The Handmaid’s Tale: Close Analysis [Historical Notes]

The epilogue of Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale serves as a means for the author to critique the patriarchal attitudes present in her own context. Dr Piexoto states that the historians present must, “be cautious about passing moral judgement upon the Gileadeans,” which comes as a shock to a reader who has just encountered an array of horrific events and procedures that the Gileadean society created. The readers of the novel will have likely developed empathetic feelings for Offred, and so to see a figure who is supposedly educated take such a blunt, distanced opinion on the tragic events that occurred to Offred and the people of Gilead would be potentially enraging. The reader does not, in this way get any satisfaction from the ending; the epilogue works in a way that leaves a reader wanting for the society that the rebels were fighting for, or at least one that recognised the horrific events of Gileadean history, and yet no such attitudes or opinions present themselves.

The fact that Atwood decided to make Dr Piexoto an educated male is not to be overlooked. The character, along with the manipulation of language Atwoods reader will have become accustomed to, can be seen as an attack by Atwood, condemning the academic circles of her time, which were largely male-dominated. The anti-feminist nature of Piexoto, whilst not as extreme or blatant as Gilead, is obvious, seen through such snide comments when describing the education of Offred. “She appears to have been an educated woman, insofar as a graduate of any North American college of the time may be said to have been educated.” This degrading comment about Offred will prevent the reader from relating to Piexoto, as he attacks the protagonist with whom the reader has likely sympathised with throughout the novel. The fact he comments on her gender, and supposed education with sarcasm, would enrage a feminist of Atwood’s time, mirroring the patronising attitudes of some academics towards women in her era.

Piexoto continues to interrogate the nature of Offred’s story, in this way he performs a ‘secondary rape’ of Offred, taking her very personal, heartfelt, emotional story. He again comments that the memoirs posess, “ a whiff of emotion recollected, if not in tranquillity, at least post facto,” criticizing the conents of emotion. Piexoto does reflect some valued concepts however, and in particular he touches on the significance of the past, and history in constructing identity, which featured strongly as Offred fought to maintain her own personal history as part of her identity. He mentions that “The past is a great darkness, and filled with echoes,” conceding that the people of his time are not always able to “decipher them precisely.” We can value these comments when considering Kundera’s comments that “the struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” This concept has been a central part of the novel, and so Piexoto’s mention of it reinforces it in the closing.

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The Handmaid’s Tale: Genre

SCI-FI

The Handmaids Tale as a piece of extrapolative science fiction takes ideas and real substance from the present day as inspiration for possible futures, ranging from a perfect Utopia, to worlds similar to the dystopia found in Atwood’s novel. Atwood takes the ideology of the Christian Rite and extrapolates that forward to a future version of the United States where that ideology has been forced upon a society, where many women are infertile due to radiation. The society of Gilead she creates is admittedly an extreme one, however it serves as a satire of their attitudes and values, attacking them in her era through this work of fiction.

The Christian Rite was a right-wing Christian political group which was actively campaigning for their set of conservative policies to be implemented, attempting to graft the teachings of Christianity onto the political and social systems of America. Atwood as a woman and feminist makes use of extrapolative science fiction as a means to combat this,  with her clearly Dystopian society of Gilead that she has created revealing an array of flaws in implementing their ideology on a large scale. The extremist patriarchal nature of Gilead, and the subservience of women, with the Handmaids sole purpose to procreate is a harsh, albeit accurate representation of what could become of a society that was to adopt the Christian Rite attitudes.

Science fiction novels can be interpreted as a comment on the society in which they are produced, and so we can make the above inference, along with further comments by Atwood aimed at the hard lined feminists of her time; Offred speaks at her mother in one instance and says, “You wanted a woman’s culture. Well, now there is one. It wasn’t what you mean, but it exists.” We can interpret this as a warning from Atwood as she critiques not just the Christian Rite, but the other end of the spectrum, the hard core feminists of her time, suggesting that their attitudes towards furthering their cause is not reasonable. Atwood herself can therefore be seen to avoid any ideological hardlines. Whilst it is fairly clear which side she favours – feminists – she refuses to be bound by their attitudes, presenting a measured, and reasonable outlook on the two ideologies.

