John A. McClure writes in Kipling and Conrad that "as the twentieth century opened, the artists and intellectuals of the age increasingly came to believe that imperial rule, if inevitable in the short run, was an inglorious enterprise that deformed both those who ruled and those who submitted" (153). Joseph Conrad and E. M. Forster were among these artists and each expressed their misgivings about the "inglorious enterprise" and its "deforming" effects in Heart of Darkness and A Passage to India respectively. I will attempt to analyze some of these effects among a range of British characters in both novels in terms of the connections between ideologically motivated cultural assumptions, personal attitudes and behavior, and psychological crisis.
Vladimir Lenin describes imperialism in his work Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism as the "product of highly developed industrial capitalism. It consists in the striving of every industrial capitalist nation to bring under its control or to annex larger and larger areas of...territory, irrespective of what nations inhabit those regions" (155). When the industrial nation allows its citizens to settle in the conquered territory the area is then a colony and the settlers are colonizers whereas the people native to the area are the colonized. The fundamental motive of imperialism and colonialism is economic: profits are large because investment in the conquered area is nil and native labor is cheap, and this situation is maintained by depriving the colonized peoples of political and economic rights. However, as James Kavanagh points out in his essay "Ideology," such a "social situation e...
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...ish Empire, everone is affected, everyone is guilty and no one can afford the luxury of an unexamined life.
Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. New York: Signet Classic, 1983.
Forster, E. M. A Passage to India. New York: Harcourt, Brace, & World, Inc., 1952.
Kavanagh, James T. "Ideology." Critical Terms for Literary Study. Eds. Frank Lentricchia and Thomas McLaughlin. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.
Kiernan, V. G. The Lords of Human Kind. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1969.
McClure, John A. Kipling and Conrad. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
Meltzer, Francoise. "Unconscious." Critical Terms for Literary Study. Eds. Frank Lentricchia and Thomas McLaughlin. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.
Memmi, Albert. The Colonizer and the Colonized. New York: The Orion Press, Inc., 1965.
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