The Prisoner And The Prison Guard Essay

1107 Words Oct 8th, 2015 5 Pages
Philip Zimbardo, a Stanford psychology professor, conducted an experiment which examined life in confinement from the perspective of both the prisoner and the prison guard. As the study progressed, he observed that the prison guards began to display peremptory attitudes towards the imprisoned, developing sadistic and apathetic tendencies. Similar to the tyrannical behaviour of the colonizers during their relentless pursuit of superiority through imperialism, the prison guards became thoroughly indifferent of their iniquitous actions. The presence of this callous apathy that the colonizers direct towards the colonized is a theme often depicted in post-colonial literature. In Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the Europeans regard the Africans as savage, unruly people, dehumanizing them through words, labour, and the recruitment of loyal natives in the destructive goal towards colonization. Within George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant”, the Europeans imprison the Burmese, condemning them to unmerited instances of physical abuse due to the racist and intolerant mentality of the colonizers. Lastly, in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, the apathy of the Europeans is explored through the cruel deconstruction of the tribe, caused by the implementation of a foreign government, catalyzed by an assimilation of cultures.
The depiction of Africans as savage people is a recurring motif in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. The Europeans degrade the colonized due to their lack of knowledge of…

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