Historical Summary of “Outpost of Progress” by Joseph Conrad
Dec 7, Many of the ideas, issues, problems, developments, and mentalities that were a number of new conditions that characterized international relations. th century include the deployment of Kayerts and Carlier to a trading. Congo. On this outpost two new agents arrive, Kayerts and Carlier problems. Main Topics. Civilization. Civilization is one of the most important topics in the short story. Makola Later on Guy is so morally ill that he had a relationship with the. Kayerts and Carlier never see anything clearly or have anything firm to hold on to , and it is inevitable from the start that they will be overwhelmed by mysterious.
The third man on the staff was a Sierra Leone nigger, who maintained that his name was Henry Price. However, for some reason or other, the natives down the river had given him the name Makola, and it stuck with him through all his wanderings about the country.
He spoke English and French with a warbling accent, wrote a beautiful hand, understood book-keeping, and cherished in his innermost heart the worship of evil spirits. His wife was a negress from Loanda, very large and very noisy. Three children rolled about in sunshine before the door of his low shed-like dwelling.
Makola, taciturn and impenetrable, despised the two white men. He had charge of a small clay storehouse with a dried grass roof, and pretended to keep a correct account of beads, cotton cloth, red kerchiefs, brass wire, and other trade goods it contained. It was built neatly of reeds, with a verandah on all the four sides.
There were three rooms in it. The one in the middle was the living-room, and had two rough tables and a few stools in it.
- Historical Summary of “Outpost of Progress” by Joseph Conrad
- Conrad’s Picture of Irony in “An Outpost of Progress”
The other two were the bedrooms for the white men, Each had a bedstead and a mosquito net for all furniture. The plank floor was littered with the belongings of the white men: There was also another dwelling-place some distance away from the buildings. A close reading 1. It is their assistant Makola who really does all the work and determines what goes on, whilst they are hopelessly incompetent. The two names Kayerts and Carlier suggest that the story is set in the Belgian Congo.
Kayerts is a Flemish name, and Carlier is French, these being the two linguistic groups which comprise Belgium. The physical description of the two men emphasises their difference in the manner of comic music-hall double acts of the Laurel and Hardy, Little and Large variety. He is also a skilled clerk.
Conrad’s Picture of Irony in “An Outpost of Progress”
Thus he has absorbed European culture, in contrast to the two Europeans who are completely incapable of absorbing his. Yet he still worships evil spirits.
In other words, he has a foot in both cultures. This is why she understands what the slave traders are saying later in the story. It tells us that Makola keeps his feelings and his motivation well hidden. Such details contribute to the reason why Africa in a moral sense defeats the two Europeans in the story. The exchange is therefore unfair, and the Africans are being cheated.
The mosquito nets would be important, because the two men are close to the equator, and therefore a long way away from their European homeland. Moreover, the previous chief of the trading post has died of fever. The two men do not know how to look after themselves. For this place is the grave of the first station chief.
An Outpost of Progress by Joseph Conrad
Africa has already killed off one representative of Europe when the story opens — and it will claim two more before it ends. I found there a different moral attitude.
Such images reflect the impassive and somewhat indifferent universe progressing alongside the two Europeans, a space in which codes of existence cannot be deciphered by them, owing to a blatant ignorance of such codes. Yet, this space is reportedly brimming with life: They lived like blind men in a large room, aware only of what came in contact with them and of that only imperfectly but unable to see the general aspect of things.
The river, the forest, all the great land throbbing with life, were like great emptiness. Even the brilliant sunshine disclosed nothing intelligible. Things appeared and disappeared before their eyes in an unconnected and aimless kind of way.
The river seemed to come from nowhere and flow nowhither.
An Outpost of Progress
Another symbol is the trading station itself, which marks an intersection of two cultural norms. This patronising term is approvingly commented upon with a Euro-centric explanation, i.
II-Representations and misrepresentations 8From the outset, Conrad orientates our reading towards the issue of what should be a civilised and decent representation of Empire in Africa, precisely by sketching an unrepresentative pair of agents: They are mock-heroes who belie the qualities of efficiency and determination which reputedly characterise European commerce in Africa.
They are written off by their director as mentally unfit for their mission, which is why they are appointed to a far-off and barely productive trading station. I told those fellows to plant a vegetable garden, build new store houses and fences and construct a landing stage. I bet nothing will be done! I always thought the station on this river is useless, and they just fit the station.
Indeed, their house is poorly kept, and for edibles the two men rely on the dwindling Company supplies of pulse and rice since they have not planted a vegetable garden to support themselves as their director told them to do before his departure. Deflation is very much the privileged medium for their moral portrait, and they are recurrently shown as poor examples of imperial authority and inventiveness.Public Lecture: The Changing Relationship Between Humans and Plants, It's Complicated
His composure and steadfastness counterpoint the carelessness of his white superiors. The switching of roles is well rendered in this exchange, when Kayerts discovers that their native workers have been sold: I forbid you to touch them.
I order you to throw them into the river. If you are so irritable in the sun, you will get fever and die- like the first chief! The very title of this short story reads like an intended derision, a tone which is applied throughout the narrative.
It spoke much of the rights and duties of civilisation, of the sacredness of civilised work, and extolled the merits of those who went about bringing light, and faith, and commerce to the dark places of the world First, the trading post is itself downgraded by its managers.