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To what extent do the texts Heart of Darkness, Black Mischief and A Passage to India represent examples of colonial discourse?

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  • Essay length: 2925 words
  • Submitted: 19/06/2006
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University Degree Paper-based media studies

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Title: To what extent do the texts Heart of Darkness, Black Mischief and A Passage to India represent examples of colonial discourse?

In beginning this essay it would be helpful to define what is meant by colonial discourse. This term refers to the dominant ideology within British society during the time of the empire and thus can be defined as discourse which supports the action of colonisation. The colonial ideal, (the term for colonial discourse in its undiluted form), suggests that both the coloniser and the colonised benefit from the action of colonisation. The colonies benefit in that they are becoming more developed and civilised through the adoption of western practices and technologies and the coloniser benefits from, as Hobson put it "The export of surplus capital".1 Thornton cited in J. Meyer's Fiction and the Colonial Experience explains how this was the prevailing ideology within the British government until well after the unit texts I will be focussing upon were written: -

The Imperial principle, animating an imperial code, remained the dynamic in the thought and action of the governing classes of England until after the close of the twentieth century's second world war.2

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