England is an incredibly diverse place with influences from almost every part of the globe. As a result, it can be difficult to find out ‘What makes the English, English?’. In order to be able to tackle this question, one has to look into the values, attitudes and attributes of the diverse people who make up England today.
The English sense of humour
The English, and indeed, British, have a well-known aptitude for caustic satire and sharp and smart put-downs, but perhaps one of the better-known qualities of the English sense of humour is their sense of irony. For those who are not accustomed to such a common use of irony in normal conversation, the English sense of humour can often cause misunderstandings. A degree of ‘reading between the lines’ comes in very useful!
The stiff upper lip
The English have a well-earned reputation for being a stoic people, who prefer to get on with things despite obstacles that may appear along the way. It can be said that this no-nonsense attitude is mainly down to the working classes but the sentiment is carried across all levels and areas of society in England today. It is an attitude that has become especially necessary to have in present-day England and the recession that has plagued it for the past few years.
In the same vein, the English also have a tendency to towards order in life. The unparalleled and much-famed tolerance for queuing is just one of the attributes that demonstrates this penchant for order in everyday life for the English people.
Sense of duty
With over 185,000 charitable organisations registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, examples of the English sense of duty to others are not hard to find. Events, such as Red Nose Day, are often celebrated by offices all over the country, with people doing their part to raise money to contribute whether it’s selling baked goods, or wearing outrageous costumes.
As well as a sense of duty, the English also have a sense of occasion and never shy away from going that extra mile, especially where Royalty is concerned. The recent Queen’s Jubilee and before that, the marriage of William and Catherine made for fantastic parties and celebrations across the country. Plenty more celebrations can be expected with the imminent Olympics that has London carefully transforming itself as the proud host city.
England is such a rich and diverse place that it is impossible to give a concise, short answer for the question ‘What makes the English, English’. However, by delving into the character of the English people and their outlook on life, one can start to get a better picture of what makes the English people the people they are today.