free will and others were forced to leave in order to escape potential religious persecution. This essay will look to explore the significance that both free and forced migration had on the development of the English colonies in North America particularly New England prior to 1700 and whether these factors were the most important in the growth of the colonies. The development of English colonies in North America can first be seen through the grown of large familial units, the families of New England had healthier birth rates and lower mortality than that of other regions such as Jamestown. This can be seen from the demographic conditions of the English colonies that after 1630, twenty four to twenty six people were dying per 1000 of the population compared to between and forty and fifty in Jamestown’1 this illustrates the importance of migration upon the development of New England as due to the fact there was an increase in both free and forced migration people had to learn to adapt to their new living environments and as people learned about the best means they could use in order to survive the mortality rate fell meaning more children were born who would go on to reach adulthood and this led to a significant growth in population. Women also attributed to 40% of the population and as life expectancy grew during the 17th century reaching age 60-70, 20 years more than the life expectancy of those living in England at the time, this meant that family units were able to grow further thus creating development in a sense of community. In 1630, 1000 colonists emigrated to New England, however this number had increased significantly to 20,000 in 1645. It can certainly be said that the migration to New England helped with the development of New England Jack P. Greene argues ‘New England was a far more exact replica of old English society than Chesapeake’2 It can be said the English settled more easily in New England due to the more favourable environment which would dispute the argument that migration to New England was what led to further development of the colonies, as it could be said that the mortality rates were only lower than Chesapeake and Jamestown due the more favourable environment of New England, however it can still certainly be argued that migration and forced migration was the most important part in growth of population through the grown of families and as more people migrated to North America it meant there was a greater chance of more people surviving leading to further growth in population. Another factor that attributed to the growth of the English colonies was religion, this was both through free and forced migration, between 1620 and 1640 particularly through 1630 there was a significant increase in the migration of people who followed the Puritan faith, thus this period of history in migration to the English colonies became known as the Great Puritan Migration, were religious dissidents who believed the Church of England to be too associated with the Catholic religion and thought it to be corrupt wanted to move to a place where they would have the freedom to worship freely and escape religious persecution. William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury (1633-1645) and religious advisor to Charles 1 was largely responsible for the persecution of the Puritan people. Throughout the 17th century both state and religion were connected and the belief in England was that both state and church were connected meaning that everyone had to follow the same religious beliefs. A report as to why many puritans chose to migrate to North America can be seen from an account from Library of World History: containing a record of the human race; ‘ Dear Old mother England faded from their sight…abandoned home and country to enjoy the blessings of religious freedom.’3 This quote provides information and backs up my argument in regards to the fact that forced migration due to religion led to significant development of English society in colonial North America as many people were moving there to escape persecution and have the opportunity to worship freely meaning that there was more intrigue in migration to North America. This meant that there was a growth in trade, business and commerce in addition to a development of culture and religion. In 1630 Puritan lawyer John Winthrop led a company of migrants to North America where the Massachusetts Bay Company was established which became the largest colonial settlement of the time. It can certainly be said that forced migration as a result of religious persecution was significant in the development of the colonies, however, some historians believe that the migration to Massachusetts bay can be attributed to be more than purely religious factors, Historian Francis J Bremer reiterates the importance of religion to the puritans; ‘If they lived properly, maintained a true faith and followed Gods ways they would be blessed and their example would inspire others.’4 It could therefore be argued that the Puritans relied too heavily upon religion rather than continuing to develop business and economic growth which may have led to an increase in mortality rates and attributed to the fall of the colonies. However, it is still evident that people were attracted to migration through religion and the ability to practice the Puritan faith was further developed in New England through church services and tithes, the ability to practice religion freely meant that more people would want to migrate as they became aware of the developments that had been made in North America in terms of religion. Overall, upon reviewing the evidence it can be concluded that both free and forced migration was one of the most significant factors in the development of the English colonies in North America, as more people migrated it led to a growth in family units and birth rates began to increase, it can certainly be said that the mortality rate decreased due to the growth in migration rate as more people living in the colonies meant there was a wider expanse of knowledge in regard to culture developments such as business, trade and agriculture, this meant that the English developed a strong sense of community and were able to develop a far more favourable environment. Religion was also a very significant factor in free and forced migration to New England prior to 1700 as people left to escape religious persecution in England and as more people learnt about the freedoms offered to them this led to a growth in interest regarding migration to the colonies. It can certainly be said that after the 17th century the grown of the colonies was more of a natural process through the continuation of lineage , however it is evident that both free and forced migration was incredibly significant and important in the growth of the colonies as if people had not chosen to leave England, then America would not have had a chance to fully develop in the way that it did.

Subject: European History

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Question:

Explore the circumstances behind the Bolshevik Revolution of Russia in 1917? Could this Revolution be viewed as a political coup or a popular uprising? Write an introduction to an essay introducing this idea

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Stephanie L.
Answer:

For little over 100 years, Historians have continued to debate the way in which the Bolshevik Party gained power in 1917 After months of political turmoil. The Bolshevik government led by Lenin was able to seize control of the country. Lenin had become a political giant within Russia and had developed a large amount of influence across the nation. By February of 1917 the country had been at war for nearly 3 years. The unrest of the country led to a call for change. The overthrow of the Romanov family led to a new government formed which lacked the necessities for the people of Russia this ultimately led to the Bolsheviks seizing power after the October Revolution in 1917. There has been debate regarding whether the circumstance in which the Bolsheviks took power can be said to be that of political uprising or simply that of a coup. This question will aim to explore the manner in which the October revolution came to arise and answer whether or not there truly was an uprising or simply a coup with a hungry grabbing Lenin at the centre.

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