Modernity city geographies of london Essay

How is London and London life represented in fresh -BRICK LANE written by Monica Ali. ?

“London has been peopled every bit much in the head as in its streets. No metropolis has been written about more. Nowhere else have novelists more often chosen to plot narrations, set characters and research circumstances.” ( Jerry White 2003, p.1 )

“The City is non, in other words, simply a physical mechanism and an unreal building. It is involved in the critical procedures of the people who compose it ; it is a merchandise of nature, and peculiarly of human nature.” ( Park,1925/1984, p.1 )

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To to the full analysis the extent to which the novel- Brick Lane gives a sense of representation of London and metropolis life to the reader, first 1 must see the background and societal individualities of the writer, in this instance – Monica Ali.

‘Monica Ali brings temper, grace and the particular qualities of the best of Asiatic fiction to a narrative concerned with credence and denial… Wry and intelligent, elusive and graceful in its mix of formal prose, blackly despairing temper and fabulous word picture, this is a rich human novel ‘ ( The Sunday Express, India ) .Ali was non born in England but in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and moved to England at the age of three, where she was raised. She has ne’er lived in Brick lane where the novel was focused on and she was from a middle- category household and finally attended higher instruction at Wadham Collage, Oxford. Therefore, some people are get downing to oppugn how she managed to animate the life style of a Bangladeshi household life in the interior metropolis of London. First, she was born in Bangladesh which gave her a sense of fond regard with her beginning. Second, with the aid from Naila Kabeer, whose survey of Bangladeshi adult females garment workers in London and Dhaka, Monica Ali drew inspiration. ( Brick Lane, P493 ) . Furthermore, her inspiration of the narrative was supported by many people whose have a strong societal individuality of Bangladeshi people in London and British immigrant experience. E.g. Nicole Aragi and Shofiur.

“The book follows Nazneen and Hasina, populating really different lives in really different topographic points, but eventually make bolding to trust that they may hold found a similar kind of felicity. The subjects are the large 1s – individuality, self-government, the cargo of household – and they are kept afloat by the perkiness of Ali ‘s word picture, which on occasion verges on the Dickensian without of all time fall backing to imitation. In Nazneen ‘s universe, everyone is convincingly governed by their ain single logic.” ( Harriet Lane, The Observer Sunday 1 June 2003 )

The book exposes many characteristics of London and its people ‘s day-to-day life to the reader, which included issues like: Race tenseness, Cultures, Estate life, gender relation and the landscape of the metropolis of London. However, I will be more concentrating on the representation of Race tenseness and altering civilizations in London. In due class, I will associate some of these representations with the theory of topographic point and individuality ( Tim Cresswell ) , Robert Park and Mumford thought of City and Postcolonial London ( John Mcleod ) .

“Since the terminal of Second World War, the urban and human geographics of London has been irreversibly altered as a effect of forms of migration from states with a history of colonialism, so that today a figure of London ‘s vicinities are known chiefly in footings of the “ overseas” populations they have nurtured. Whitechapel and Tower Hamlets boast important Bangladeshi communities.” ( John Mcleod )

Harmonizing to Mcleod, the multicultural London was developed during the postcolonial period and people from the ex-colony were deluging into the “heart” of the Empire -London, looking for a new life and chances. The narrative of “Brick Lane” was a direct merchandise of postcolonial London, which is about alteration, cultural, societal, and political and struggle. It was Black and Asiatic migrators who have together played a major function in making London ‘s multicultural society and “Brick Lane” highlighted the degrees of poorness and favoritism had on them. “In other words, “postcolonial London” does non factually denote a given topographic point or tag a stable location on a map. It emerges at the intersection of the concrete and the noumenal, between the material conditions of metropolitan life and the inventive representations made of it. It is every bit much a merchandise of “facticity” as a creative activity of the novels. ( John Mcleod ) Harmonizing to Lewis Mumford and Robert Park, metropolis should non merely defined by its physical signifier. Whatever it was that makes a metropolis a metropolis ( London ) , it had more to make with its societal procedures. ( Doreen Massey ) Decolonization has speeded up London ‘s heterogeneousness, strength of societal interaction and contrasts. In order word, London as a World metropolis is a metropolis produced, experient and lived imaginatively and besides incubating new societal dealingss and cultural signifiers which conflict with the protagonism of a national civilization or the chase of cultural patriotism. ( John Mcleod )

“With Vast Numberss of people populating in the metropolis, there are bound to be broad scope of fluctuations amongst them. This should give rise to the spacial segregation of persons harmonizing to coloring material, cultural heritage, economic and societal position, gustatory sensations and preferences.” ( Louis Wirth )

