The Lonely Londoners


Sam Selvon

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The Lonely Londoners Themes

Themes and Colors
Racism Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
Immigration and Community Theme Icon
Upward Mobility Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Lonely Londoners, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.


The West Indian immigrants in The Lonely Londoners suffer not from overt racism, but rather from a more subtle type of bigotry which is quite harmful to their lives and wellbeing. Even as Londoners refrain from broadcasting their prejudices or expressing them directly, racism repeatedly shows itself to be deeply ingrained in their society. As a result, the bigotry facing black immigrants is essentially just as disempowering as the unconcealed racial hatred that runs rampant…

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Romance and Sex

In The Lonely Londoners, romantic relationships are rarely simplistic or straightforward, as the characters often engage in sexual or romantic acts in order to gain access to other cultures and classes. On the one hand, black immigrants like Galahad covet the chance to sleep with white women because it seemingly enables them to further integrate themselves into English society. Conversely, many white women covet the chance to sleep with black men because they’ve fetishized…

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Immigration and Community

In The Lonely Londoners, Selvon brings to light the emotional toll the process of immigration can take on a person. In particular, he examines the vulnerabilities characters like Moses experience even after they’ve lived in England for many years. Although Moses has acclimated to life in London, he remains deeply affected by memories of Trinidad, even fantasizing about returning one day. And even though Moses often avoids reminiscing about Trinidad with his friends—a defensive…

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Upward Mobility

Many of the immigrants in The Lonely Londoners are eager to climb London’s socioeconomic ladder. However, they’re rarely given the chance to do so, since the best job opportunities go to white Londoners rather than to West Indian workers. Moses points out that all of the city’s “soft clerical jobs” are given to white people, leaving only blue-collar jobs for black people. This harsh reality creates little incentive for black immigrants to look for work…

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