The Lonely Londoners


Sam Selvon

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Big City Character Analysis

One of Moses’s friends in London. Big City grew up in an orphanage in Trinidad before joining the army, where he earned the name “Big City” because of how much he talked about wanting to explore the world’s various large-scale metropolises. The only time Big City is pleasant and happy is when it’s payday—otherwise, he’s “grumpy” and mean, telling friends to leave him alone. Come payday, though, he hangs out in the local bars, buying drinks for friends and strangers alike. Although he claims to have quit gambling, he always finds himself betting whatever’s left of his paycheck, so that the following Monday he’s already grumpy and upset about not having money. Having finished his stint in the military, Big City now lives in London with his British wife and drives his car throughout the city, though none of his friends know how he obtained this car in the first place. To occupy himself, he places bets on soccer matches, a practice Moses criticizes. Nonetheless, Big City is set on someday winning a large amount of cash, which he plans to use to visit the world’s major cities. While passing time one summer in Hyde Park, Big City encourages the naïve Galahad to stand up and make a speech about the unfair treatment of black immigrants. Forcing the young man in front of everybody, he laughs as Galahad scrambles to collect himself. Ever since then, Galahad swears he’s going to beat Big City up, but every time he gets a chance he backs down.
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Big City Character Timeline in The Lonely Londoners

The timeline below shows where the character Big City appears in The Lonely Londoners. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Section 8
Upward Mobility Theme Icon
Another immigrant in Moses’s circle of friends is a man named Big City , a nickname he earned in the army because he always talked about traveling and... (full context)
Upward Mobility Theme Icon
After his conversation with Big City about gambling, Moses starts thinking about how nice it would be to have such a... (full context)
Immigration and Community Theme Icon
More than anything, Big City savors the summertime, when he can walk through the park and join groups of people... (full context)
Immigration and Community Theme Icon
Ever since Big City tricked Galahad into going onto the soapbox, Galahad claims he’ll beat him up the next... (full context)
Section 10
Racism Theme Icon
Immigration and Community Theme Icon
...make a disgrace of yourselves, and make me ashamed of myself.” As Harris rushes away, Big City appears, and Galahad taunts him into going over and asking the young white woman’s friend... (full context)