In Brick Lane, Monica Ali portrayed the struggle between Race and civilization of the interior metropolis unusually good. In Chapter two and three, she has focused on depicting the civilization of London and migrators in conversations between different characters. “Two in one hebdomad! But now our kids are copying what they see here, traveling to the saloon, to nightclubs. Or imbibing at place in their sleeping rooms where their parents think they are absolutely safe. The job is our community is non properly educated” said by Dr Azad ( P.31, Chapter two ) , this short conversation between Chanu and Dr Azad clearly described the job of interior metropolis migrators whose have non educated plenty to learn their offspring what is right or incorrect, they neglected their kids because they were busy working to gain money. Besides the 2nd coevals migrators are by and large copying the imbibing civilization but non commanding themselves. In Page 40, Monica uses the oculus of the chief Character – Nazneen to depict the icky anti societal behaviour by adolescents in council estate, “She looked down into the courtyard. Two male childs exchanged mock clouts, feinting left and right. Cigarettes burned in their oral cavities. She opened the window and leaned into the breeze.” ( P.40 ) . She besides use the Tattoo Lady who did non acquire named to depict the on the job category white who lived in council lodging and gave them a stereotype features – “She scratched her weaponries, her shoulders, the accessible parts of her natess. She yawned and lit a coffin nail. At least two tierces of the flesh on show was covered in ink.Nazneen had ne’er been near adequate to decode the designs. Chanu said the tattoo lady was Hell ‘s Angel.” ( P.18 Chapter one. ) Monica one time once more uses conversation between characters to present the message to the reader, “Three point five people to one room. That ‘s a council statistic, ” Chanu told Nazneen. “All crammed together. They ca n’t halt holding kids, or they bring over all their relations and pack them in similar small fish in a Sn. It ‘s a Tower Hamlets official statistic: three point five Bangladeshis to one room.” ( P.49 Chapter. 2 ) , “But the chief thing is instruction. The parents are so ashamed they do n’t cognize what to make. Sometimes they send the kid back place, where the truly cheap.” ( P248 Chapter 12 ) , “We need two things. More drugs counsellors and more occupations for the immature people said the Doctor.” ( P249, Chapter 12 ) Up to here, she already given adequate information for the reader to make ain imaginativeness of the icky down and jammed interior metropolis estate country with high denseness of migrators, working category white, 2nd coevals migrators, drug job and uneducated parents.

“Place is how we make the universe meaningful and the manner we experience the world.” ( Tim Cresswell )

“Place is about halting and resting and going involved.While infinite is conformable to the abstraction of spacial scientific discipline and economic reason, topographic point is conformable to treatments of things such as “value” and belonging” . ( Tuan 1977,149 )

Topographic point is difficult to specify but Tuan and Cresswell had done its definition absolutely good. London is a “Place” , even “Brick lane” and “Nazeen ‘s flat” are besides a topographic point where everything is interacting with each other. It was the sense of topographic point that creates the alone societal construction of immigrant communities and London. “Nazneen stared at a notice on the wall, printed in five linguistic communications. – No smoke, no feeding, no drinking” . ( P64, Chapter 3 ) In this transition, it was “place” which create this alone characteristics of Brick lane as it has got all kind of aliens lived in and they are interacting with each other within the same topographic point. Furthermore, In Chapter 14, Monica describe the Chanu household have ne’er left Brick lane or countries around it, although topographic points like the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and Hype-Park are really near to Brick Lane. In a sense, she use the household tour twenty-four hours as a Metaphor to depict the immigrant household make non travel out their ain vicinity, a sense of isolation with other portion of the metropolis and an intense sense of localism. In the other manus, topographic point had a profound consequence on altering people e.g. Chanu ( The “educated” ) , Mrs Azad and 2nd coevals migrators ( Tariq, bibi and Shahana. ) . For illustration, Place has turned Chanu to blend into the English civilization and finally accepted it in order to last in the society- “its portion of the civilization here. It ‘s so ingrained in the cloth of society. Back Home, if you drink you risk being an castaway. In London, if you do n’t imbibe you risk the same things.” ( P110, Chapter 5 ) , another illustration from Mrs Azad during the conversation with Chanu “Listen, when I ‘m in Bangladesh I put on a saree and cover my caput and all that. But here I go out to work. I work with white misss and I am merely one of them.” ( P114, Chapter5 ) and besides when Nazneen refers to Bangladesh as “our state, ” Karim makes it clear that he considers England to be his state in page 212. ( Bookrags ) and Shahana spoke in English during the conversation with Chanu about cyberspace and engineerings. -This small wire that goes into the telephone socket-do you see it? – it all comes down the wire.” “We go on the cyberspace at school, ”said Shahana, in English.” ( P200, Chapter 9 )

“Home evidently means more than a natural of physical scene. Particularly, the term can non be limited to a reinforced topographic point. A utile point of going for understanding place may be non its material manifestation but instead a construct: place is a unit of infinite organized mentally and materially to fulfill a people ‘s existent and perceived basic biosocial demands and, beyond the, their higher aesthetic-political aspirations.”

