Essay about Colonialism in an Outpost of Progress

1841 Words Feb 22nd, 2014 8 Pages
Dr. Chappell
ENG 106W
19 March 2013
Colonialism and Irony in “An Outpost of Progress” “An Outpost of Progress” is a story of irony and colonialism in Africa in the nineteenth century, written by Joseph Conrad. In this Story two European men, named Kayerts and Carlier, are deployed to a trading outpost in a remote part of the African jungle. They take part ivory trading in hopes of making themselves and the company they work for wealthier. Trading outposts in the late nineteenth century were a trademark for colonialist efforts in foreign lands. Colonialism is the establishment, exploitation, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory (Wikipedia). During the nineteenth century
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The irony in this is that Kayerts and Carlier were sent to this trading post to establish viable markets and generate cash, yet the man assigned to help them who was believed to be of a lower race wound up using them to make him and his family wealthier. Makola went behind Kayerts and Carlier’s backs to make a trade for 6 ivory tusks for the ten workers assigned to that station. Kayerts and Carlier did not like the workers because they showed the exact same qualities as the two Europeans did, laziness and an inability to perform assigned tasks. Kayerts and Carlier found the “wilderness” (Conrad Page 2) around them untamed and threatening, not necessarily because of what it contained, but because they did not know what it contained. The “immense forests” hid “fateful complications of fantastic life,” (Conrad Page 4). The two white men had no idea what was in the forest but knew it was something and they believed it to be very profitable but were scared to go after it. This wildness of their surroundings also mirrored and amplified the “primitive nature of primitive man,” which, like the forest, “brings sudden and profound trouble into the heart” (Conrad Page 5). Although Kayerts and Carlier do absolutely nothing in an attempt to make their trading post a successful outpost of progress, they still believe they have done something

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