The Writing of the Long Song Essay

957 Words Jun 18th, 2016 4 Pages
The writing of the long song
“How can I be proud of my Jamaican roots, when my ancestors had been slaves”? This question asked by a woman with Jamaican roots followed British novelist Andrea Levy for a long time. She wondered how anyone could be ashamed of his or her legacy and thus the foundation of her book, The Long Song, was laid. However, writing the book was a more difficult task than presumed. Levy considered many things at the preliminary stage of the book as she knew that she didn’t want to write yet another historical novel about slavery. This is the reason why she chose to write the “behind the scenes”-essay, The Writing of The Long Song. Herein she elaborates and discusses the process of writing her book and raises important
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“I was treading where academics cannot go because of the rigour of their discipline” (p. 10, l. 260-262). This combination of two such different ways to write allows her to bring back the voices of those who were left out of the historical texts.

Levy’s style of writing is very personal, which could be due to the fact that the receivers of the text are people who probably already know and like her writing and therefore want to read the “behind the scenes”-part. She keeps a personal point of view throughout the text that for instance consist of a great deal of humour and interjections such as “Yes, sisters!” (p. 10, l. 231). Instantly, it becomes clear to the receiver that Levy is very aware of her use of these means. She quickly states that she doesn’t want to write yet another story about how horrible slavery is - and as a way of avoiding that, she chose linguistic means that would bring the essay down to an eye level and make it easier for the receivers to relate to her themes.

Levy treats multiple themes in her text: Being proud of one’s ancestry and the beauty of writing fiction. The theme of legacy is the first thing introduced in the text: “The topic of discussion was the legacy of slavery […] I cannot recall the panel’s response to the woman’s question but, as I sat silently in the audience, I do remember my own” (p.7, ll. 2-3, 7-10). This topic recurs throughout the text both in historical accounts and