( Tim Cresswell )

There is a clear connexion made between topographic point and 2nd coevals migrators, they already regard “London” as the topographic point they “belong” to, whereas Bangladeshi and the linguistic communication of Bangladeshi ( Bengali ) are merely memory and heritage of their parent. In a sense these 2nd coevals migrators were seeking to bring forth a new type of societal memory and tidal bore to acquire out from the underside of societal hierarchy and mix in with the dominant societal group within the “place”- London. “Rootedness and authenticity” . In Harvey ‘s treatment of topographic point this significance is retained but becomes a symbol of reactionist exclusivity. Equally long as topographic point signifies a tight and comparatively immobile connexion between a groups of people and a site so it will be invariably implicated in the building of “us” ( people who belong in a topographic point ) and “them” ( people who do non ) .” ( Tim Cresswell ) In this manner the rootedness and genuineness of topographic point will make tenseness between different race groups, particularly the on the job category white who are most threaten of their societal and employment place to be taken out by the migrators. Therefore, struggle is inevitable. The following 2 infusions described the ground of racial tenseness absolutely good:

“It is the white lower class, like Wilkie, who are most afraid of people like me. To him, and people like him, we are the lone thing standing in the manner of them skiding wholly to the underside of the heap. Equally long as we are below them, so they are above something. If they see us lift so they are resentful because we have left our proper topographic point. That is why you get the phenomenon of the National Front. They can play on those frights to make racial tensenesss, and give these people a high quality composite. The in-between categories are more unafraid, and hence more relaxed.” Chanu said.” ( P38, Chapter two ) .

Cusp from “Lion Heart” ( a white on the job category organisation ) – “HANDS OFF OUR BREASTS! The Islamification of our vicinity has gone excessively far. A Page 3 calendar and posting have been removed from the walls of our community hall. How long before the extremists are seting head coverings on our adult females and dissing our girls for have oning short skirts? Do non digest it! Write to the council! This is England! ” ( P257 Ch12 )

These two infusions allow us to believe how weak of the bond between national bulks and minorities. There are two chief results for migrators ; they either become economic migrator which suggests that people enter the state merely for the interest of money, doing every bit much money as possible before returning. The other result is -Hyphenated British which indicates a motion from foreigner to insider, from impermanent occupant to permanent colonist and from a preponderantly homogenous to an progressively heterogenous society. ( John Eade ) However, the White bulks are the 1s that feel most threaten, afraid of migrators taking out all of the available occupations within the City and besides their life infinite, civilization and societal benefits.

Associating back to the debut, Monica Ali was non raised in the country of Brick Land and had ne’er been in a on the job category household. The novel is wholly a work of the imaginativeness influenced by her male parent ‘s narrative of Mymensingh countryside and her friend Naila Kabeer who study about the lives of Bangladeshi adult females garment workers. Although this essay had merely focused on the issues of altering civilization, place/identity, and race tenseness, there are still a batch more issues reflecting London ‘s life and the metropolis of London itself e.g. Gender dealingss, Landscape of London and economic environment. “This optimism approximately England as a land of possibility is linked to a more general women’s rightist political relations of release which may assist to partially explicate the book ‘s success in both the UK and the USA.” ( John Eade ) . In footings of the essay ‘s chief theme- Culture, topographic point and race, many conversations with in “Brick Lane” represent the changing of the fledglings and they are going one of the cardinal forces of a altering British state. “Their Britishness is mediated through the societal and cultural heritage of their state of beginning which produces a hyphenated individuality through the interweaving of category, gender, coevals, faith and language.” ( John Eade ) Finally, Monica Ali uses the event of 9/11 as an chance to depict the Bangladeshi or Islamic communities seek to demo how their true colour is and representation to the outside universe, particularly the National Majority.


  • Ali.M ( 2003 ) -Brick Lane
  • Cresswell.T ( 2004 ) , Place, a Short debut.
  • Harvey, D ( 1973 ) Social Justice and the City. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers
  • McLeod. J ( 2004 ) , Postcolonial London: rewriting the city
  • The Dictionary of Human Geography ( 3nd ) , R.J.Johnston, Derek Gregory, David Smith.
  • Smith, N 1984, Ch2, Capital and the production of Space, Blackwell: Oxford.
  • Eade.J, Ch3, Economic Migrant or Hyphenated British? Writing about difference in London ‘s East End
  • Massey.D ( 1991 ) , A Global Sense of Topographic point

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