London : the biography by Peter Ackroyd, 2000
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The text that I'm going to present you was written in 2000 by Peter Ackroyd: an English biographer, novelist and critic. In reality, this text is a biography about the city of London and here the author gives us his description, his vision of the London world.
I/ Firstly, a short summary on this biography:
In this description of London, the writer uses a process quite disconcerting. Indeed, this one has recourse to sea vocabulary in order to show us a detailed image of the capital of England.
From my point of view this biography of London is divided in four parts:
- In the first time part the author produces a portrait very oppresive of the city. In fact, we have the impression that London is a place where the crowd rushes up in the streets. We can say that people are omnipresent in the scenery.
- In the second part the author attaches importance to the atmosphere of the city. More especially, he is concentrated about its noises but also the decor.
- In the third part, the writer deals with the behaviour of people, more precisely in the trade.
- In the four part, Peter Ackroyd takes an interest to the birds: the starlings.
In this description there is nothing positive. It seems that this city is hostile because of the population who is invasive in the narrow thoroughfares of London, because of fog, because of silence...
II/ Now, a more extensive analysis of the text:
Firstly, we can notice the presence of some sounds like '' the roar '' / '' the murmur '' / '' the silence ''... Thanks to these words the author tends to show us that the city is quite mysterious and intriguing.
Secondly, we can see that there is also the presence of adverbs like '' simply or particularly ''. They define more explicitly the situation.
After, we can discern several adjectives such as '' dark '' / '' vast '' / '' luminous '' / '' dangerous ''. It is possible to say that they have the fonction to describe precisely the atmosphere of London. Here, the city appears huge and dull to us.
We can also discern several names like '' hopelessness '' / '' despondency '' which are used in order to show us that there is an oppressive ambiance.
Afterward, we can notice that the author uses much cultural references. For example: '' Arthur Morrison '' / '' Henry Peacham / '' Louis Simond ''. So, we can say that there is a wish to be the more authentic and real than possible. I believe that he also uses this process with the name of places such as '' London Bridge '' / '' Whitechapel ''... He has the same goal.
Then the author names every time people differently: for example '' the social workers '' / '' human '' / '' the denizens '' / '' founder ''... Therefore, we can deduce that the author would like to have a certain diversity in his description. I suppose that for him, people have an important place and that's why he varies his designations.
In this biography, there is also a considerable utilisation of sea vocabulary. For example '' stream '' / '' emerge '' / '' waves '' / '' sea '' / '' ship '' / '' the anchor '' / '' the starlings '' / '' the cliff ''. Presently, in his portrait of London Peter Ackroyd describes the city with a lot of words which make reference to sea '' dark stream people '' / '' emerge as torrent '' / '' a sea of roofs '' / '' buildings of the city are cliffs still... ''
I strongly believe,that the author trys to put in parallele the sea and London. It seems that he wishes by the intermediaire of metaphores to show us how London is today. From my point of view, it's a good way to people for having an idea of the city, its decors, its population... Personally, I completely adhere to this kind of representation.
Modern vision = Insecure
The author not insist on the misery, the dark present in the city. He only maintains an oppressive atmosphere.
Living condition of people were really difficult - Horrible place to living.
Some writers try to change the dream of a better city where people would be happy, equal.
A city beauty, equality and preogressively many writers and architects try to change this vision.
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