Monday, June 28, 2010

"An Outpost of Progress." Joseph Conrad.

Review: An ironic title for this outpost in the heart of Africa. Should be called the outpost of darkness. Two white men are left by their supervisor, who departs on a steamer, to organize the trading post among black African tribes. Slowly an atmosphere of fear sets in. The workers are obedient, but they obviously have little respect for the white men and their ways.

When an outlaw tribe arrives on the scene carrying guns a native who is the whites’ third in command sells the workers into slavery for huge ivory tusks. The steamer that has left the white traders is late. Hunger, exasperation and fear take over. The two white men explode into irrational behavior, hurling insults at the top of their lungs. One shoots the other, and then hangs himself, as the steamer arrives.

The effects of isolation in the “heart of darkness.”

Short Story Masterpieces. Ed. RP Warren and A Erskine. New York: Dell Books. 1954.

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