ROMANCE

I would not deem The Handmaids Tale a conventional, or expected sample of a Romance novel, in that it subverts the regulatory premise of many Romance novels – a girl and a guy are ‘meant’ for each other, fall in love, and live happily ever after. The society in which the author Margaret Atwood has placed the narrator and protagonist Offred could at best be described as unconducive to the creation of Romance, as individuality has been stripped, and replaced with roles, and titles. This prevent the vast majority of its citizens to go beyond anything but a formal relationship, particular across differing social ranks.

Perhaps the clearest example of the subversion of the Romance genre can be seen in the awkward, sex sequences. These sequences have been written by Atwood in such a way as to invoke the same feeling of awkwardness, and discomfort that the characters themselves experience, through Offreds narration. The manner in which the sexual intercourse is carried out is unnatural, and concocted, even given a title, “the ceremony” which upholds the formality of the society, thus breaking down any potential natural, ‘normal’ experiences of romance. The love making is described by Offred in chapter 16 is the reverse of what is considered ‘romantic’ in our time, with awkward, dethatched, one-sided sex, void of any emotion occurring, with the sole purpose of impregnating the woman:

“My red skirt is hitched up to my waist, though no higher. Below it the Commander is fucking. What he is fucking is the lower part of my body. I do not say making love, because this is not what he’s doing. Copulating too would be inaccurate, because it would imply two people and only one is involved. Nor does rape cover it: nothing is going on here that I haven’t signed up for.”

She does not even allow it to be termed ‘copulation’ as there is only one involved in the process – Offred removes herself as much as is possible from what is occurring. The fact alone that they remain virtually fully clothed, and in uniform supports this notion of formality, and distancing, even in what is the most intimate and close experience to humans can experience in Romance. The language used is itself confronting, and distancing, ‘fucking’ and ‘lower part of my body’ and ‘signed up’ reflect both the experience from a Handmaids point of view, and the way in which the society has infiltrated all aspects of humanity.

The developing relationship between Offred and Nick towards the end of the novel serves as a tip of the hat to the Romance genres true conventions, as the reader sees Offred develop what would be considered ‘normal’ emotions towards him, contrasted with the sex scenes that take place earlier in the novel. This is similar to how she remembers her true name, another sit of resistance for her, and she takes back for herself the tiniest bit of power from the society. Nick however does explicitly say to Offred “no romance” and she does not go into detail of the love making that takes place.

 

DYSTOPIA

 

The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood can undoubtedly be categorized as a dystopian novel, for a variety of reasons, including removal of identity, language, social division present, and the idealistic nature of Gileadean society. The novel is also a piece of speculative science-fiction, and the two genres often meet; there are limited examples of dystopian instances in the past but one can create infinite ones in our future. The totalitarian, highly oppressive and regime patriarchal society of Gilead controls the Handmaids by a removal of both language and knowledge, which enables them to begin redefining their identities, as the Handmaids memories begin to fade, and become replaced with this new system.

The Handmaids are in this instance stripped of their identities, as the government tries to effect change in the new nation. This beginning with the names of the Handmaids, and the naming process reflects a number of Dystopian features alone. The narrator’s new name is Offred, and the derivative of this comes from the commander she has been assigned, ‘Fred’ and the prefix ‘Of’, implying within it the ownership he holds over her. This immediately reveals the patriarchal set-up of Gilead, and way that the government uses language as a means for control. Offred’s site of resistance is that she continues to hold on to her old name, refusing to accept the one she has had imposed upon her, resisting in this small way against the nation. The ownership also reveals the strict social structures imposed in the society; there is a clear hierarchy present, and the Handmaids are below the commanders in status. While social hierarchies have always been present, the rigidity of one such as this – Offred has no hope of ever rising higher in Gileadean society – is to my knowledge a potential convention of a Dystopian society.

The clothing is another feature of the dystopia in Gilead, with the Handmaids enforced clothing another aspect of the regime imposed upon them. The handmaids are forced to wear white wings that hides their faces, and red dresses that removes their individuality further, and interfering with their identity. Their attire, “completely defines,” them to use the narrator’s words. The fact that all citizens of the society, even commanders wear a uniform reinforces the concept that what they are all doing is for the greater good, and not about the individual, but about the society, further revealing the idealistic attitudes imposed.

