Thepurpose of having these impressions is to learn and make sense of theBritish society so that one knows how to react and interact with theBritons when in contact. I want to know who they are so that caninteract with them. These impressions about Britain and its peoplecome from experiences, media portrayals, popular culture, movies, andbooks which give us a better understanding of what they are and howthey behave. Having these impressions is necessary to be able tonavigate their live. These impressions are based on how they behaveand look in terms of race, ethnicity, and particular categories ofidentities. Because these impressions come from popular culture,media, experiences, books, and movies, some may not be based onfounded facts but stereotypes.
Britainand Its People
Thepurpose of this essay is to explore aspects of Englishness, whatcharacterizes the English, and the unwritten codes and rules thatdelineate their national character. Fox (n.d) has done a great workexplore aspects of Englishness ranging from speaking about clothingto food, talking about sports to weather, pets to holidays, and fromtheir work rules to sense of humor. Fox’s findings show thatEnglish people are impacted by a social disease that renders them tobecome very reserved and violent (n.d). Therefore, Englishreservedness and hooliganism are closely intertwined. Fox alsoobserve that English people are class conscious although they act asif not to care, have self-deprecating humor, require props and rulesto function socially, and are inclined to moan for everything.
Inrelation to the weather, Fox argues that previous witnesses got itwrong by assuming that “our conversations about the weather areconversations about the weather” (n.d). It is true that Englishpeople begin a conversation with friends and stranger by talkingabout weather, but it is a kind of code British people employs tofind out about each other. English weather-conversation is a kind ofgrounding talking just like the social grooming common in primates.It may seem weird to strangers, but it is the English way of makingpeople feel at ease. Since weather is an unbiased subject ofconversation, it is usually a safe way of starting a conversation.Today, fireworks and bonfires, with Guys’ burnt in effigy are usedto celebrate the foiling of the plat.
TheEnglish have fervor for queuing although they pretend not to.Foreigners consider them as having endless patience. They queueeverywhere for everything ranging from football tickets to concertsand theater tickets, business to trains, fast foods to cafeterias,hospital beds to doctor’s waiting room, payphones to banks,supermarkets to groceries. The traffic jam is another sort of queuepopular in United Kingdom. Many motorists are fond of spending theirweekdays in bumper driving. Queuing is not often a requirement, butjust a herd instinct, which compels individuals to crowd together,expect when taking a public transport or when rules are different(Fox, n.d).
Moaningis becoming a defining characteristic of English. They are simplyunhappy unless they are experiencing a good moaning. They complainabout people, sarcasm, the costs, and driving. English like tellingjokes when they are bored, angry or upset. Sometimes the humor may beexcessive, controversial, and incongruous.
Anothernational trait of English is the obsession with class. The Englishhave a rather weird obsession with branding things based on class.Its class groups are based on both income and social factors liketaste in leisure activities, music, and food. The Front Reportsatirizes the British class system. Corbett, who is short, representsthe working, Barker who is of average height represents the middleclass while Cheese, tallest of the three, embodies the upper class.The three attempts to describe advantages and disadvantages of theirsocial classes and contrast them with their neighbors.
Theclass system, particularly class conflicts between pompous members ofmiddle classes and embarrassingly overt social climber is evident inthe Red Dwarf comedy TV series. The main characters in this havegeneral dislike for each other simply because they belong todifferent classes (Grant & Naylor, 1988). In this show, thecharacters rely on class divisions and patriarchal norms to offer aconclusive way of knowing the UK. Furthermore, Red dwarf illustrateshow difficult it can be to rid ourselves of such divisions.
Throughoutthe UK, villages, and towns, it can be seen people burning hugebonfires and letting off magnificent fireworks, together with aneffigy to celebrate the idea that James I and the Parliament were notblown off by Guy Fawkes. The Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated tocommemorate November 5th1606 in which Guy Fawkes and other conspirators tried to blow up theParliament and King James 1 (Happy Guy Fawkes Day). The main causewas that the conspirators were against the protestant policies ofKing James I. They succeeded storing gunpowder under Houses ofParliament, but the plot was foiled prior to the opening of theParliament on fifth. The conspirators were executed for treasonoffense. Since then, every 5thNovember English have been celebrating by lighting up bonfires ofeffigy of Guy Fawkes together with firework displays.
Aswell as lighting up effigy of Guys, the bonfires are employed to cookpotatoes for the people who gather to watch fireworks. Othertraditional foods that is eaten include sausages, parkin, toffeeapples, bonfire toffee, sticky cake comprising a mix of ginger,oatmeal and syrup
Inthe comic strip V for Vendetta, the protagonist takes the persona ofGuy Fawkes, dressed in a mask while fighting an authoritarian state.The protagonist urges the mass to take control and rule themselves.The Fawkes mask is a depiction of Guy Fawkes. Although the use of themask on an effigy has its origin as part of Guy Fawkes NightCelebration, the stylized mask designed represents broader protestafter it was used as a major plot element in the film V for Vendetta.
Thousandsof Britons are unhappy about their weight status. In the comic movie,“Bridget Jones Diary, the narrator is worried of appearing gawkyand tongue tied in tense social setting if she puts a few extraweight. In her early thirties, Bridget Jones is unhappy about herweight. She is single and accident-prone.
Thereare many other national traits in the film that depict Englishness,including last-minute saves, use of cockney slang, (not saying whatthey want) and inability to talk about their emotions.
Cockneyslang is a fascinating past of English language. Cockney rhymingslang originated in East End of London in the 19thcentury and employs substitute words as a coded option for anotherword (Cockney rhyming slang notes). In Bridget Jones Diary, Jonesuses the cockney slang “Arse” when Daniel attempts to convinceher to stay following the fallout and quitting her job at thepublishing house. Bridget says, “I’d rather have a job wipingHussein’s arse”. Here Bridget means she does not want to bebothered by Daniel.
Inregard to the last-minute, there have been misunderstandings betweenBridget, Mark and Daniel and the former two are unable to expresstheir emotions until the last minute. Bridget confesses her truefeeling to Mark when he is about to leave for New York with Natasha.
Aftergoing through many articles, my impressions about Britain, and itspeople has not changed, rather they have been strengthened. However,I have gained some understanding of how and why they behave the waythey do. I have also learned many other traits that I did not beforeand learned why bonfires are burned in the UK towns and villages.
BridgetJones’ Diary.Retrieved on Jul 1, 2015 from http://www.bilibili.com/video/av634935/
Cockneyrhyming slang. AttachedFile
FrostReport. Retrieved on Jul1, 2015 from: www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2k1iRD2f-c
Fox,K. (n.d). Watching theEnglish: the hidden rules of English behavior
HappyGuy Fawkes Day (attachedfile)
Grant R. & Naylor, D. (1988).Red Dwarf. UK: British Broadcasting Corporation.