The Lonely Londoners


Sam Selvon

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Bart (Bartholomew) Character Analysis

One of Moses’s Trinidadian friends. After meeting for the first time in a hostel, Moses quickly learns that Bart is a peculiar man when it comes to money, often pretending to be poor so that his friends won’t ask him to help them financially. This sometimes means skipping meals to fully cultivate his image as a hungry, broke person. A light-skinned black man, Bart tries to convince people that he’s Latin American. The narrator notes that he also is “always talking about this party and that meeting that he attend[ed] in the West End or in Park Lane.” As such, readers see that Bart is highly concerned with his public image (the West End and Park Lane being two places where people go to see and be seen, as the expression goes). Unlike many immigrants in The Lonely Londoners, Bart manages to secure a clerical job, most likely because of his light complexion. As a result, though, he constantly worries about the influx of black immigrants in London, fretting that these newcomers are going to “make things hard in Brit’n.” He even has “an embarrass[ed] air” when he walks with his darker-skinned friends on the street. When he falls in love with a white woman (Beatrice) and wants to marry her, he’s finally forced to confront his own blackness, as her father chases him out of the house when she brings him to meet her family. Before long, Beatrice stops seeing Bart, prompting him to scour the city in search of her. Sadly enough, he’s so concentrated on finding her that he gives up his clerical job in order to take a position as a doorman at one of her favorite clubs, hoping all the while to spot her on her way inside.

Bart (Bartholomew) Quotes in The Lonely Londoners

The The Lonely Londoners quotes below are all either spoken by Bart (Bartholomew) or refer to Bart (Bartholomew). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Longman edition of The Lonely Londoners published in 1989.
Section 4 Quotes

When Bart leave the hostel he get a clerical job and he hold on to it like if is gold, for he frighten if he have to go and work in factory—that is not for him at all. Many nights he think about how so many West Indians coming, and it give him more fear than it give the Englishman, for Bart frighten if they make things hard in Brit’n. If a fellar too black, Bart not companying him much, and he don’t like to be found in the company of the boys, he always have an embarrass air when he with them in public, 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.”

But a few door slam in Bart face, a few English people give him the old diplomacy, and Bart boil down and come like one of the boys.

Related Characters: Bart (Bartholomew)
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:
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Bart (Bartholomew) Character Timeline in The Lonely Londoners

The timeline below shows where the character Bart (Bartholomew) appears in The Lonely Londoners. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Section 4
Racism Theme Icon
Immigration and Community Theme Icon
Upward Mobility Theme Icon
Another interesting person Moses encounters in his hostel is Bartholomew. The narrator explains that Bart is the type of person who will hide the fact... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Immigration and Community Theme Icon
Not only is Bart eager to convince people he’s not black, but he also frequently worries about the influx... (full context)
Immigration and Community Theme Icon
Even though Bart is well-off financially, he constantly comes to Moses’s apartment in search of free food, which... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Bart is rather unsuccessful when it comes to courting women, but he quickly falls in love... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
Upward Mobility Theme Icon
Despite his failure to impress Beatrice’s parents, Bart continues seeing her, terrified he’ll never be able to date another white woman. However, she... (full context)
Section 10
Racism Theme Icon
Immigration and Community Theme Icon
...with the other white woman. As the party progresses, Cap goes home with two women, Bart gets drunk and pines over Beatrice, and Daniel stands at the bar buying drinks for... (full context)