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Perhaps one of the most revered works of fiction in the twentieth-century, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner is a modern classic. Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner [Alan Sillitoe] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The title story in this collection of short stories tells. THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG-DISTANCE RUNNER Alan Sillitoe Published in AS soon as I got to Borstal they made me a long-distance cross-country.

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It may also be helpful to the general reader who is interested in the stories of Alan Sillitoe. If the guide is used as preparation for a written exam, then all silliroe activities suggested here may be done in writing or orally, as students and teachers wish.

Some of the activities here can be used also for assessment in speaking and listening, in original writing and in wider reading. If you are a teacher, look for the many prompts for activities.

Most can be done in speech or writing or using Internet technologies. If you are using this guide on a computer system, then you ought to open the application software you think most helpful for various tasks, as you see the need for it. The first part of this long story contains little in the way of conventional narrative: We learn that Smith, the narrator, is in borstal, but we must wait until we reach Part Two to discover why he is there.

This section draws up the lines of battle. Smith views life as a battle of wits, in which he confronts the forces of the establishment. His aim is to frustrate their efforts to make him conform, and thereby to assert his integrity.

Smith’s one great talent – his ability in running – is both a symbol for this struggle as it persists throughout his life, and also the means by which he hopes to disappoint and deceive the governor. By training hard and appearing eager to win the Blue Ribbon Prize Cup as he can do if he wishes he causes the governor to anticipate the credit this will reflect on his pretended humane outlook.

In fact it is because he runs alonethat Smith so he tells us has learned to think clearly enough to devise this strategy.

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner – Wikipedia

To win the race would be to accept the values and outlook of the governor and all his kind. To lose the race may seem to be cutting off his nose to spite his face, but is the only way Smith can retain his independence, and know he has retained it. Smith constantly refers in this section to the way the governor thinks of him as like a race-horse. He suggests that the achievements of such a thoroughbred are determined by, and earn glory for, others: The pessimism is not in his sense of two classes, but his belief that this can never change.

Later Smith comments on his and the governor’s cunning, observing that his is the more devious, as he sees through the distaance, while the governor’s does not see through Smith’s intentions. He passes next to the discussion of honesty: The governor is talking of honesty as respect for others’ property renouncing theft – not stealing things.

The intelligent reader will see that most educated speakers of English use the word in both senses without confusion. This leads naturally into the second section with its account of the events that have led to Smith’s being in the borstal.

Part Two is more conventional narrative. It is distancs the past tense and the first grammatical person, and deals with a simple series of events: Conveniently, this character is stupid, bullying and authoritarian.

That this officer is truly stupid rather than merely being thought stupid by Smith is made clear in two places. Smith dreams of a revolution, as in Hungary, in which the policemen will have the tables turned on them. The police are especially despised because they originate from the working class the one in runne story clearly does yet they sustain the ruling classes in power – thus they are seen as treacherous and unnatural.


Those in power are merely selfish; those who keep them in power have betrayed their own kind.

Part three has a more sophisticated narrative method. It is principally an account of the race, but even in this Sillitoe switches from the use of the past to the use of the present tense and back to give certain passages greater immediacy. Worked into this is a more detailed account of the death of Smith’s father briefly related in Part Two.

We see how Smith confronts temptation as the Governor shows lojg the prospect of material wealth and social status that his lonelkness can give him. Like Jesus in the gospels he undergoes a long period of privationafter which the tempter invites him to use his unique powers, against the dictates of conscience, for worldly gain. This is more a parody of, than a parallel to, the gospel story: Smith also briefly considers running away from the borstal but runnet he would then forfeit the pleasure of witnessing the governor’s disappointment and humiliation.

Near the line Smith fears that the next runner may be too far behind for him to lose properly, but he decides that, if need be, he will stand still in front of the winning tape, just as sillite father, in refusing hospitalisation, remained true to his beliefs in spite of pain.

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner – running blog book club

At last another runner arrives, to overtake Smith before the tape. The story concludes with an account of the governor’s expected punishment of Smith.

Contrary to the governor’s intentions, these have helped Smith further. Six dkstance of tiring menial work cause Smith, on his release, to go down with pleurisywhich enables him to avoid National Service.

