The Importance Of Crime In London

834 Words4 Pages
Literary texts in which London is the primary setting often discuss the crime that exists within the city. In some, such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘The Man with the Twisted Lip’, crime and its prevalence in London drives the central storyline. In others, crime feeds into the overall representation of the city that the text presents, as in John Gay’s Trivia, or, the Art of Walking the Streets of London. By writing the city in relation to the crime within, both Gay and Doyle create a London that by its nature enables and aids crime, and use its presence to facilitate the distinct messages within their texts.
Trivia depicts crime not as a rarity, but as part of the daily inconveniences of London life that the poem seeks to teach its readers to avoid. Gay, under the persona of the Walker, sets out in Trivia to educate fellow walkers to ‘walk clean by Day, and safe by Night’ in the city’s streets. Gay presents crime as one of the inherent dangers of London that his readers must learn to evade. The primary example of such is the advice given about evenings, during which a ‘mob gathers’ as ‘lab’rers home return’, allowing the ‘subtil artist’ and ‘the skulking thief’ to prey on the unaware (pp.47-49). These evening scenarios are, in Gay’s representation, a given and a reality of the city. Furthermore, the expected challenges of London, such as nightly crime, are mentioned with a solution in mind. To evade the thief in the mob, the Walker advises the reader to ‘swiftly shoot
Open Document