The characters all comply, however they do so with a knowledge that the punishment for not doing so is severe. This lack of freedom is what I feel makes the novel a true dysopian novel, as the lack of control that the members of society have is at odds to my own concept of what a utopia would be. Progresses in the last hundred years have been largely for equality, and freedom for particular social groups, so the reversal of this in The Handmaids tale is at odds with what to my knowledge is considered progress towards the utopian end of the spectrum, hence I would deem it to comply with conventions of a dystopian novel.

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The Handmaids Tale: Context of Reception

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The Handmaids Tale presents throughout ideas regarding the effect of the objectification of women, seen through Atwood’s construction of Gilead; their laws preventing women from revealing any of their body, and the ideology of the society incorporating a strong belief that the female body is for reproduction purposes only. This contrasts strongly with the views in the modern day, and the media in particular often supports the objectification of females. The attitudes still present in the modern day can be seen on these pages from GQ magazine, where four ‘Men of the Year’ were selected, and subsequently dressed in suits for a photoshoot. Even allowing for the fact that four men were chosen in comparison to one women as it is the Gentlemen’s Quarterly magazine, the ‘Woman of the Year’ Lana Del Ray was then photographed naked, to feature in the magazine. This objectification is not limited to this one example, and women are frequently objectified in society and the media, no doubt influencing the views I hold Image

In this image, we see a cartoon satirizing the burqa, which has become a common discussion point in the media and society due to it’s potential to be seen as a tool of oppression. The female body has become a symbol of freedom – women in modern day have the freedom to wear and dress as they please – however the burqa is a feature of the Islamic religion that is at odds with how western society’s thoughts have progressed; many women wear very little clothing, in stark contrast with Islamic women who show very little skin. This is particularly relevant for the section where Aunt Lydia advises the girls that, “to be seen – is to be – her voice trembled – -penetrated.” Here we see a very similar attitude towards the female body that causes the Muslim women to cover themselves completely, which as mentioned is at opposites with some of the ultra-revealing fashion worn by modern youths.

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This image is one that brings to the attention of the viewer the issues of body-image caused by the media and advertisement within it targeting young girls who are insecure with their bodies, causing eating disorders such as anorexia. The image shows how society has convinced the girl that she is not attractive, and the irl has become repulsed by her own body. This repulsion mirrors the repulsion felt by Offred; the society of Gilead has caused her to view her own body with similar disgust, “I avoid looking down at my body…because I don’t want to see it. I don’t want to look at something that determines me so completely.” This is a similar way in which adolescent girls have been made to feel; body image is crucial, and anyone who doesn’t look like the magazines is inadequate, and will be judged as so.

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Reading Practices and Ideological Arguments

Reading practices such as feminism are ideological arguments, as can be seen in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaids Tale. Reading texts from a feminist point of view, whether it is the intent or not, relies on the fact that you are subscribing to the idea that there is an inequality in the power distributions between women and men, or at the very least, that was the case during the authors context of 1985 America. This is reflected in The Handmaid’s Tale through the blatant gender inequalities, with women being given no positions of power. Offred “avoid[s] looking down at my body, not so much because it’s shameful or immodest but because I don’t want to see it. I don’t want to look at something that determines me so completely.” This degradation of women to nothing more than wombs, as is seen in the handmaids, enforces a male-dominated view of society, with the handmaids themselves unwilling to accept the meaning of their own existence.

The idea of reading practices being ideological arguments can also be found in a Marxist reading of The Handmaid’s Tale, in which the idea of linear class structures are very much reinforced. The society of Gilead in the novel goes so far as to separate each class by the colour of their clothes. Reading the novel in this way, looking for ideas that reinforce ideas of class and power structures involve opening one’s self to these ideas, and people’s ability to relate to them stems from the similarities that they can see to within their own lives.

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The Handmaids Tale: Context of Production

The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood was published in 1986, and can be viewed as a comment on the condition the society in which she wrote it, giving voice to women in the novel as the feminist movement continued it’s campaigning, and presenting an attack of  the Christian Rite, rising during the 1980’s in America. Gilead is a future version of USA, the book is speculative science fiction, extrapolating the radical ideologies held by fundamentalist Christians, even politicians of her era. “The Feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women, it is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians,” is a quote from Pat Robertson, a politician of the time voicing his radical and uninformed interpretation of feminism. Atwoods novel is an attack on these attitudes present in America at the time, threatening the progress of the feminist movement, and undermining the publics view of what feminism is.