We learn, finally, how borstal has made Smith a more skilful burglar, rather than a reformed character. As we are reading the apparently now-published work, we must assume that Smith’s fatalistic fear of his inevitable return to custody has now been realised – and the pal has kept his word.

Quite how this person would get such an account published is not clear. Smith likes his friends from the same class and background as he is.

He hates policemen, who come from the working-class but help those in power. In a different way he hates those who own property and those who run the country the middle classes and the upper class.

He has a very simple view of society. Sillitoe the writer wants to show how such a person tries to fight against the system, and how he can succeed, but only by hurting himself. Make sure you can explain this and quote to support your view. Sillitoe also does it by the symbolism of a race: Smith thinks he is treated like a race-horse not a person but less well; he is running against the system people in power and their way of running the world ; he cannot win the race, but he must keep running; when slan stops, it will mean he lonelinss dead.

Sillitoe makes this symbolism or metaphor more vivid in that Smith is also literally running a race, against other borstal inmates. He loses the real race, while keeping going not losing the lonelinsss one. There are no real characters the story is far too short but Smith tells us about a number of people who have influenced him, lonelinews with whom he has a relationship.

Sometimes the reader can see these people slightly differently from Smith Sillitoe intends this to happen. People Smith quite likes are. Smith is strongly motivated by his dislike of them. But the biggest influence in his life is his dad.

We find out about him quite late in the story. In every case the person has been used loheliness Sillitoe to show us something about Disance and his outlook. Try to say what this is. Sillitoe lets Smith tell his own story: Before you write anything you should silliroe in mind a sense of your subject, your purpose and your audience – for example your subject is health promotion, your purpose is to help smokers quit and your audience is people buying tobacco products in the UK.


So what you write is a short warning lonv appear on the packaging of cigarettes and other tobacco products. In schools, pupils sometimes write things or are told to do so without asking these questions first. This can be fun, but in real publishing which may have big costs but also can sillitod profits there is usually more focus.

So, in writing his books, Alan Sillitoe thinks of a youth or adult audience, and his direct purpose is to entertain perhaps while his indirect purpose is to make enough money to keep writing.

Happily, he has had enough success to be able to write for as long as he feels able and interested, which is good news for his many fans.

In writing this study guide, I have a very specific audience or related set of audiences in mind: If anyone else lonelibess the guide, this is a bonus.

The purpose is to help the students succeed in their work, while a second purpose is for them to enjoy some parts of it. It is set out in sections for users to dip into and pick and choose. You will, anyway, so I may as well work with this, not against it.

With some narratives you can add to the story TV soap operas are designed to make this always a possibility. With others, the writer has already said all there is to say, and trying to extend the story can only harm it.

Which kind of story is this one? Lkneliness ending of this story does imply that there will be consequences in the future, but leaves this open. Will Smith continue to commit crimes, will he become more law-abiding, or will he become more skilful at evading detection?

There are many things that one can reasonably do with such a narrative – either to explore particular situations and characters in it, or to adapt it into different forms. This story is well suited for making into a script for dramatic performance. It could easily be adapted for television or radio, and could even make a fair stage play, with some slight changes. It has been successfully adapted as a feature film – but you might want to remake it for a more contemporary disfance. Several students could work together to write the whole drama.

If it is very good, you could even submit it to a production company for real performance. If you develop a stage play, then you could find a theatre company that wants to perform it.

Make sure that you find out about the conventions rules, agreed style for setting out lonellness for the stage or radio and TV similar but not quite the same.

Perhaps the governor keeps a diary. We don’t know about real diaries they are private but we know of fictitious diarists like Adrian Mole and Bridget Jones. Write a series of entries for diaries kept by the governor.

These should be for dates before and after the Blue Ribbon Prize Cup. In doing this, you can adapt your style to the way you think the governor would write – you can do this quite seriously, or in a comical way, as if to criticize the governotr through ridicule or satire.

Write a series of reports that might be kept in Smith’s record file. These may be written by various officials at various times but should include all of the following:. Remember to give the officials’ opinion of Smith at each dlstance. You may add any other reports you think useful.

It is possible to combine writing and speaking by creating scripts and reading these aloud.