Main Themes

Troy Town is a satire with four targets:

  • the ‘cumeelfo’ of Troy, who see themselves as socially superior
  • the terrorists whose purpose is essentially nihilistic 
  • non-conformity, although indirectly through the stories of Caleb Trotter
  • a newly arriving urban elite (at the close of the novel) consisting of an agnostic, a critic, an engineer and a career politician.

Q endeavours to use the Dearloves, Caleb Trotter and Mr. Fogo, for all their faults, as individuals and as symbols of humility, sincerity and integrity, and in the case of the Dearloves as unselfconscious and unpretentious Anglicans. They are what they appear to be.

The 'Cumfeelfo'

'Cumeelfo' (comme il faut) is a Trojan form of political correctness, characterised by gentility, snobbery and triviality. Its exponents are the families of Limpenny, Buzza, Simpson and Saunders, along with Mr. Moggridge, the Vicar and others. They see themselves as the elite of Troy.

The‘cumeelfo’ see themselves as socially and culturally superior, thus creating a division in Trojan society. In becoming insincere they are unable to detect insincerity in others. Their sensibilities, as we see in Chapter IX, are open to manipulation. A consequence of this is that it leaves Trojan society leaderless. When ‘The Bower’ is ransacked in Chapter XXII, by individuals who would otherwise be worshipping in church, the ‘cumeelfo’ are in their midst – not so Tamsin Dearlove who has rowed to St. Symphorian’s in her boat.

The Terrorists

The terrorists, whose ‘Cause’ forces them to wear a mask of duplicity which leads them to cynicism and the weariness Geraldine complains of in the last section of Chapter XV.

The Non-conformists

Caleb Trotter’s stories about the non-conformist Farmer Menear are intended as an exposé of evangelical hypocrisy, where claims to spiritual superiority and particularity cover material self-interest and religious manipulation.

The Urban Elite

At the very close of the novel Q casts a disapproving eye at an urban elite which is beginning to filter into coastal communities with the improvement of communications, and for whom the material side of life is all that matters. They are rooted in nothing.