The book itself is not an outright feminist piece, however the narrator possesses a defiant attitude towards the oppression imposed upon her, challenging the radicalism of the story. Links can then be drawn to the political discussions of Atwood’s era. In the novel itself, the ideology of the Christian fundamentalists has taken over America, and the republic of Gilead is what has resulted, a dystopian nation where oppression reigns. The feminist voice in a dystopia such as Gilead served as a means for communicating the importance of equality, in a time where the growing ‘religious right’ was generating fears that gains that women had made in the decades beforehand could come undone. The novel presents a potential outlook for the future of America should the ideologies of the Christian Fundamentalists become the dominant ones in society. Atwood herself is part of feminist involvement, attributed partially to her association with female faculty members at Victoria College, where she was surrounded by intellectual dialogue, though in some instances she denies she was writing to support feminism; The Edible woman (1963) has been attributed to be a part of the beginning of the second wave of the feminist movement, though Atwood herself denies that, claiming she wrote it before the movement. She asserts that the label ‘feminist’ can only be applied to writers consciously working ‘within the framework’ of the feminist movement.

Atwood decision to explore a worst case scenario, and the consequences associated with a complete reversal of women’s rights, and the Gilead society is founded upon a “return to traditional values” amd gender roles, including the subjugation of women. Triumphs achieved by feminists in the 70’s such as access to contraception, abortion legalisation and increased political influence of females are removed in the text, and the rights of women are extrapolated back, as society is extrapolated forwards- they can’t even read or write. Atwood’s implicit attack of Americas religious conservatives, along with their ideologies have been labelled by some critics as overly paranoid, and unfair, however despite this the novel explores controversial topics such as reproduction, and this will ensure that it remains relevant for her 21st century readers.

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Othello – Act III scene III

Act III Scene III in Shakespeare’s Othello is crucial to the plays development, driving the action of the play forwards, and featuring a great tension as the audience begins to see the strong, confident image of the Moor come undone through his on self doubt, and Iago’s cunning cruelty. In the scene Shakespeare also uses the handkerchief as a plot device to progress the story from Othello’s suspicions, to Iago supplying circumstantial evidence to further the Dramatic Tension. The Act also features highly metaphorical language, which serves to emphasize the build up of emotion in the characters, and the deeply in love Othello with Desdemona. It also serves to build the tension, as the mood of the scene is extremely dire, as the audience watches Othello start to unravel. Shakespeare makes use of the handkerchief in the scene, to create dramatic irony- the audience now knows for certain that Iago is manipulating the situation, and can only watch as Othello unknowingly trusts the villain who is bringing about his downfall. Act 3 Scene 3 involves the beginning of Othellos end, the climax of the play, and significantly progresses the plot, as Othello starts to shift his trust away from his wife and friend, towards the manipulative Iago, who possesses a ‘motiveless malignity’.

The Scene marks the start of Othello’s demise from esteemed member of Venetian society to a madman, overcome with paranoia, willing to turn on his wife and close friend when given, at best, circumstantial evidence. Shakespeare constructs Othello as a character who is in fact insecure with himself, and second guesses Desdemona’s professed love, citing race, his age, and his education as factors for her actions, “Haply for I am black, And have not those soft parts of conversation that chamberers have; or for I am declined into the vale of years—yet that’s not much—She’s gone.” This is the first instance in which Othello himself cites race as a possible drawback from being with him-before it was others like Iago who attacked his ‘Moor-ness’ as a negative factor- but now we see the underlying insecurity of Othello’s heritage, and its potential to limit him. Readings of Othello as a so called ‘tawny moor’ would favour his insecurities somewhat less-they were accepted somewhat- however a reading of the character as the darker skinned Moor of a more Southern heritage would certainly support the insecurities Othello feels, and his outsider as the ‘other’ of Venice (and Cyprus) could certainly have impacted on his mental stability, and account for his easily persuaded nature. This instability in his own self is projected as fear and paranoia over his marriage with Desdemona, and he searches for possible reasons of her infidelity. Also, his faith in Iago is unconditional, trusting Iago’s judgement, advice, and lies over reason, in contrast with his poor faith in his wife, and best friend Cassio. Iago plants the seed of Jealousy, using this trust and manipulating all of the characters and events to his will- Cassio left before Othello’s return out of shame, however Iago innocently says, “That he would steal away so guilty like, seeing your coming,” suggesting passively that Cassio had been ‘involved’ with Desdemona. Iago merely suggests infidelity, and Othello takes the concept, running with it to his own detriment.

