King Solomon's Mines

The Business of Racism: Techniques used by Dickens and Haggard to Lead the Reader

Charles Dickens’ essay The Noble Savage and and H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines both communicate an agenda set forth by the author. In his essay, Dickens conveys his distaste for the sympathy he sees bestowed upon the native people of Africa by his countrymen in a very direct manner. His writing is blunt and accusatory and he does not mince words. Haggard is more vague in his approach to the Zulu people. He depicts them as being both beneath him and deserving of respect. This is a difference of writing style only and does not lend itself to a difference in attitude. Regarding matters of race, Haggard is in agreement with Dickens.

Dickens and Haggard are writing for different audiences. The Nobel Savage appeared in Dickens well-known journal Household Words. This journal was written for a burgeoning middle class and focused on social commentary regarding the poor. It served as a sounding board for social reform making it an ideal locus for Dickens to share his opinion on native African culture. The first line of the essay states “I beg to say that I have not the least belief in the Noble Savage” (Dickens 805). He states his argument early drawing from Rousseau’s idea that indigenous people are more noble. The word noble...

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