A Distant Episode

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“A Distant Episode” written by Paul Bowles recalls the story of a professor who is captured by the Reguibats, a nomad tribe. As the story began, it focused on the professor and his journey to find an old friend; however it took a turn when the professor was turned over to the tribe. This short story has similar aspects when comparing it to The Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad. The ideas of cultural imperialism, the climax and the idea of people going insane are resembled in both pieces of literature.

“A Distant Episode” is a short story that starts out with ideas of imperialism and superiority. The professor was an intelligent, respectable person who was of superiority; he looked down upon the Moroccans. Cultural imperialism played a role between the professor and the new culture he was enveloped in. He acted as the superior and treated all the others as inferiors. He did have contact between the people; however it came down to his intelligence and money. One point during the story when he wanted to buy the camel udder boxes and they were not available, he offered the café owner money to get them. “I like them so much I want to make a collection of them, and I will pay you ten francs for everyone one you can get me” (Bowles, 2). This showed that he could manipulate the locals with the idea of money. In The Heart of Darkness, Marlow referred to the workers as machinery and the Africans as a backdrop to his life. This is the same as the beginning of “A Distant Episode” because the professor used the people to get what he wanted through the idea of money. “A Distant Episode” started out with the focus on the professor’s perspective of coming into town and manipulating the locals to achieve what he wanted. The owner of the café brought the professor down to a cliff where he could buy boxes made of camel udders. A nervous feeling came over the professor and he did not know whether to go down or turn around to where he knew he would be safe. He...
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