Destined to fail - about "The Long Song" of Andrea Levy
Seminar paper from the year 2011 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 1,3, Ernst Moritz Arndt University of Greifswald (Institut für Fremdsprachliche Philologien), course: Seminar Westindian Slavery in Fiction, language: English, abstract: After attending the seminar West Indian Slavery in fiction I realized how little I knew about that cruel episode of history. The third novel we discussed named The Long Song by Andrea Levy was the most impressive to me and made me especially aware of the lack of knowledge I had about the alleged liberators of the slaves in the West Indies. After the first reading of The Long Song I thought the author uses the character of Robert Goodwin only to show how complex the issue of racism is and how even the ideology of abolitionism was undermined by segregation. But when we dealt with this topic in the seminar a discussion arose about how the meaning of the relationship towards July should be evaluated in that context. I could not comprehend in contrast to the other participants how the feelings Goodwin displays towards July can be interpreted as true love since I always had in mind how cold-heartedly he left her behind and even abducted the baby. At the end of the session I was neither convinced nor satisfied because if one accepts his feelings towards July as being true love, the question arouses what the author intended by portraying such a strange relationship. Therefore I want to try to take a closer look at this constellation in order to suggest a reason why Levy makes the new Overseer fall in love with the protagonist. More precisely I want to prove that the development of the character of Robert Goodwin and the experiences he collects within the novel make clear how a racist ideology has to fail in general. Furthermore in his case it is particularly shown how the social and economic restraints of his time destined the young man to fail.