• Research Paper on:
    Jonathan Swift's 'Gulliver's Travels' vs. Conrad's 'Heart Of Darkness'

    Number of Pages: 20

     

    Summary of the research paper:

    A 20 page paper comparing Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels and A Modest Proposal with Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness in terms of the way both authors treat the theme of imperialism. The paper concludes that while both authors recognize that imperialism is based in the belief that members of radically foreign cultures are non-human (xenophobia) and both condemn this belief, the methods they use to convey this message are radically different. Bibliography lists 24 sources.

    Name of Research Paper File: D0_Swiftcon.doc

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    writing at the beginning of the twentieth century, wrote moody and dark pieces full of obscure but oddly penetrating symbolism. But there is a deeper, more serious strain in Swifts  work that shares a number of points of comparison with Conrads, and in fact, there is much in Swifts work that Conrad may have borrowed for his own. For example,  a theme that Conrads Heart of Darkness shares with Swifts much earlier Gullivers Travels and "A Modest Proposal" a condemnation of imperialism and xenophobia, and a consideration of these works  in terms of this motif sheds much light on the intentions and insights of both authors. What is xenophobia? Websters Unabridged Dictionary defines  it as "the fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners" (Websters, 2114). It is often associated with nationalism, the conviction that ones own country or culture is incontrovertibly superior to  any other. Once one has come to assume that ones own people are the only ones who count and that the populations of other countries are not only inferior but  actually subhuman, it is a short step to the foundations of imperialism, an ideology in which a "highly-developed" nation seeks to take control of a "less-developed" nation with the sole  intent of exploiting its people, resources, or land. This definition fairly well characterizes the attitude with which the British regarded the Irish in Swifts time and the way the European  imperialists regarded Africans in Conrads. Even people who were not directly involved in the conquering of other nations participated in the mindset  that encouraged such exploitation through a kind of national "proto-imperialist" attitude, which remained firmly convinced that not only were they superior (individually and collectively) to members of less "highly-developed" nations, 

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