Joseph Conrad: An Outpost of Progress The Author : Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) was born in Berdichev, Russia, to rich polish parents. After his both parents have died he left Russia to join the French merchant fleet. 1884, after eight years of service, he left the French navy for the British. Speaking french, polish and english he soon became an English citizen. Being the Captain of the Otago in 1888 he travelled all over the world, especially the Congo and the maledives impressed his later works. Though he loved the sea he was forced by a tropical illness having caught in the Congo to give up his job. Without having much money left he started working as an author like his father and produced during 1990 and 1924 about 13 novels and 30 short stories. Summary : Kayerts and Carlier two white Europeans are put in charge of leading an remote trading station on a river. As the previous agent died of fever,the director predicts them their failure, but gives them enough supplies for the next six months when he will return. Makola a so called “civilize­d nigger” lives with his family on the outpost and is responsible for the trade of ivory and ten bad working Africans at the post. Local natives under “Father” Gobila support the station with local supplies. When a strange looking armed group of Africans appears Makola behaves strange and sells the ten workers for six wonderful tusks without informing Carlier and Kayerts. Though
Analysis: "The Outpost of Progress" by Joseph Conrad
The short story “An Outpost of Progress” written by Joseph Conrad, addresses the unhealthy and critical period of the white men’s settlement at the station.
Just before their lives are filled with only madness and sickness, the two white men endure countless days of loneliness.
They even lose their only ally, Gobila, through their inconvenient confidence to believe Makola. Additionally, their daily nourishment consists of boiled rice and a cup of coffee, since they cannot secure any prey they would have hunted. Besides being theoretically imprisoned in an unknown land without food and equipment to travel, they ought to lose their temper towards each other once.
Obviously, this separates the white men once again, while unleashing their untamed madness. After this insidious fight, they are now truly alone.
Both characters act somewhat indifferent throughout the entire passage, yet one of them starts rebelling which then determines the end of the whole story.
The passage is compiled of half a dozen climaxes that foreshadow the upcoming heat in certain events. “Days lengthened into weeks, then into months.” (l. 1) for instance, which elevates the protagonists’ loss of patience and faith in the director’s return.
Allegedly, this starts the whole conflict between the two protagonists, as their impatience affects their behavior. Also, the climax “At first they spoke of delay jauntily, then anxiously, then gloomily.” (l. 6) preludes to the upcoming change of behavior. And since they have lost Gobila’s aid and trust, they cannot rely on anyone but themselves. The loss of trust is illustrated through the metaphor “…but were received with a shower of .....[read full text]