Imperialism In King Solomon's Mines

1825 Words 8 Pages
Racial differences have been a polarizing topic since the dawn of time. H. Rider Haggards King Solomon’s Mines was written at a time when racial divide between civilized dynasties such as the British Empire and African tribes were at their peak; and racial differences were often preyed upon by English writers. Haggard does not follow suit with his novel King Solomon’s Mines, the author takes a revolutionary approach to cultural stereotypes by depicting African characters as equals to white characters in several circumstances. King Solomon’s Mines, at first glance comes across as a portrayal of white superiority and imperialism over the helpless Africans, however when reading closely it can be seen the Africans are depicted in a more positive …show more content…
The relationship between Africa and Britain is a strained one. Many negative stereotypes where formed about the African people over centuries of British explorers and missionaries traveling to Africa and bringing back wild, largely fictitious stories about its inhabitants, as outlined through Patrick Brantlinger’s Essay The Dark Continent. Brantlinger discusses how “the myth of the Dark Continent developed during the transition from the British campaign against slave trade” (173). Africa was the victim of British imperialism, for years Africans where used as slaves. Once Britain abolished slavery in 1833, they felt it was their responsibility to watch over the Africans and civilize the plains of Africa, this of course is where the animosity and stereotypes grew. The British started to …show more content…
This is partially true. King Solomon’s Mines does play off social ideals, but not in the manner that is interpreted at first glance; Haggard uses social stereotypes to build up his case that Africans are not so different from Englishmen by first presenting them in the early half of the book and then tearing them down in the latter half of the book. This is first exemplified when the character Umbopa is introduced into the story line, narrator Allen Quartermain see’s Umbopa in the corner of his hut and chooses to not address the man as he believes that Africans see those who rush into conversations as less dignified. “I did not take any notice of him for a while...” (Haggard 33). This is an example of the white man’s feeling of superiority over the Africans. Quartermain at no point in the story leading up to this chooses to wait and address white men, it’s a strong showing of the belief that Africans do not deserve as much respect as the white man. This was a common stereotype of the time that played off the idea that Africans were less intelligent thus deserved less respect. Haggard tears this stereotype down later in the novel, once Quartermain and his companions have grown accustomed to the Kaukauna’s they no longer pause to address any of the Africans. Characters such as Infadoos the Kaukauna general are never ignored when they enter scenes or rooms, an example being the interaction between the white men and Infadoos prior to the witch

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