Themes

Loneliness and isolation

The short story “An Outpost of Progress” by Joseph Conrad deals with the theme of loneliness and isolation. The theme is illustrated by Kayerts and Carlier, two European men whose mental and physical health suffer after they arrive at a trading station in Africa. 

The main characters’ mental and physical degradation is suggested from the beginning when the narrator comments on the dangers of isolation:

To the sentiment of being alone of one’s kind, to the clear perception of the loneliness of one’s thoughts (…) a suggestion of things vague, uncontrollable, and repulsive, whose discomposing intrusion excites the imagination and tries the civilised nerves of the foolish and the wise alike.

In this example, the narrator suggests...

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