Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Heartless Conqueror..

PILKINGS: I don’t have to stop anything. If they want to throw themselves off the top of a cliff or poison themselves for the sake of some barbaric custom what is that to me? If it were ritual murder or something like that I’d be duty-bound to do something. I can’t keep an eye on all the potential suicides in this province. And as for that man—believe me it’s good riddance.

JANE: [laughs] I know you better than that Simon. You are going to have to do something to stop it—after you’ve finished blustering.

(Soyinka 25)

Before this passage, the Pilkings’ servant Joseph is speaking with Jane about the meaning of drumming. After Simon overhears the conversation, he orders Joseph to go away and stop preaching. Simon and Jane begin arguing about the culture and tradition of this particular tribe in Nigeria. Simon Pilking is a white police office in the village and from the passage he doesn’t care about the indigenous people at all. This is the problem when someone tries to colonize a country that already has its own culture. That person usually rejects or bashes the culture simply because he or she doesn’t understand. In turn, Simon doesn’t think he has to stop the deaths because they are due to a “barbaric” custom. Simon bashes the culture for who they are and he doesn’t care that people are killing themselves. By him saying ‘good riddance’ it implies that he is glad these people are killing themselves because of a ritual. This emphasizes the lack of knowledge the conqueror usually has for the established culture within a country.

1 comment:

  1. I think that within the novel it becomes clear that the Pilkings' don't care about the traditions of the culture they're effectively raiding, but I just don't think that this is the passage to best exemplify that. I think that the passage about the drums in the mid-thirties is much better, it shows that they have been in the area long enough to be an established authority, but they don't know anything about the culture that they say they care about.