King Solomons Mines Analysis

Topics: Allan Quatermain, Henry Rider Haggard, Zulu Pages: 7 (2528 words) Published: October 12, 2005
Salman Farooq Ghani
Mr. Weigel
Honors English VII
11 December 2004
King Solomon's Mines
Henry Rider Haggard sets out to create a peculiarly thrilling and vigorous tale of adventure, in his book King Solomon's Mines. King Solomon's Mines is a romantic adventure tale. Sir Henry Curtis, Captain Good and the Allan Quatermain set out on a perilous journey in search for a lost companion and fabled treasure. The book is based in Zululand, Africa and conveys "the fascination Sir Henry R. Haggard found in Africa's landscape, wild life, and mysterious past" (Drabble 210). This term paper relates to how Sir Henry Rider Haggard's experiences and life in Africa have influenced his writings and in particular King Solomon's Mines. Sir Henry Rider Haggard was born on June 22, 1856 in Bradenham, Norfolk, England (Haggard v). Rider was the sixth son and eighth of ten children (Haggard v). His father had nothing but contempt for him, and saw him as a "dull witted daydreamer" (Haggard v). Rider was never given the proper education, unlike his brothers. He received his education from London day- School and Ipswich Grammar School ("Sir Henry Rider Haggard" (1856-1925) 1). In 1875, Haggard went to Natal, Africa as a secretary to Sir Henry Bulwer (Haggard vi). During Haggard's stay in Africa, he learned much about the Zulu African people (Sir Henry Rider Haggard (1856-1925) 1). This influence is seen in many of Rider's books such as King Solomon's Mines, Marie, and Child of Storm (Haggard vi). In 1880 he returned to England and married Mariana Louisa Margitson (Haggard vii). The couple moved to Transvaal, Africa, but later returned to England. Back home Sir Henry studied law and was accepted to the bar in 1884 (Sir Henry Rider Haggard (1856-1925), 2). In 1882 his first book Cerywayo and His White Neighbors: or, Remarks on Recent Events in Zululand was published. Shortly after he wrote two more books named Dawn (1882) and The Witches Head (1884), but they were not successful (Haggard vii). 1883, was a turning point in the life of Sir Henry Rider Haggard. In response to Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, Rider wrote King Solomon's Mines in only six weeks. The novel was a bestseller in England and "printed over half a million copies in Haggard's lifetime" (Haggard vii). Other notable books include She (1887), Jess (1887), and Allan Quatermain (1887) all based in Africa. In several novels he wrote of ancient Egypt such as Cleopatra (1889). In 1891 the death of his mother and son Arthur John "were devastating blows" (Haggard viii). He continuously wrote books, but his writing had lost momentum. Haggard was a skilled farmer, and knew a lot about farming and agriculture. He served on various governments related agricultural posts and wrote books on farming. Haggard was knighted in 1912 (Haggard, Sir H. Rider 1). In 1919 he was given the title of the Knight Commander of the British Empire (Sir Henry Rider Haggard (1856-1925) 4). He died in London on May 14, 1925. He had written a total of forty works. His autobiography "The Days of My Life" was published in 1926 (Haggard x). The plot of the novel King Solomon's Mines is highly amusing and engaging. Allan Quatermain (the author) is an elephant hunter and adventurer, who is traveling to Durban Africa, when he meets two men: Sir Henry Curtis and Captain Good (Haggard 5). Henry Curtis is searching for his lost brother Neville, who had vanished on an expedition to King Solomon's diamond mines (Haggard 12). Sir Henry manages to persuade Allan and together they set out on a perilous journey to find Neville, and rumored treasure in King Solomon's mines. They recruit a Hottentot, a young African boy, and a Zulu warrior Umpoba (Haggard 32-33). Together they set out for the "land of the Kukuana's" (Sir Henry Rider Haggard (1856-1025) 3). Their journey takes them through terrible deserts, freezing cold mountain ranges and savage tribal lands. Their only guide was a map drawn by...

Cited: Drabble, Margaret, and Jenny Stringer. The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987.
"Haggard, Sir H. Rider." Encyclopedia Britannica 2002 Deluxe Edition. CD-ROM. Cyber City,
Haggard, H. Rider. King Solomon 's Mines. New York: The Modern Library, 2002.
Haggard, H. Rider. The Days of My Life Volume I. Project Gutenberg of Australia e-Books,
Haggard, H. Rider. The Days of My Life Volume II. Project Gutenberg of Australia e-Books,
"Sir Henry Rider Haggard (1856-1925)." 5 Nov. 2004.
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