The language in the scene involves some extensive metaphors, and ugly imagery that emphasizes the characters inner emotions, in particular Othello’s turmoil at being so in love with his wife, and yet so gutted that she would have an affair. After Othello claims “She’s gone,” he proceeds with his negative monologue finding Desdemona to be a ‘creature’ of ‘appetite’ and stating his preference to become a “toad and live in some damp dungeon,” rather than have been made a cuckold. Shakespeare goes on to employ dramatic irony to emphasise to his audiences that Othello is being manipulated- the handkerchief serves as a plot device, not only progressing the story and increasing tension, but also allowing the audience more information than Othello has, ironically his biggest flaw. This handkerchief, such a small item imparts a great deal of knowledge to the audience, and their knowledge implicates them into the crime Iago commits against Othello, tricking him into believing his wife is untrue. The foolishness of Othello is emphasised at the scenes conclusion, where ‘he kneels’ and essentially marries Iago. His inability to trust his wife in her faithfulness to him has lead him to essentially do what he feared she had done. In this ‘marriage’ Othello is betraying her, and choosing Iago as his new partner, “Let him command, and to obey shall be in me remorse.” Iago’s final words for the scene in fact mock the ritual of marriage, “I am your own for ever” a harsh parody of the vows taken by husband and wife.

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Janet’s Ephiphany With The Bees

Janet McIvor’s epiphany in chapter 15 presents two key themes that David Malouf develops throughout Remembering Babylon, serving as a rare example of a European settler coming to terms with how Australia’s land is a part of their new life, whilst also presenting a character coming to terms with how their identity includes Australia. Janet has been constructed so far in the novel as an alternative representation to the European settlers, feeling free and unconcerned when roaming the settlement and it’s surrounds, where other characters are fearful, and extremely wary of the natives. Her experience sets her aside from the other settlers, and makes her the first European since Gemmy who has been able to let go of their past self

The character is constructed as even more of a subversion of settler’s representation, when she becomes one with the bees during the chapter, and is able to let go of her past self. All of the other settlers clung to their European identity, through the stories of the past, and by trying to implement European practices upon the new land by maintaining ignorance to possibilities of alternatives that aboriginals and the land could offer them. Janet, conversely now saw the way forward, and her old self seemed, “like a charred stump,” as she was able to see the world new, through, “Gemmy’s eyes,” – the only other European who was able to let go of their past, and accept the Aboriginals, and the land.

The bees themselves are not merely bees, but serve here to represent the land, and nature as a whole in claiming Janet, altering forever how she views the world. “It was not the bees themselves who had claimed her; they had been only little furry winged agents of it,” demonstrates this, how Janet’s experience with the bees is her connection to nature, and a newly found appreciation for it, similar to the way in which Aboriginals, and Gemmy view the land. Gemmy is as close as any white man will come to becoming one with the land, and the attempted murder, and discomfort that he creates in the white community represents how afraid of connecting with Australia, Aborigines and the land, the new settlers are. In this way, the bees swarming over her body, and her subsequent attitude change towards her ‘old’ self represents again what the settlers fear. Janet has lost part of ‘it’ through her experience, rejecting her old, European-constructed self, and embracing a new life, something that almost all settlers have struggle, or been incapable of achieving.

This passage is perhaps the clearest example in the book of a settler embracing the land, and leaving themselves behind willingly. Others who try to accept the aboriginals and their attitude towards the land are rejected- Jock accepts Gemmy and is rejected by society, Mr Frazer is rejected by the governor- but Janet is at Mrs Hutchence house, which is a refuge from some of the settler’s attitudes.

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Remembering Babylon – Chapter One Q6

In the opening passage, Malouf orients the reader towards the ideas to come using in particular his language, to present the reader with a settler’s perspective on the natives early on. Gemmy is dehumanised, as the natives are by settlers later in the novel, with the terms, ‘A Black’, ‘the creature,’ and the frequent use of ‘it’ used to describe him, providing imagery of an animal, or other being, rather than the human he is. Similarly, the Aboriginals are dehumanised as the novel progresses, revealing the fearful attitude of the white settlers. In the first chapter also, the realisation that Gemmy was once a white European mirrors the fears of the settlers throughout the novel- that they can lose their ‘civilised’ ways.

