An Analysis of Conrad's 'An Outpost of Progress'

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An Analysis of Conrad's "An Outpost of Progress" Joseph Conrad's short story "An Outpost of Progress" was written at the very end of the 19th century, published in a collection of his tales in 1898. Told from the third-person perspective, the story centers on Kayerts (the chief) and Carlier (his assistant) at a trading post on an African river completely removed from Western civilization. In fact, the only reminders of Western civilization (other than themselves) are the cross "much out of the perpendicular," leaning over the grave of the former chief of the trading post, and a French/English-speaking Negro named Henry Price, who goes locally by the name of Makola. This paper will examine the characters, their conflict, and how the era influenced the theme and conclusion of the story. The story was penned during an era of British colonialism. Conrad, a Polish Catholic by birth, had settled in England following his early days of seafaring. There, his novels and stories often examined the revolutionary life and times of a materialistic culture such as existed during the era of colonialism. The leaning crucifix in the beginning of "An Outpost of Progress" represents the state of Christian ethics in the modern age a system of beliefs that still survived outwardly, but was in obvious and sore need of repair and/or maintenance. In other words, the Christian ethic was visibly falling down. Kayerts and Colier represent two products of that modern, materialistic,
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