King's Solomon's Mines Essay

Pages: 5 (1405 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Literature

King Solomon's Mines is one of the finest novels of the 19th century. Written by Sir Henry Rider Haggard in 1885, it was received amid much fanfare and became an instant bestseller. Some of the dominant themes to appear from the extract include the following:

Europeans lived in the present while Natives lived in a primitive world

African natives were savages oblivious not only of the modern times but also of something as ubiquitous as lunar eclipse

White man will always be the winner because he is more knowledgeable, more just and more in tune with the changing world

Background of the extract:

The extract comes from Chapter 11 of the novel where the White-men search team is challenging African King Twala who rules with violent force and who believes that his will must reign supreme. The scene takes place in the palace of King Twala where white men challenge the decision of King Twala to kill a young girl. They want Twala to let the girl go but face extraordinary opposition from the king and his men. That is when they use their knowledge of the Almanac and play an interesting trick on the people which, helps them gain control of the situation.

Analysis:

Language:

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From the very beginning, it is almost shockingly clear that the writer has used clear straightforward language. He understands that not everyone appreciates complex use of language, syntax, grammar or diction. For this reason, he makes it a point, almost on purpose to keep the words simple, the language flowing and tone conversational. The lines below show the extreme easy flow of his work despite the use of old English style:

Shall not be! thou white dog, that yappest at the lion in his cave; shall not be! art thou mad? Be careful, lest this chicken's fate overtake thee, and those with thee. How canst thou save her or thyself? Who art thou that thou settest thyself between me and my will? Back, I say. Scragga, kill her! Ho, guards! seize these men."

Essay on King's Solomon's Mines Assignment

These lines were spoken by Twala in response to Allan Quatermain's order that the girl be freed. Twala is enraged and angry beyond belief because no man has ever had the gust to challenge him before. He almost believed he was the god or at least the chosen one and hence his will couldn't be challenged and his decisions couldn't be questioned. However when Allan Quatermain and his white men enter his territory and threaten to challenge his commands, he is consumed with inexplicable rage. The readers notice how while he is expressing his anger in the old English language style with words such as "thee" and "thy," there is still this plainness and simplicity of language that cannot be ignored.

It is thus not just the white men whose language and tone are kept plain and simple, even the people from Zulu tribe in African are assigned lines that are meant to convey the message in the easiest manner possible. Apart from language, the other thing we notice is the theme of white man against the savage.

White man vs. The Savage:

The theme has been explored or at least inadvertently appeared in many novels of the time including such classics as the Heart of Darkness. The white man had always believed that they were the more educated, the more enlightened people on earth and black men or any men other than white were simply inferior in their beliefs, culture, and thinking. The same theme appears in this extract as well. White men consistently consider themselves superior even if the writer didn't intentionally try to assign them such a sense of superiority. It is there and it is very obvious. This is a very documented fact and can be seen on various occasions. Apart from the extract itself, there are other occasions in the novel when the natives are mocked or belittled as Vossebelt (2006) noted: "The Natives are also depicted as superstitious people, ignorant of European technology. Quartermain entrusts his extra luggage to an old man before they embark in the desert. This man is described as an "old thief . . . A savage whose greedy eyes I could see… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

King's Solomon's Mines.  (2010, October 26).  Retrieved July 3, 2020, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/king-solomon-mines/58730

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"King's Solomon's Mines."  26 October 2010.  Web.  3 July 2020. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/king-solomon-mines/58730>.

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"King's Solomon's Mines."  Essaytown.com.  October 26, 2010.  Accessed July 3, 2020.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/king-solomon-mines/58730.