Free Essay

London Fields

In: Novels

Submitted By civy1191
Words 530
Pages 3
Chris Ivy
British Literature
29 Oct 2010
Dueling Londons Setting is a central aspect to all works of literature. The Setting of a piece can be used in various ways to drive a point home, and the novels “London Fields” and “White Teeth” are no exception to this rule. Both of the aforementioned novels use London as their primary setting, but they effectively portray it in two very different lights. “London Fields” paints the picture of London as a dark and ominous place full of sleaze and moral decay, while “White Teeth” contrastingly shows London as a mellow melting-pot of cultural assimilation and struggle. “London Fields” uses its slummy London as a center of corruption, drinking, gambling and murder, which allows it to remain functional and consistent with the characters that inhabit its realm of tragedy and utter chaos. The mere essence of this London embodies the very nature of human suffering, and it serves as an omnipotent cloud of impending doom, smothering everyone in its path with a blanket of immorality. Amis reveals the lower-class side of London with the persistent appearance of bars and pubs throughout the novel. This trashy and dangerous side of town symbolizes the downfall of humanity within the characters that frequent its streets at night; the nastier the London, the nastier the people. A prime example of this is depicted through the maniacal deterioration of Guy Clinch. Guy begins the novel as a trusting, upstanding individual whose kind nature is exploited by Nicola. Nicola is described as a “black hole,” which is eerily similar to the London she lives in and she is able to transform Guy into a philandering would-be killer. The downfall of Mr. Clinch signifies that even the strongest person will eventually be overcome by the pit of agony that is London; this London takes no prisoners. “White Teeth,” on the other hand, uses its laid back London as a center of immigration and hope for the future. This London is an intertwining mesh of cultures that serves as a diverse intersection of social classes, beliefs and unfulfilled dreams. The inhabitants of this vibrant place all feel a sense of obligation to honor their past and strive for belonging, even if this is sometimes out of reach. Unlike the London from “London Fields,” this London offers a chance at a new start, a gleaming flicker of hope that resides within the offspring of each family living there, despite their social class or status. The optimistic London portrayed in “White Teeth” is symbolic for the new start all immigrants are given. The people here are all offered a fresh start at life, regardless of where they originally descended from. A perfect archetype of this is revealed through the eventual partnership of Magid Iqbal and Marcus Chalfen. Magid, a descendant of the Bengali Muslims, is the intelligent son of a waiter who works diligently to become an assistant to Chalfen, a world renowned scientist who descended from Russia. This rise from meager beginnings proves that even the most humble of immigrants can thrive in this melting-pot that is London; this London is a success story waiting to happen.…...

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