The Central Irony of An Outpost of Progress

An Outpost of Progress is a story by Conrad that reveals how controls of a civilization are obligatory for the sanity of people. Two atypical white males, Kayerts and Carlier have been posted to a distant buying and selling station within the coronary heart of Africa. Their job is to supervise the gathering of ivory on the station. In an odd land, with totally different customs and totally different folks, Kayerts and Carlier are primarily isolated- they depend upon one another for any significant firm.

On this background Conrad exposes how males collapse if they don’t have the strict controls of a society to self-discipline them. Kayerts and Carlier are seen to easily whereas away their time, ready for issues to occur on their very own, resign themselves to their fates. They’re unable to enhance their residing circumstances, they present no enterprise what so ever and are seen set on a path of gradual degradation.

On the finish, we see how these two males, who as soon as had referred to as one another ‘my pricey fellow’, are consumed by a mutual mistrust and struggle over very small issues. In the end one man kills the opposite over a trivial dispute and unable to face the results of his motion, commits suicide himself.

‘To grapple effectually with even materials issues requires extra serenity of thoughts and extra lofty braveness than folks usually think about.’ Conrad reveals us how these two people are unable to take care of first rate residing circumstances when left on their very own just because they’re fully remoted from a society with its system of reward and punishment. ‘they…have no idea what use to make of their freedom’.

The central irony of the story is that these two people had been despatched by a civilized European nation to a ‘darkish’ Africa. Their mission is to result in ‘mild, and religion and commerce to the darkish locations of the earth’. It’s ironical how as an alternative of reaching this aim, the lads fell prey to the darkish forces of ‘pure unmitigated savagery’, ‘primitive nature’ and ‘primitive man’. The lads lose the values that civilization had taught them and succumb to the darkish forces inside themselves that the shackles of society had repressed for lengthy.

This irony is a standard theme operating throughout lots of Conrad’s tales. Notable amongst them are Coronary heart of Darkness and Lord Jim. In each the tales we see examples of how males who’ve been posted in colonial outstations succumb to a lifetime of degradation.


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