Gemmy will search to regain his old identity, or discover his new one throughout the novel, and Malouf introduces this idea to the reader in the opening chapter when the Scottish settlers attempt to piece together Gemmy’s story, and it is eventually written down, which holds a great amount of significance for Gemmy. An example that demonstrates the attitude towards Australiaof the settlers is that, “out here the very ground under their feet was strange,”  and their unfamiliarity with the land fuels their fear of the natives, unsettled by the thought that they once walked where they now sleep. Another clear example is Lachlan’s imaginary game is set in Russia, outlining the very European mindset of all settlers, even in the youth.

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Heart Of Darkness A Reading by Ryan Hunt

The excerpt from Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad explores ideas concerning colonialism, Marlow challenging the other sailors, and the reader to question their views on the justness of colonialism. Conrad’s selective use of language builds the concepts of colonialisms’ greatness, allowing the voice of Marlow to guide the reader to draw comparisons between the violent conquering of England, and England’s apparently innocent colonisations of cultures and people in Conrad’s time.

The beginning of the excerpt details the greatness, and heroism behind exploring, and colonising on behalf of the empire, building what would be considered the dominant view of Conrad’s time; colonialism is a just and noble cause. The language chosen by Conrad to detail the history of the river Thames attributes patriotism to colonisation; explorers are described as, “Men of whom the nation is proud…the great knights. This language, with positive, pride-filled connotations constructs the concept that colonisation is a source of pride, enabling Marlow to undermine this view shortly after. Marlow comments on the colonisation of England, 1900 years previously, describing England now as, “one of the dark places of the earth,” which was, “aggravated murder on a great scale…very proper for those who tackle a darkness”. The concept of colonisation for England has already been introduced, and so the reader will- consciously or not- make comparisons between what was considered ‘noble’ colonisations for England, and the brutal massacres of England being conquered by the Romans.

As a reader who no doubt was not Conrad’s ‘target,’ I found the piece still brought to mind the same messages it would hold to a reader of Conrad’s time about colonialism, and its’ brutality. Living in a colonised nation, and being familiar with some peoples view that Australia day, a national day of celebration would more appropriately be called ‘Invasion Day’ will result in myself being more familiar with the idea of dishonourable colonisation, and the wrongs that were enacted to take such a land for England. I feel, however it enhanced further some of my views on the unjust colonisation of Australia and other nations, through comparisons to the barbaric Roman conquests. As he points out, colonisation is mostly taking land, “from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves.” That statement resonates in me the immorality of colonialism, as my values, similar to that of western society, include the belief that all humans are equal, and that taking something, be it land or resources, through force is immoral. The term ‘ourselves’ used here, is inclusive of the characters in the book, and myself as reader, who as a white Caucasian male, feels somewhat part of the wrongs that took place, despite these events occurring long before mine.

At the time of writing, colonialism was highly active, British Colonialism in particular was peaking, and Conrad, having experienced the colonisation of central Africa first hand, decided to challenge the prevalent views of the time in this piece of writing. Conrad, using Marlow as a vessel to challenge the colonial values of England at the time, reveals the brutality, and immoral activities that are very much a part of colonisation, in this passage, through his subtle comparison between the violent conquering of the past, and the colonisations occurring in Conrad’s era. This comparison will challenge the people of his era, to question what they had previously considered a dignified practice, and consider that there are scarce differences, and startling similarities to the colonisations of his time; both eras, “grabbed what they could get for the sake of what was to be got.” Conrad was very much ‘against the grain’ in his writing of Heart of Darkness shedding light, and revealing to the people of his time the barbaric nature of the colonisations they supported.

Joseph Conrad undermined the prevalent view of his time, that colonisation was a practice that was just, and morally acceptable, through his subtle encouragement to his reader, to draw comparisons between the colonisations of his time, and the barbaric conquering of England 1900 years previously. A reader in a modern context, I still gain some perspective on the occurrences of Conrad’s time, and indeed the colonisation of my own country, through his striking language, and ability to manipulate the readers response to the text.

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