Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Lagoon by Joseph Conrad

Arsat, a Malay, tells The White Man (not some symbol but also another character) about his ultimate sacrifice for love. That’s the basic gist of the plot, and saying more would give the ending away.

I’m not sure if this story has a really deep theme or whatever. I didn’t see it. I was too annoyed by this particular excerpt: He liked the man who knew how to keep faith in council and how to fight without fear by the side of his white friend. He liked him - not so much perhaps as a man likes his favorite dog…

Holysweetjesus. The all-important-godlike white man likes his Malay friend but not so much as a man likes his favorite dog? Does that mean that a dog is more important than a Malay?

If The Lagoon was an actual book, I would’ve thrown it against the wall, picked it up again, and ripped it apart page by page. It was even more offensive, because all those racist thoughts were wrapped in beautiful language.

Before reading this short story, I intended to read Heart of Darkness this year, but, now, I’m not sure if I want to. Maybe I should just step away from Joseph Conrad’s work for a while.

You can read The Lagoon here.


mel u said...

There is a lot of debate over whether or not The Heart of Darkness is a racist text-I think it is really a very powerful anti-racist work but not everyone agrees

Is The Heart of Darkness a Racist Work?

Charlie (The Worm Hole) said...

It's ironic that in his era, if he'd said anything else his contemporaries would have had a problem with it. Although we know books were written in other eras it's still difficult to read them.

Jillian said...

Oh, wow. I haven't tried Joseph Conrad yet. That does sound offensive.

Zibilee said...

Holy Snikeys that is racist! I don't think that this book and I would get along very well at all, and I can see why it made you so mad!


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