Aspects Of Imperialism In Lansford's Train From Rhodesia

2134 Words 9 Pages
Throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many societies and countries were under the imperial control of the British Empire. The English had a presence or influence in a large part of the world, which stretched past Africa and into Asia. They used these colonies and spheres of influence to enhance and improve their economy through the cheap labor provided by the indigenous people who were granted few civil rights. In “Train From Rhodesia”, the economical and cultural distance between the indigenous people and their oppressors is shown at a train station when a train full of happy imperialists comes through a small poor town of indigenous people in Rhodesia. The same economic and cultural distance is shown in “Shooting an Elephant” …show more content…
Contrastly, “[i]n colonies such as India, Burma, or Indonesia, these native elites endeavored to combine positive aspects of Western culture with their own indigenous traditions. This helped revive native culture in many areas, even as Western-style governments and economic systems remained prevalent” showing that these stories are not accurate in all cases (Lansford, Imperialism, Cultural, 574). These are specific examples, and there are many cases in which colonies and empires were mutually prosperous. “However, cultural imperialism distorts normal societal exchanges. Instead, the dominant power seeks to suppress and, in some cases, eradicate other cultures.” (Lansford, Imperialism, Cultural, 576) This kind of imperialism is what is seen in both …show more content…
“The train had cast the station like a skin. It called out to the sky, I’m coming, I’m coming; and again, there was no answer” (Gordimer, Train From Rhodesia, 1). This is ironic because it signifies the relationship of the indigenous people to the people from the Imperialist culture, or the ones on the train. The indigenous people call out for help, but the people on the train do not reply. In “Shooting an Elephant”, the use of twisted expectations or irony is shown in the main character being part of the ruling body, and he has to make decisions for his life that he does not want to do. “ [T]he narrator knows that the crowd expects him to kill the elephant, and that the people have suspended their usual annoyance against him because the elephant has transiently assumed his place as the object of their invidious animation” (Orwell, Shooting an Elephant, 4). This expectation of the main character forces him to do things that he would never do out of his own free will. His placement in this social structure puts him in this peculiar

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