Narrative Strategies and Race: Analyzing the Treatment of Indigenous People in Imperial Novels
This thesis posits a hermeneutical principle by which a contemporary reader can understand the function of racism in imperial literature. Rather than ascribe racism to the author without consideration for how it is used within the novel, a reader ought to attribute racism to the narrative strategy in order to fully comprehend the thematic importance of racism. This is true for any given work of imperial literature. Having made this assertion, the thesis examines how the hermeneutical principle aids in the analysis of three Imperial novels initially written for a British readership: Flora Annie Steel’s On the Face of the Waters: A Tale of the Mutiny, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and Philip Meadows Taylor’s Confessions of a Thug. In the thematic analysis of these tales, it is demonstrated that the narrative’s message is incomprehensible if one does not ascribe racism to the narrative strategy.