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The Dividing Lines Of A City

2082 words - 9 pages

A city, with all its specific intricacies and systems, can never truly be defined as just a singular entity from which an identity can be spawned for its inhabitants. Rather, a city is best described as a collection of masses, all varied and yet woven together into a vast network. All groups are therefore reliant on one another, forming a symbiotic relationship with each other as they fill a particular need. Without every role being played out as is necessary by the inner workings of the city itself, the structure would ultimately crumble from the inside out, until it is finally replaced or destroyed altogether. Yet, despite the importance of their dependence on one another to thrive, every ...view middle of the document...

Thus, the city, despite creating a network of groups, alienates the individuals from each other, keeping them within the supposed confines of whatever identity happens to be applied to them. As such, the city and its inhabitants are condemned to remain within a cycle, forced to maintain a certain way of life even in spite of the turmoil it may cause for those unlucky enough to not hold any particular advantages in society. This idea, of course, is very much the daily reality faced by Selvon’s characters throughout the novel, wherein the privileged avoid the truth in front of them by way of secluding themselves from the problem entirely. To illustrate the point even further, Selvon goes so far as to state that “people don’t talk about things like that…they come to kind of accept that is [how] the world is” (74). Ultimately, fictional London becomes a showcase of a city that does not desire to move past the barriers between its people, as they are already too compliant to seek a change that would, in the long run, be advantageous to the city as a whole. Rather than argue with the structures put in place by the city’s system, people have grown too accustomed to what they are led believe to be the only way of doing things. Going into more detail with this thought, Selvon adds that “to stop one of them rich tests when they are going to a show in Leicester Square and ask them for a bob, they might give [it to] you, but if you want to talk about the conditions under which you are living, they haven’t time for that” (74). Thus, the reader can now realize even further how far two groups within a city can be separated from one another, to the point where one might not even bother getting involved with the issues of the other. As such, the relationships within the city continue to deteriorate, again making it harder for there to be any sort of reconciliation between the differently sided individuals, as it is shown that there is an obvious lack of understanding, leading to much greater difficulties for the city and the lives that it encompasses.
Ultimately, the importance of the aforementioned issue is apparent within the social structures propagated within the city by its inhabitants. Without a proper showing of human understanding between a city’s groups, there is no willingness from those with privilege to give way for change in order to provide for those in want, as that would in turn strengthen their position within the city’s network and therefore disrupt the status quo already in place. As such, those currently holding a majority of the power within the structure of the city innately must see those outside of their jurisdiction as lesser, all in order to prevent themselves from empathizing and aiding those in other circles of life. In doing so, however, the minority succumbs to the vicious ideals pushed onto them by those in higher standing in the city, thus accepting their current way of life in spite of the problems it may give them. Again,...

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