Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

1170 Words5 Pages
Loneliness of Long Distan Born in Nottingham in 1928 to a working class family, serving in the Air Force, and going through many struggles, Alan Sillitoe is known as an effective representative of the English working class. Through his story "The Loneliness of the Long-Distance R unner" and the other stories contained within the book, Sillitoe effectively criticises the legal system of England, which deprives individualism from its people, is ineffective and interferes with people's lives. His stories "Uncle Ernest," "On Saturday Afternoon, and "The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner" show these themes. The issues presented still are pertinent today. Sillitoe effectively criticises the legal system in "Uncle Ernest." Uncle Ernest is a working-class lonely man who lives an isolated, despondent existence. Joan and Alma, whom he befriends, are very poor and in need of a father figure. Ernest has lost all of his old friends. His family has left him. He is need of company. He can no longer cover up his loneliness like he covers up the sofas he re-upholsters for a living. Ernest buys food for them, clothes, and gifts. All three are happy in the rela tionship they have with one-another. However, one day, he was told, "Now look here, we don't want any more trouble from you, but if ever we see you near those girls again, you'll find yourself up before a magistrate" (57). Ernest is deprived his life, w hat makes him happy. He is deprived the only friendship he has because the unwritten social code suggests that a man such as himself befriending young girls as such means that he is a paedophile. The detectives interfere with his life. Sillitoe shows t he legal system not only makes false assumptions, but goes by an unwritten social code that is accusational. The issue of conformity is central; Ernest is not a "normal" member of society,
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