A City of Destiny. The city sits between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds, making it possible for people working or living there to travel by boat all the way to the Atlantic Ocean or to the Gulf of Mexico. Between the s andlawmakers, engineers, and thousands of long-forgotten laborers created a new, manmade geography for Chicago—building a canal and sewers, raising city streets, and even reversing a river.
Get Full Essay Get access to this section to get all help you need with your essay and educational issues. The story was written as a reference to the ivory trade and the colonization of Africa. Conrad uses irony throughout the story to candidly challenge the merits of colonization through Christianity.
The story employs two eager Europeans, Kayerts and Carlier, who are appointed to a trading post in the African jungle. There they participate in and oversee the ivory trading, hoping for financial benefits for both the company and themselves.
With limited roles in the trading, they become isolated and demoralized as time goes by. The cross is mentioned early in the story when the grave of the previous surveyor is examined.
The complicity of Christianity within colonization becomes evident as Conrad uses the cross as a symbolic measure of the impact faith will have on Africa. It is not surprising to note that Christianity plays a limited role in redemption, salvation and eternal life within this story.
The cross, therefore, which presumably signifies the interference of civilization and progress upon the wilderness, instead becomes an ironic indicator of moral failure and economic opportunity. Initially Kayerts and Carlier are stunned and offended by the idea, although eventually they accept the trade and help Makola for personal financial benefit.
Through their greed for ivory, the men allow their native workers to be bartered to a marauding tribe. Both men are continuously plagued by diseases and grow weak in body, mind and soul towards the end of the story.
Their psychological health continues to deteriorate as the two men progressively go mad. Ideas that at first were thought to be unimaginable begin to appear financially beneficial forcing the men to submit to unethical and immoral behaviour. As a result of the ivory trade, the village is completely disrupted and deserted.
It seems, quite ironically, that colonization accomplished the opposite of its initial intentions. Its intentions were annulled by the effect of cultural ignorance.
Instead of bringing civilization, the traders have the people of the village sold as slaves. Instead of establishing a thriving, abundant flow of economy, they have brought emptiness, sorrow and great suffering. The effect of colonization takes the African village further away from a civilized community it was intended to be.
Finally, a controversy over sugar generates an irrational, hysterical and brutal conflict between them, ending tragically as Kayerts accidentally shoots and kills Carlier. At the end of the story, just when the company steamboat approaches the station after half a year of isolation, Kayerts hangs himself out of desperation.
The story concludes with a focus on the cross in an ironic way: Kayerts commits suicide by hanging himself from the cross.
According to Conrad, Christianity can offer no guarantees, no redemption, no salvation, and eternal life to men in the African wilderness. Far from progressing, the two men have degenerated to a point where all evidence of civilization are lacking.What do you need to know about code to survive in a suspicious world?
“The Secret Sharer” Joseph Conrad (Born Josef Teodor Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowski) Polish-born English novelist, short story and novella writer, essayist, dramatist, and autobiographer.
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